When I (Steph) started digital scrapbooking several years ago, there weren’t many resources availble to help me choose which software would be the best fit for me. I started with Picture It (now discontinued), then moved to PowerPoint (oh yes, I did…haha), followed by Paint Shop Pro, along with FotoFusion, then Photoshop Elements (PSE), and finally Photoshop Creative Suite (PSCS). I just recently started using FotoFusion again for that blessed collage feature! Through using all of those programs I have learned that there isn’t ONE program that has every feature I would want it to have for my scrapbooking, but there are some features I would not live without. You most likely will not know what features YOU can’t live without until you dive in and try some programs, so let’s get started!
Tips for Choosing
When you are choosing the program you will use for digital scrapbooking here are some things to think about:
1) What features will be most important to you?
2) Can you easily find tutorials/books you understand showing you how to do what you want to do with that program?
3) What program/s are people you know using for digital scrapbooking?
4) How easily do you learn things on the computer?
5) How much time do you want to spend learning?
6) Do you think you will want to be able to design papers and other items for your pages?
7) Do you want to be able to use papers/elements purchased in digital stores?
Try Before Buying
No matter which program you choose, ALWAYS download the trial versions and play with them before purchasing. Trying before buying will help you make sure that the program will fit your needs before you spend any money and hopefully save you from any buyers remorse.
Remember, if you have a child attending school (no matter the grade), then you qualify for an educational discount at places like the Academic Super Store You will need to fax a copy of your child’s report card or registration to verify that you are elligible for the discount.
I have broken down some of the more commonly used software into 3 categories based on the answers above. There are also links to more indepth reviews and information on other programs below.
Don’t mind learning new things on a computer
- Possibly want to design your own supplies
- Are comfortable working from tutorials and looking for them
- Want to add some digital items to your paper pages (journaling, borders, frames, papers, embellishments, etc.) OR create completely digi pages.
Then you should try…
- Photshop Creative Suite (PSCS) — $599 from Amazon. There are many tutorials available for this program.
- Photoshop Elements (PSE) – most popular for beginners and most tutorials are written for this program. $79.99 on Amazon
- Paint Shop Pro (PSP) –$79.99 from their site. There are a few tutorials around for digital scrapbooking (but not as many as PSE and PSCS)
- Gimp — free; not too many tutorials available
- Want to add some digital items to your paper pages (journaling, borders, frames, papers, embellishments, etc.) OR completely digi pages.
- Want a program with tutorials/info. available
- Are comfortable trying new things on a computer.
Don’t need the power of a photo editing program.
Then you should try…
- ACDSee $49.99 and up from their site (doesn’t use layers, but can use layered templates sold and given away, can also use PhotoShop Brushes)
- FotoFusion –$119 (for the version that will allow you to export a printable quality file) and up from their site.
- Memory Mixer – $34.95 (starting)
- ScrapHD.com, (not a program, build a layout on their site) membership $9.99/month $99./year
- PowerPoint/Word/Keynote (possibly already on your computer)
- My Memories
Don’t want to spend time learning a program at all.
- Don’t want to use any software at all
- Want a fast way to create some completely digital pages
Then you should try…
- Smilebox (premade albums/pages, can also add video and music) free or subscription for more options.
- CropMom (you can use their supplies to design your own page OR use their predesigned pages for your photos)
You can compare and read reviews on different photo editing software here.
You can read reviews and compare different programs specifically for digital scrapbooking here.
What We Use…
I currently use Photoshop CS5, PSE10, and FotoFusion for my digital scrapbooking
Katie is currently using PSE10
All of our other team members are using various versions of PSE and PSCS.