Memory Keeping Q&A | Digital Scrapbooking


HEIDI | How do you organize your digital photos?

TARALEIGH GRAY | This is definitely what I would ask too! Do you do it by calendar day or do you organize by event? What photo organizing software do you use, if any? How often do you back-up your photos and what methods do you use?

AE | I'm currently using Aperture to organize my digital photos (see photo above). I'd call myself a basic user - I use it for organizing my photos and sometimes use the adjustment options to lighten photos if they seem to dark. I organize by month for our family photos and then by project for my work-related images. I haven't gotten into tagging's a project I'd like to undertake at some point in time but for now simply putting them in the correct folder each time I upload seems to be going well.

My Aperture photo library is stored on an external hard-drive. It's currently backed up using Mozy. I will be switching away from Mozy when the time I've already paid for is up since they have raised their prices significantly. I'm looking at Backblaze or Crashplan to replace Mozy. I also use Time Machine on my Mac to back up everything to a second hard drive.

LEE | I have all of my digital elements in my iPhoto program and it works pretty well but I’m sure I can make it better. I was wondering how you store your elements – by date? by kit? by element? by artist? How do you store them in order to find them again? I’ve only just started digi and I’m already overwhelmed with the options!

ELECTA | Can you please tell us how you organize your digital scrapbooking papers, templates, etc? Do you print a hard copy and keep it in a notebook and then reference it on the computer? I am struggling to figure out how to use different elements from different manufacturers.

AE | I've got a post that talks about my digital product organization structure here. I've kept things really simple for myself by just using folders. I don't print out any hard copies.


KATE | Do you use a tablet or digital pen? I’m looking at the Bamboo Craft tablet and was wondering what you use to create your digital products.

AE | I do use a tablet. I've been using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet for quite a few years now and it works great. I create many of my digital products using this tablet. I also hand-write sentiments on paper and scan them into Illustrator to create products.


ANNETTE | I dabble a bit in digi and wondered when you print your digi pages where do you print them (12×12) and what type of paper you have them printed on??? I have printed a few with my Epson printer, but the colors seem to muted.

AE | I print both here at home and with online services. I like and Persnickety Prints. I've used both and they are great. I think I usually choose matte paper. I'm not too picky with the paper type.


LINDSAY | I’ve always been a traditional scrapbooker and have been thinking about getting into digital scrapbooking – how do you recommend I get start?

SHARON | I have the Adobe photoshop program and really don’t have a clue on how to use it. Any suggestions on where is a good site to learn to use it?

AE | I've got a list of posts about getting started available here. I also list a few other recommendations at the bottom of that post of places to go to learn the basics. My biggest suggestion is to take it one layout, one project at a time. There's all kinds of things you can do with Photoshop and lots to learn - I learn new stuff all the time. I love that it's simply another option for telling our stories.


TONI | A technique question – I use photoshop elements and have recently been given a basic tablet YAY! I like the way you put thin borders around your photos with a word encased in the border. Using the above tools is it possible for me to create borders like you. I like the rounded corners you make and would like to do similar things on my photos but sometimes with my own writing to make it more personal for my kids (though I do love yours!!!).

AE | Sure! Here's a written tutorial from Designer Digitals that will walk you through the steps in Elements. I use Illustrator because it's a simpler process (vs. having to create a stroke and then delete the inside of the rounded corner rectangle). With a tablet you can draw words right into Photoshop - I've had more success drawing words into Illustrator vs. Photoshop but it can definitely be done.

SHAUNA | I have learned so much from you in the past year especially with digtal scrapbooking. I just bought your letters and downloaded them onto my computer. So my question is how do I put them in Photoshop or word where I can use them to journal with? I have been trying to use them but it only lets me use them one letter at a time!! (grr.) sorry if this is a silly question but I still feel very new and clueless in the digtal world! Thanks again.

AE | Hi Shauna - can you tell me a little more about what package your purchased? If you purchased an alphabet it's not the same thing as a font - you do select one letter at a time for placement on your layout/project.

VAL IRWIN | I recently purchased your Today You Album from Designer Digitals, it says it is Shutterfly ready, when I look on Shutterfly I don’t see how where I need to go to publish my own photobook without using the templates supplied. Thanks!!

AE | Click here to access Shutterfly's Classic Custom Path. Click that yes, you still want to use the classic custom path. Select your book size - such as 12x12. Under the Styles drop-down menu select "Print Your Digital Scrapbook." From there, once you are all signed in, you should be able to place your saved JPG files into the book.


If you'd like more information on getting started with digital scrapbooking check out my series here: Getting Started With Digital Scrapbooking.

This post is part of a 2011 Memory Keeping Q&A series. Additional posts in this series will be listed below as they are posted. Past Q&A posts are available via the Category Archives here.

Products | Photos | Inspiration | Motivation & Time | Anna’s Baby Album | Storytelling

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26 thoughts

  1. mariagrace says…

    A - Just wondering if you tag your digital files using openmeta standards? Works for me. I can keep all my digi files in whatever location and b/c they're tagged, I can find them anywhere. Might be useful to your readers.

    As always, ladybug, great post. :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Pam Abbott says…

      Aha moment...hello! Thanks.

  2. Jeannette says…

    I LOVE that you use APerture! So since you have your photos on an EHD, are you using a referenced library then?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…

      Yes - the library is located on the external drive.

  3. NikkiFB says…

    After years of paper scrapping I went digi about a year ago, thanks in large part to your digi tutorials! So thanks! I also started off organizing your way on my Mac, but I've switched to keeping everything in iPhoto. I don't like tagging, but in iPhoto I can have my cake & eat it too.... keep all my kits together in the main events library, and at the same time having albums/folders (a la AliE) :) so I can ALSO have all my ribbons together, all my buttons together, etc. I love having more than one way to find my supplies (and no tags! LOL).

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Alice Golden says…

    Love this topic! I have a crazy amount of digi photos (over 50,000!) and finally have a system that has made me feel like I am on top of things - I am using Lightroom and some strategies from Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom and have written quite a detailed post on my process here:

    Thanks for sharing your ideas... I'm thinking about adding an online backup service and will be interested to see what you decide.

    I've also been using your folder strategy for my digi elements and so far it has been working great. Thanks!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Lindsay says…

    Thanks for answering my question about getting started with digital scrapbooking! I will be checking out your posts about getting started.
    Have a great weekend Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Deb Pereira says…

    you may already know this but Mozy dropped their prices recently. I just signed up for $9.99/month for 125 GB. It was comparable to other online services.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. amber b says…

    Just wondering if you could share what kind of computer you use? I see that it is a Mac but any specifics? Are you happy? Im on a PC right now and am needing (wanting) a new computer - just wondering if making the switch to an apple would be worth all the hassle!

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  8. Teri H. says…

    This post was really helpful Ali, thank you. I was looking into learning Photoshop and now I know where to start.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Kim B says…

    Ali you mention using Illustrator for drawing and writing. I have a wacom tablet, have tried drawing and writing in PSE and am very unhappy with my results. Someone told me I
    really need a drawing program to get good drawn lines and writing. Is this why you use Illustrator?

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Jill says…

    Hi Ali,

    I have a follow-up question to the one posted about your Today You Designer Digital/Shutterfly ready package. I don't have any design programs on my laptop (Photoshop, Elements, etc). Would I still be able to download the Today You/Shutterfly package and upload it into Shutterfly? Or do I need a design program to run the files as I place them into the book? I've used Shutterfly before, so my instinct is that I don't need a design program. I've always wanted to use the digital Today You layout - I'm hoping this is a good sign that I'll be able to through Shutterfly! Thanks :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Jolynn says…

    I'm just moving into the Digi world and all the tips you have listed are very helpful. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Fiona Davis says…

    Hi Ali,
    I have just purchased an iMac, it has iPhoto, so I just want to clarify what you do with each application.
    Do you use iPhoto to import your pictures when you download them from your camera. Do you then edit them in Apperture if they need slight editing. And if you want to do a full edit do you then use Photoshop Elements. I want to see if it is worth purchasing Apperture and also Photoshop Elements.
    Fiona (Australia)

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Maridette Cachola says…

    Hi Ali,

    just wondering which backup site you picked. Looking to sign up.


    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Toni says…

    Thanks for all those great tips Ali. I've had a go at the tutorial from DD and it worked - YAY. Now I just have to figure out how to join the word and the border together. I guess I would just delete some of the border, write the word in that space and then merge the layers/save as a new jpg?? Will give it a go.

    Thanks again.
    Toni :)

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