What to do with your pictures on your camera card:
Go straight to Target (my favorite), Walmart, Walgreens, Sams or anywhere with a picture kiosk and print your photos. At the very least you'll have something concrete to hold in your hands and place i an album.
Upload, create organized shareable folders or order prints of your pictures at one of the following:
Flickr (Though this is a popular site, I don't use it. People freely leave unsensored and profane comments that I don't care to read and don't want my children to see.)
Download and use Picasa2. This program is the best freebie anywhere on the web! You can upload, organize and edit your photos here. You can also email select photos, order prints or add pictures easily to a blogspot blog.
Once your pictures are on your computer:
You can start creating pages!
You need a scrapbook program or photo editor. The most popular on the market right now Photoshop Elements. (You can download and experiment with a trial version here.)
GIMP is an open source photo editing software, much like Photoshop, but FREE! You'll have to play with it to understand how it works but it's definitely worth checking out.
Creative Memories, the industry standard for traditional scrapbooking, is also setting the pace for digital scrappers. Their organizational program is called Memory Manager and their highly user-friendly digital scrapbooking program is called StoryBook Creator Plus. You can see their entire line up of digital products here. Betsy Dorton is a friendly and knowledgeable no-pressure consultant. If you'd would like to see any of CM's products in action, you can contact her via her site.
Now that you have a photo software:
You can download embellishments, fonts, papers and other enhancements! You'll find plenty to purchase, but many are FREE!
Here are my friends' favorite sites for freebies:
Lindsay Jane Designs
Free Digital Scrapbooking
Here are some of my favorite sites that offer lots of free stuff, but also some very inexpensive graphic kits:
If you have a favorite site, add it to my comments section to share with the rest of us. :)
Now the fun begins! Go ahead and add your pictures to your pretty enhancements. If you need help with your software, you can use online tutorials (many of the above sites offer help, too, or you can google "digital scrapbook tutorials" or "nameofyoursoftware scrapbook tutorials."
Remember, too, to add some personal thoughts to your pages. Don't let the embellishments consume your layouts. Journaling boxes are easy to create and add to any page. You want to let your family, friends and the rest of the world know your thoughts and feelings about your photo, so share it!
Not only will you find inspiration on the web, but plenty of magazines offer layout ideas, too. When I'm in search for some variety, I go to Barnes and Noble and sip a mocha frappuccino while browsing the magazine rack. Trust me, there is lots of creativity inside those pages!
Once you've finished your designs:
You can upload your final pages to a book creator such as Blurb or Picaboo.
You can also print your pages at home or have color copies made of your pages and insert them into an album. Staples and Kinkos often run 49 cents color pages.
You can also add them to a blog.
Please share what you do with your final masterpiece in the comments section. :)
I hope this has encouraged and inspired you to get your photos off your camera card and into an album. Please feel free to ask questions or leave your ideas in the comments section. :)