When I (Katie) first started digi scrapping back in 2005, I hung out every day in the Two Peas online gallery. I posted my very first digital layout there on April 13, 2005 and I was thrilled when I received praise from other digital scrapbookers. I was hooked! Over the next few years, I posted 387 digital scrapbook layouts to my 2Peas gallery before I moved to a few other sites such as Digi Shop Talk, A Cherry on Top, Natural Designs in Scrapbooking, The Shabby Shoppe, Designer Digitals, and My Scrapbook Art. If a new gallery popped up, I usually gave it a try, but I always seemed to land back at that handful of original galleries. I have shared hundreds of layouts on those sites, and made lasting friendships in the digi community because of my involvement in galleries.
Over the past year or so, I’ve lost touch with online galleries. I’ve only posted sporadically and have chosen to just upload all of my layouts to my Flickr photostream and share them with a few groups there. While I love Flickr and the groups I’m involved with there, I’ve recently found myself longing for a bit of the “good old days” of hanging out in the galleries. There are so many now though, that I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed. I can only imagine how a beginner must feel! Gallery posting can be a bit intimidating at first, but it can also be very rewarding. Before you get started, there are a few basics you need to know if you want to share your layouts online:
Save your layout in a web size that is appropriate for a gallery.
If you have any questions about what the size requirements are, there are usually specifications posted in a forum thread or a FAQ area. The standard size that will work for most galleries is 600×600 pixels in 72 pixels per inch. There are a few different ways to change your layout size (also called resampling). Here’s the method I use:
- Open full size flattened jpeg layout in PSE (or similar program).
- Immediately resave layout with a NEW name so you don’t overwrite the original layout. I always name my web layouts starting with web_ and then add whatever I want to name it such as web_home This keeps all my web layouts together in my files if I want to delete them later on.
- Go to Image –Resize – Image Size
- Change the resolution to 72 pixels/inch and the pixel dimension to 600 x 600 and click “OK”
- This next step is optional, but after reading about the Scott Kelby approach for unsharp mask, I always use it. Go to Enhance-unsharp mask
and use these settings
Again, the unsharp mask is purely optional, but it really makes web images look great!
- Click “OK” and then save your image and close. Now your web file is ready to post.
- You can also check out Steph’s post on optimizing for the web
Post to Gallery
- When you are ready to share a layout, look for the upload button or tool. I’m using the Me So Scrappy gallery to illustrate the uploading process.
Select the web file from the folder you saved it to on your computer. Add the title, description, and credits to the layout. I like to check the box to be notified when someone comments. You will also want to enable comments on your layout. Then hit “Submit”
Some galleries will give you a second page option like the image above where you can still edit your submission. If you are posting to a specific designer’s gallery, this is usually where you can make that selection. Click on “Process” or “Submit” as needed.
- Check to be sure your layout posted properly. Here’s mine if you want to see it up close.
The Next Step
If you simply post your layout and then leave the gallery, you won’t get much out of the whole experience. It’s also considered good online etiquette, to do a little more than just post and run. While there are no official rules for most sites, it’s generally considered polite to look at a few other layouts and leave some nice comments (aka “praise”) for them. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to do this because you will get to know other digi scrappers, and learn to find good things about other people’s creations.
In this case, I left comments for the 3 layouts that had been posted right before mine. I commented on a beautiful blue & green color scheme, great title work + clustering of elements, and well-written journaling about an emotional topic. I learned a lot by looking closely at these 3 layouts.
Some scrappers try to return praise to anyone who leaves them a comment. Others will leave comments for every layout on the same page as theirs. It’s a matter of personal preference, but I do suggest you give back a little if you want others to look at your own creation.
Why Post in Galleries?
This is a good question because it does take extra time and effort to post a layout online. There are also some layouts that shouldn’t be shared online if they have very personal information or could be harmful to someone’s privacy or safety. (Don’t post anything with your address, or information that could compromise your or someone else’s safety). There are many good reasons to participate in online gallery sites though.
- Get feedback on your scrapbook layouts. This is a fabulous way to grow your skills as a digital scrapbooker. If you notice that you get a lot of nice comments on a page where you tried a new design technique, you will realize that it was a successful experiment. When someone notices that you took the time to add several different groupings of buttons and flowers, you will think about how you arranged them on the page and why you chose to do that.
- Learn from other digi scrappers. By looking at other layouts and reading the comments (or leaving your own), you can get a good idea of what works well on a page. I learned about the difference a few small details can make on a layout, by paying attention to the gallery posts that got a lot of praise.
- Share what you are creating. It’s reinforcing to share what you make with others and helps you want to keep going.
- Promote designers and products you like. Creative team members are encouraged to share their layouts in online galleries to help showcase the designer’s products. I often find digi designs that I want to buy after seeing layouts using those items in the galleries. I like to see how the products can be used on real layouts.
- Be a part of a community. This is why I love galleries – you will get to know other people and feel like you are a part of the digital community.
There are SO many great galleries these days, it would be impossible to list them all! I have a few favorites that I will share:
Open galleries (means there are no rules on which products you can use)
- Digi Shop Talk
- My Scrapbook Art
- Me So Scrappy
- Digi Scrap Addicts
- Log Your Memory
- The Digi Chick
And don’t forget our Flickr Group! There are no product restrictions, it is considered an “open” gallery. It’s even easier to post to than most galleries and you don’t have to resize anything!
Closed galleries (means that they would like you to use a majority of their products – many stores have “closed” galleries because they are promoting their own designers). These are a great resource to find layout examples using a specific designer’s designs.
- The Lily Pad
- Sweet Shoppe
- Scrapbook Graphics
- M Scraps
- After 5 Designs
- Scrap Orchard
- Weeds and Wildflowers
- Designer Digitals
Here are a few great tips from some of our team members:
I post my scrapbook pages to DigiScrapTalk, MyScrapbookArt and Log Your Memory, as well as to the stores where I purchased the products used in the scrapbook layout. DST, MSA and LYM are “open” galleries which means they allow posting of layouts containing any products. I find the widest variety of inspiration at these galleries. I particularly like LYM’s focus on storytelling though, as I am a journaling-heavy scrapper.
I post to galleries for a few reasons. First, some of my creative teams require posting to a certain number of galleries are part of my commitment to the designer/store. Secondly, I get a lot of inspiration from galleries and I think it’s only fair to share some of the pages I create to contribute to the community.
My gallery tips:
- I use the Windows 7 “snipping” tool to snip (make a screenshot capture of a specific part of the screen) an inspiring layout, the users name and layout credits. I save these in an inspiration folder on my computer. It makes it really easy to find an cool product or credit a scraplift. You can always use the favourites button in the gallery itself, of course, but I’ve had bad luck with some favourited layouts disappearing or replaced with an “Out for Publication” notice.
- Not every layout needs to be posted to galleries! I wouldn’t post ones featuring my child’s school name, for example. I also don’t post really personal journaling — although I will post mushy journaling about how much I love my kids because I figure everybody knows that! For layouts with journaling that I want to keep private, I create a special web version with the journaling text replaced with a filler like “The journaling goes here. The journaling goes here. Etc.”
- When posting in a store gallery, I like to post my layout in the main gallery and the kit designer’s gallery. I like it when other people do that so that I can go to the Designer X gallery and see many layouts created by many people using her designs.
- If there’s a store or a designer that you really love, post your layouts in their gallery. I really, really like The Daily Digi. I’ve used almost every kit from The Digi Files over the past two years. As each designer spotlight would come out, I’d post my layout in the TDD Flickr group and leave a comment in the designer spotlight post. Eventually, persistence paid off and Steph asked me to be on the TDD team!
Melissa S. says:
Although I use a variety of galleries to post creative team work, I really enjoy the community at Scrapbookgraphics. I’ve chosen to keep that gallery as my home base and I’ve been on the team of a couple of designers over the 4 years I’ve been active there. I find that sticking to one main gallery helps me thin-slice my forum browsing time! I also spend some time commenting and find that participating in challenges and in the forum means that others see my pages and comment too!
I have been loving finding designer pools on Flickr lately – a great way to see work with a designer you love!
We’d love to know if you post in online galleries and which ones do you post in? Do you have any great tips for other digi scrappers who might want to join in?
See you around in digi land!