Digi Scrapbooking Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves

Musts

The Basics

To be a digital scrapbooker, there are a few basics that you need to let you be creative and capture your memories for the long-term. (Luckily, most of them are items that you would have owned even if you weren’t a digital scrapbooker.)

Computer, Internet Access and Virus Protection

It’s pretty clear that you will need a computer to be a digital scrapbooker. Although I hear rumours about scrapbooking on tablets, I think the vast majority of digital scrapbookers use either a desktop computer or laptop.

Naturally, to be able to print your pages and purchase online digital supplies, you will need Internet access. And, you’ll want to protect your computer from online dangers with some sort of virus protection.

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Scrapbooking Software

Digital scrapbookers need software that allows them to work with image files and layers.

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE) is very popular among beginning and seasoned scrapbookers. Most scrapbooking tutorials are written for PSE users. The current PSE is about $99.
  • Adobe Photoshop (PS) is the pro version of PSE. Scrapbookers who also want enhanced abilities for photo editing and some tools for the manipulation of images (like very advanced drop shadow customization) use PS. The newest version is based on a subscription of $29.99 per month (for the student edition).
  • There are also options like Paint Shop Pro ($49) and Foto Fusion ($119), but there are fewer digital scrapbooking-specific resources for these programs.

Remember to check for discounts, like student and teacher discounts, before you buy or upgrade. The savings can be substantial!

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Digital Scrapbooking Supplies

Shopping for supplies is one of the best parts of being a digi scrapbooker! It’s so fun to see all the new goodies in the stores. Of course I am biased, but I think that a The Digi Files membership is one of the best ways to discover new products and designers. And we can’t forget the Funtastic Friday posts where TDD shares awesome new releases from around the digi community.

Camera

You could scrapbook without photos, but since the majority of digi scrapbookers use photos on their pages, I’m including a camera as a basic tool for digi scrapbookers. There are many types (and price points) for cameras, whether it’s a point-and-shoot camera or dSLR.

Your smartphone camera is also an excellent source of photos for scrapbooking. More and more people are relying on their smartphone as their main family camera.

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Back-up Plan

The truth is that your computer will fail at one point and you do not want to lose those precious photos or your expensive digital supply catalogue! There are several ways to back up your photos and digital supplies:

  • Back-up to an external hard-drive (EHD)
  • Copy files to memory sticks or discs
  • Use an online back-up company like BackBlaze, CrashPlan or Mozy, to name a few.

Ideally, you’ll have one working copy of your files, one on-site back-up (at your house) and one remote (not at your house) back-up.

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The Nice-to-Haves

Once you’ve been digitally scrapbooking for a while, you might find that the basics are no longer enough and you need more advanced tools. Actually, some of these things that I didn’t need at all when I first started scrapbooking are now on my “I couldn’t scrap without it” list!

Photo Management Software

If you don’t take a lot of photos, the simple system folder structure might work for you. Just organizing by Year, Month, and Day is a great start to being able to find and retrieve photos.

If you are working with a lot a photos, photo management software is a real time-saver. There are a few options, like ACDSee, iPhoto (Mac), and Adobe Lightroom. I’m a Lightroom user. I use it for:

  • Key word tagging my photos for easier retrieval
  • Non-destructive edits of my photos
  • Batch editing photos

In fact, Lightroom has become where I edit about 95% of my photos, almost entirely replacing Photoshop for photo-editing.

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Digital Supply Organization Software

If I could go back in time, I would have picked up software to organize my digital supplies long before I did. Being able to easily access my supplies has saved me so much time and I think made me a better scrapper. And, of course, it helps me use all those wonderful digi products!

My digital organization software is ACDSee. Other people like Adobe Lightroom. And others are able to make their system folder structure work for them.

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Font Management Software

Digital scrapbookers can accumulate a hundreds of fonts over the years. Not only is it a chore to have to scroll through that many fonts to find the “right” one for a page, having so many fonts installed can actually slow down your scrapbooking software and your whole computer. A font management software like Font Xplorer helps by allowing you to keep all your fonts but to uninstall those that you don’t use on a regular basis. You can easily go into the font manager and install fonts that were previously uninstalled. Font managers sometimes have capability like being able to group fonts by type (e.g. handwriting, cut-out fonts, all caps fonts, etc.).

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UnZip Software

Prolific digital scrapbooking supply purchasers appreciate the the ability to open dozens of ZIP files into a preferred location and automatically delete the ZIP. Such a time-saver!

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A Place to Jot Down Memories

We’ve talked a lot about how to capture memories to scrapbook them later. Here are a few that I’m familiar with:

Sources for Inspiration

I hope you think of The Daily Digi as one of your best sources for scrapbooking inspiration! Also check out:

 

I’m amazed by all of the great memory-keeping tools and products available now. What else would you add to the list?

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