You Asked…We Answered {part 2}


We’re back to answer some more of our great reader questions…I love that we are able to (imperfectly) answer some of your burning questions. There are so many digi scrappers out there, at so many different levels, and everyone has different struggles and questions. Even those of us who have been around for a few years sometimes learn something new (and something we wished we had known all along!) If you missed {Part 1}, check it out HERE. And now for Part 2:

We are going to answer questions about:

  1. Lining up elements on a page
  2. “Snapped” and “Scrapped” dates on a layout
  3. Albums
  4. Keeping a group of people all in focus


I love this site and check it out every day. I could use a tutorial on using the alphas in kits. I can’t figure out how to make the letters in a word the same size or how to make them equally spaced.


Great question! Lining things up (alphas, text boxes, photos, etc) on a layout is often really important. Thankfully, our photo editing programs make it really easy. These instructions are for Photoshop Elements, but Photoshop and other programs have similar steps.
Here is a layout I did that I really needed some help lining stuff up on. It was really important to me that the numbers and all the text lines were perfectly straight.


PSE has a feature called a grid which allows you to easily line up elements, alphas, and more. In order to see your grid, go to View>Grid


Turning this feature on allows you to view lines on your page so that you can see where things line up. These grids are for viewing purposes only and they will not show up on your printed layout. You can turn your grid lines on and off as you like. You can set you grid to any amount that you want. In order to change your grid size, go to Photoshop Elements > Preferences > Guides, Grids, and Slices.


Then, you can set two amounts: one for your grid lines and one for the subdivisions within those grid lines. The default color grid lines will be a darker color than the subdivisions, but you can set them to be any color that you want.


Once your grid lines are set, you have one more important thing to do in order to best help you line things up: Snap to Grid. When you select snap to grid, the grid lines become “magnetic” and things close to the grid lines get pulled up right next to the grid. This allows for perfect lining up. Go to View > Grid > Snap to Grid.



Why do people note the “snap” date and the “scrapped” date? What is the purpose of making the distinction-other than showing how far behind you are? 😉

WE ANSWERED… (I wrote back to the reader right away and this was my response:)

Hi Michelle —
I can’t speak for everyone but for me, I sometimes make a distinction if there is a reason for one. For example, sometimes I use a newborn picture of one of my kids but I am journaling NOW, thinking back to when they are little. Something along the lines of, “I can’t believe that three years have already gone by since I held this tiny litlte baby in my arms...” In my albums, which I arrange chronologically, that page is telling a story about NOW, so it would go with the other 2009 pages. So distinguishing the snapping and scrapping dates makes sense and if someone who was looking at my page saw it, they would know when the picture was taken versus when it was journaled.

Does that make sense?


P.S. On a side note — my personal philosophy is that you can never be “behind.” No one says you HAVE to scrapbook and many people don’t. So for every page you do, I think you are one ahead 🙂 I still have stories I want to tell (even some big ones) but when I see my albums and the last four years of my work, I don’t feel behind. I feel that I have saved 800+ stories that wouldn’t have otherwise been saved.



A bunch of people have written to ask me about the albums I showed it {Part 1} of the You Asked…We Answered series.


Yes, those are my actual albums (which, by the way, I will someday add the date to). They are all 8×8 albums (I like 8×8 because they are cheaper and because my kids can actually hold their albums. Also, since I often do one photo layouts it just makes more sense). I have different colors for different years (and I sometimes go into a second album for one year). I use the 8×8 linen albums by We R Memory Keepers. I ended up using this brand because about three years ago they had a sale on 8×8 albums for just $5 (they were normally $25). I ordered 8! Then, as I have needed more, I have purchased them. I ADORE them. LOVE them. Would marry them if I wasn’t already taken 🙂 I love the quality, the color choices, and they hold SO MANY PAGES! When I first purchased my albums, I used all post bound (because I love two page spreads). But I have to admit that the hassle of the post bound albums is rather annoying and my more recent purchases have been D-Ring binders.

You can check out their 8×8 albums HERE

and their 12 x 12 albums HERE (and I got a reader tip that you can get 12 x 12 albums on sale for $19.99 HERE)


What is the best way to take portraits of multiple subjects (especially kids..) with the low aperture on your camera thus having a blurred background but having ALL your subjects focused? I have the Nikon 50mm 1.4 and obviously it is gives amazing portrait shots with the blurry background I like but when I take photos of more than one child in’s hard to keep them in focused and sharp without losing the blurry background?


This is a GREAT question. I spent almost a year shooting everything at 1.8 and wondered why anyone wouldn’t want to do that? And then I learned. Without going into all the technical details (that have to do with depth of fiend, focal length, distance from subject, etc. etc…) a great rule of thumb for keeping everyone focused is this:
Your aperture number should never go lower than the number of people in your photo.

For instance, if you have a family of five in your photo you should set your aperture at 5.0 or smaller (high number = smaller aperture). This will keep everyone in the photo (assuming they are all together in one spot) in focus. Any lower than this and you are going to get some people in focus and others not in focus. In order to maintain the blurry background (otherwise known as bokeh), you should move your subjects away from the background (ie don’t have them standing right in front of a group of trees…put some space between them.) Again, there is a lot of technical info involved and obviously doesn’t apply to super big groups, but for every day shooting it is a great tip to remember.

Until next time…