Scrapbooking Family History

5 Layouts That Downplay Poorly Cut Original Photos

In my post, “Need Help Fixing Poorly Cut Photos” I openly discussed my abuse of photos with a common cutting tool known as scissors! (Eeekk!!!)

Through my heritage scrapbooking post series, I have shared my experimental methods to downplay the poorly cut photos. Here’s a sampling of strategies:

1. Create the Allusion of a Regular Shape

The technique applied to the upper left photo.

By creating a mask that has a more regular shape, I made the upper left photo flow into the background. A mask can serve to feather out the edges of a photo and blend them into the mat. With soften photo edges and a rectangular shape behind the cut photo, I grouped the photo three regularly shaped photos into a grid arrangement. Other elements on the page (ribbon, and flower) draw your eye down the page. All tricks work to divert focus from my poor ‘cropping’ and back to the people in the photos!

2. Mat with Busy Pattern

A busy Christmas pattern downplays the odd shapes

The left column of haphazardly cut photos was placed on a busy pattern paper. This serves as a Christmas themed decoration but also as another distraction from the photo edges. The strong column of regularly cut photos on the right also catches my eyes, especially since these photos have a lighter tint to them.

3. Use a Scatter Layout

This flowing scatter-layout was just the thing I needed to play down the odd shapes. I added a few pieces of digital washi tape, an oval-shaped title tag, and then my own journaling. With this arrangement, the cut photos are not a distraction but an accepted fact that someone was a little reckless with her scissors.

4. Busy Pattern and Bold Accents

When I a regular oval-shaped mat as a container for my poorly cut photos, with a busy pattern paper, the trimmed edges are less obvious. I know that for visual ‘enjoyment’ groups of odd numbers are more pleasing. However, I have five flower embellishments scattered with the photos which also make 4 photos + 5 embellishments = 9 items above the bowline.

Then I have an orange bow, a text box and a flower (three items, (though the title makes four, but below the ribbon it’s three, counting the ribbon is four) provides the odd number pleasantry. Have I lost you?  Well, that’s okay because quite honestly, the emphasis on the festive birthday party is not lost!

5. Update Your Collage

The collage design isn’t necessarily a bad design when you do it for a purpose. Throw in embellishments and a journaling spot that reflects your general shape and you have pulled off a salvageable layout!

For those of you blessed to not have poorly cut photos, please scan before you use your originals before using printed photos for ANY kind in the project. You will thank me later, I promise!

My other secret tip of scrapbooking is to experiment. You will make mistakes. You will goof up and that’s okay. We’re not trying to win any awards on our designs. We’re just trying to capture and preserve our history so others will know it!

For those of you who cringe at the thought of what you (or others) have done to your treasured photos, know that all is not lost.

Have fun and scrapbook your photos!

Do you have a great layout where you salvaged poorly cut original photos? Share a link to your layouts in the comments below. We can all learn together!

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

Share your thoughts on this post

%d bloggers like this: