How to print your photo book or scrapbook layouts as individual pages for including in traditional albums (From Screen to Hand: Part 2)

Working on albums outside of a hardbound photo-book service like Shutterfly or Snapfish gives you the flexibility to enjoy your layouts in a variety of ways. Our From Screen to Hand blog series shows you how you can:

Printing as individual pages

Perhaps the easiest way to get your pages from your computer to something you can easily see and enjoy in real life — without the pressure of having to have a complete album ready to print — is to print your pages individually and slip them into a regular scrapbook or photo album.

This is almost always my preferred option. As someone who doesn’t typically create my layouts in chronological order, I find myself placing orders for about 20 pages at a time, with pages that span several years and subjects.

You don’t have to wait until you have every layout finished before you print.

I might never be done with my daughter’s first year, for example, even though she’s now 15 years old! I created some pages when she was little, but even now, I might go back and make a layout of a memorable moment from her early childhood. Yet the next day, I could create a layout from her current soccer season — using photos taken 10 to 15 years after those toddler pictures I scrapped the night before.

I want to be able to see and enjoy the pages I create today soon after I complete the layout on screen. And 10 years ago, when I started her album, I wanted to enjoy those layouts immediately, too.

If I had waited until I had enough pages finished to print a hardbound album of my daughter’s childhood and teen years – and I knew I would never want to go back and scrapbook something I missed in that same time frame – I might be 90 before I printed these pages! (And worse, I might not ever get around to printing any of them!)

One more example: I started a family yearbook (think, Project Life, only more like Cathy Zielske’s style, Scrapbook Your Year) for 2017 …well… three years ago now. But I have never finished it! I won’t be ready to print that album as a full, hardbound yearbook until I get my pages for October through December finished. That might be another three years down the road, at the rate I’m going! In the meantime, though, I can enjoy the layouts, because I have printed them as individual pages and slipped them into my family album.

You can mix and match paper and digital layouts.

Most often, I prefer to create layouts digitally. There are a lot of reasons why, some of which include:

  • the fact that I can use my digital paper and embellishments over and over again without having to buy 10 sheets of the same patterned paper
  • I can easily size my photos without having to order new prints in order to use them in layouts
  • I can selectively (and on the fly!) choose to use some photos in color and others in black-and-white in order to maximize the visual impact of a layout.

But while digital layouts are now my default, I do occasionally scrapbook with paper supplies. Most often, it’s when I want to include memorabilia in an album. For example, for my kids’ school albums, I have created pocket pages for each year that include things like awards and report cards.

Printing my layouts as individual pages allows me to mix digital pages with paper layouts (pocket pages included) in the same album. It’s a beautiful thing!

So for my typical albums, printing layouts as individual pages is my preference. Quickly viewable. Mix-and-matchable. Flexible. Beautiful!

WHERE AND HOW TO PRINT YOUR PAGES

Photo Labs

There are several companies that can print your pages as actual photographs, at sizes that are common for photo books and scrapbooks: 12″ x 12″, 10″ x 10″, 8″ x 8″, 8.5 x 11″, etc . If you order online, they will deliver them directly to your house, and you’ll be ready to slip them into your albums in no time.

My favorite online lab is PersnicketyPrints.com. They do an awesome job! It has been years since I’ve used a different printer, so I can’t vouch for the quality of others. However, here are a couple more that offer similar products:

Shutterfly also offers a 12×12 print — but be careful! They’re considered “art prints” and are printed on cardstock, not photo paper, so their archival quality will be limited.

They’re also significantly more expensive! (Right now, Shutterfly offers a 12×12 art print for $17.99, while Persnickety Prints offers a 12×12 photo print for $1.99!)

[Always check to see how the photos will be printed before you trust your prints to a printer. Real photographs, printed not with ink but with a chemical-and-light process, will last many more years than an image printed with inks.]

Certainly, this is not a complete list. You might check with your local independently owned photography stores to see if they offer a 12 x 12 option.

Printing your own

While you can also choose to purchase a wide-format inkjet printer and large-format photo paper and print your own photos, there are a few pitfalls of which you should be aware.

  1. Printers that accommodate 12×12 or larger paper are increasingly difficult to find. The same is true for the paper you would need to purchase in order to print with them.
  2. It can be pricey. By the time you add the cost of the ink and supplies and consider the hassle of replacing ink, errors when printing, etc., it might be more affordable and certainly more convenient to order from a professional photo printing service like those listed above.
  3. Large-format home printers work by adhering ink to the surface of paper. They are not making an actual photo print, so, again, the longterm stability of the print will be lesser than that of a photo print you can order at one of the photo-printing labs listed above.
  4. Photos printed in a lab using a chemical-and-light process are waterproof, whereas photos printed at home are susceptible to destruction if they get wet. For more information about this important aspect of photographic prints, see Persnickety Prints’ demonstration on the waterproof quality of prints.

Just print it!

Just as we should be printing our photos in order to avoid a technology-related catastrophe down the road, we should be printing our layouts, as well. Even if you plan to eventually print your layouts in hardbound albums, I highly recommend printing the individual pages along the way. That way, if you never finish the album, you won’t risk never printing your layouts. And you’ll be able to enjoy them right away, to boot.

Have fun!

Digital scrapbooking kit used in the above layout: Arctic Expedition kit by Katie Pertiet

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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