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Graduation Scrapbook - 7 Essential Photo Tips

Jun 5, 2008
How do you make a great graduation scrapbook album? It starts with preparing for great photographs.

You'll never have a better opportunity than graduation day. Everything is there, in one place at one time, just waiting for you to take the photos and tell the stories.

So whether you are making it for yourself, your spouse, your son or daughter, read on for some great tips for preparing for graduation scrapbooking.

You will find plenty of graduation-themed scrapbook supplies at your local scrapbooking store or at online scrapbook stores. For example, you can choose themed scrapbook papers, graduation stickers, find a graduation album you like, and other graduation scrapbook ideas to help you. Knowing that, you can focus on the photos and stories you need for your theme.

1. Be Clear
Know your purpose

Your first decision when making your album is whether you are making it ABOUT your graduate, or FOR your graduate. The first will be about the person and their school career to date; the second can include a wider variety of topics from school, family and favorite vacations, to friends, parties and everything your graduate likes (and dislikes!)

The purpose will affect the content, and with that decided, it's down to the work of preparation: planning the photographs you want to capture.

2. Be Focused
Know how to use your camera

Check it's working in good time to replace or repair. Practice and read up on the instruction manual if necessary. For example do you know how to avoid 'red eye', how to switch off the flash if you don't need it, or force it to flash in good light? And why would you want to use the flash in good light, anyway? (Answer: To have enough light on your subject, or to balance the light on your graduate's face in strong sunshine, easing shadows.)

3. Be Ready
With everything on hand

Plenty of film, or a spare memory card, if you have a digital camera; check your camera is fully charged; upload memory card contents to your computer, make sure they are empty and one is in place ready for use, and you know where the spares are when you want them; carry plenty of extra batteries - especially if you're camera is a hungry one! Don't forget to pack any spare lenses you may have and want to use.

4. Be On the Ball
Know what photographs you want

Then get into position to get them. As a soccer player moves into position to receive the ball, controls it, moves with it, then scores the winning goal, be on the lookout constantly to be in the right place for that winning photo. For example get ready to photograph -

1. the nerves
2. the friends
3. the family
4. the excitement
5. the grins
6. the hugs
7. the tears
8. the nerves
9. the hellos
10. the goodbyes
11. the details
12. the excitement
13. the nerves
14. the 'moments'
15. the pride
16. the celebrations
17. the excitement
18. the nerves!

And of course, the main 'player': your Graduate.

Make lists if that will help get clear in your mind the photographs you want to take. You will also be less likely to miss the ones you really want if you've got a list you, or someone helping you, can refer to.

Scrapbooking your photographs is the ultimate plan, so look for interest in your photo composition, the one with a good story behind it, or an unusual angle. Think also of the photos that sum up the event.

One other important point from the scrapbooker's perspective: when using a digital camera use the highest quality setting. This will allow you to zoom into the photo to crop for the specific detail when you're ready to scrap.

5. Be Warned
Watch out for the background

There's a very fine line between someone leaning against a lamp post and having it grow out of your subject's head! Take your time and check there are no lamp posts, trees or any other weird things growing in unexpected places before clicking the shutter on the special photographs! It's also a good idea to avoid backgrounds that are too busy for they will detract from the main subject.

I speak from dire experience when I say this - we have some weird photos!

6. Be fast
Ready to respond with speed

If your camera has a facility to allow you to take multiple photos in quick succession then use it.

Expressions, emotions, exchanges of glances, crazy, zany things that happen so quickly, on the spur of the moment. If you have this fast facility (excuse the technical terms, LOL!) you'll be more able to capture these fleeting moments as well as to quickly move with the event or to the next one in the blink of an eye - or a shutter.

7. One final tip
Have more than one photographer and you'll be less likely to miss the unexpected gems. Use disposable, one-time-only cameras for different perspectives from different people.

If the graduation is over and you're about to start work on your scrapbook then look for photographs that meet some of the suggested criteria.

So, if you plan your photographs carefully, then take them with confidence, you'll get excellent results that will make a great graduation scrapbook album.
About the Author
Scrapbooking design expert Genie Balfour writes on a wide variety of traditional and digital scrapbooking topics. Find elegant page designs and scrapbook graduation tips.
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