This is Mike’s fourth installment in our series of blog posts for creating a heritage album. Click here to see the first in this series, click here to see the second installment, and click here to see the third installment.
We are well on our way to completing a heritage album, and hopefully you are seeing your album take shape, giving you a glimpse of what your finished work may become. At this point you should have all of your pages named, backgrounds completed (or semi-completed depending on style), and your focal picture placed and sized on your pages. In this lesson we will be adding more pictures to our pages and having fun with fonts and journaling.
Whether you start by adding more pictures or other digital relics to your page or you begin with the journaling boxes, either way you will find yourself adjusting both to allow them to work in tandem, helping you make the most of each page. Below I describe methods for working with both photos and journaling boxes; approach these in whatever order makes more sense to you.
For the majority of your pages you will likely want to include more than just your single focal point picture. If you have a lot of pictures, you now need to decide which ones you will be able to forgive yourself for not using and which ones you can’t live without. There are a few factors to think about as you make your decision.
- For some pages you may have little more than a name and dates, while for others you may have enough information to journal the entire page. Decide how much page space will be set aside for headings and journaling, and use an amount of pictures that will allow you to find a good balance between text and images. Your goal is to find create a page that looks great and is not cluttered, but also a page that doesn’t give you a case of the “I should have used and left outs.”
- Are all your pictures going to look the same? Choose pictures from different time periods in the person’s life. While you may have 8 fabulous photos from Aunt Edna’s 63rd birthday, to shoehorn them all on the page, forcing you to omit her third grade picture, may be a mistake. Again, it is completely your choice, but keep in mind that the goal of this process is to create a family heritage album, an album that includes history, and not simply just another photo album.
- Have fun formatting your pictures. StoryBook Creator (US \ CAN) has some great “one click” tools at your disposal. Experiment with them. If you have five pictures on the page and four are sepia tone and one is black and white, change the fifth to sepia tone to create a cohesive page. But don’t stop there: adjust the brightness and contrast. Simply put, just play. You will be surprised how easy it is to make good pictures look great by the click (or two) of a button. Remember, you can always undo anything that you don’t like.
- Another great technique that allows you to use more of your photos and documents without making the page look cluttered is to layer them and adjust the opacity of the layers. This is a method I use for almost every page I create. The depth that layers bring to your page can enhance it enormously if done correctly.
Fonts add another personal touch to the pages and, as with the rest of the album, your font choice (or choices – no need to stick to a single font) comes down to personal preference. You know what you like. However, you must remember how much you are going to want to show your finished product off to all your friends and family, as well as Martin, the grocery bagger down at the Lucky Mart. Use something that can be read easily and doesn’t make your eyes begin to water. You may choose a fancy handwriting script for the title of the page, but it just may not be a good choice for the general bodies of text. Depending on the type of background you have used, you may also want to add a subtle glow on your text to make it really pop off the page. To save a lot of time, settle on a font early; it can be a very tedious task to go back and change it page by page by page.
Text boxes can consist of anything you choose. They may be filled with simple things, like names, places and dates, or take more of a journaling track with the use of memories or old family stories passed down through the generations. Some pages may have far more journaling than others and that is okay. Here is a tip: If you are trying to find a balance between pages that have a lot of text and others that don’t, think outside the box (pun intended!). What I mean is, fill some of the text-light pages with journaling on the town from which your ancestors came, or other historical facts that might be relevant to that time period. A simple Google search for information on the area where they lived should give you plenty to work with. What was the area known for? Were there any famous residents? That type of thing.
As we jump into the Heritage Virtual Crop this week, your project should really be taking shape and the basic look of it should be complete. Don’t get overwhelmed, we are almost there!