Interview: Jessika’s New Zealand Photobook

Jessika's New Zealand Photobook

I scrapbook my photos.  It’s my hobby and how I like to showcase my pictures.  Just because I scrapbook my photos doesn’t mean you have to.  If you do scrapbook, it doesn’t mean you have to use the same methods I do (or anyone else for that matter).

It’s more important that you do something with your photos no matter what that is.  I suspect sometimes people are overwhelmed by what other people do with their photos and then do nothing.

When my friend Jessika told me she finished a photobook for her New Zealand vacation, I asked her some questions about it.

When did you take the trip?

We took the trip in November of 2012. I have no excuse why I haven’t worked on the book until just recently. I think because we returned and immediately had to slip into “holiday-mode,” it was easy for me to put the book off. So, I think from now on, I’ll try to figure out when I’ll work on future books better. Having a set aside preferred time to do it maybe means it will be done sooner.

How long was it and where did you visit?

We visited New Zealand, and we were there for just under two weeks.

Why did you end up going with a photobook?

I scrapbooked for a little while, and I love how creative you can be with a scrapbook. However, I have other hobbies I love and I finally came to the realization that I could not also scrapbook. I also like having the option of reprinting a photobook should it get damaged. Finally, I like how quickly I can put a book together. It might not be as beautiful as a scrapbook, but it still holds the purpose that’s the most important to me: cataloging experiences and photos (before I lose the photos and the experiences become faded!). I also like that I can get the project done with and then the worry of losing photos disappears– I’ve captured everything in the book!

What are your feelings now that it’s finished?

Relief. Achievement. I feel like I’ve time capsuled a special trip before it faded too much.

What are your feelings re the amount of description you put with the photos?

My previous books… I’ve put in too much description. I’ve realized that I don’t need to document EVERYTHING. Some things just don’t need to be documented. And, in looking back at my old books, I described things in 20 sentences where I could have just used one to two sentences.

So, with this New Zealand book, I was very minimal about my descriptions. I think this will be harder to do when there are stories behind pictures, but I love how the NZ book turned out so much that I think I’ll keep with my short and sweet approach from now on. For example, we went to the Zealong Tea Plantation in NZ. The old me would have described it, then talked about the tea heater, then talked about what type of tea we drank and the weather and etc etc. Instead, in the book, I put in a large page-wide photo of the plantation, and then four pictures on the next page of us drinking tea and goofing off with bronze statues of teapots. The caption? “Zealong Tea Plantation.” With those pictures, further descriptors really weren’t necessary. And, as a result, the book looks cleaner.

Any thoughts on the tradeoffs between getting something finished versus spending more time on it?

For me, getting it finished was important. I worry about losing camera chips or computers dying with photos saved on them. I’m also passionate about my other hobbies, and there are only so many hours in the day to be crafty.

Doing a photobook with less wordy descriptions means that I finished more quickly and I included photos that were important, not filler. It’s also helped guide what types of photos I take on a trip, and to have a plan on when to photobook when we return.  This system works for me because I have other preferences– just stay true to what you want to do and what works out best for your worries and time allocations.

I love everything Jessika had to say about this.  She did something that worked for her.  I like how she realized she didn’t need to add descriptions ad nauseam.  Sometimes I worry that I’m not capturing everything about a story.  This reminds me that I don’t have to.

The point?  Whatever works for you is perfect.

Do you have a photo album, photobook, or scrapbook you worked on recently?  I’d love to talk with you about it!

Wood grain image courtesy Andrew Taylor via Creative Commons license.

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6 thoughts on “Interview: Jessika’s New Zealand Photobook

  1. And this is why I love digital scrapbooking!!! (Though I still do traditional too.) Yes, whatever works for you is a wonderful way to get a project done. However, the thing I love about scrapbooking is that it lets you keep the stories and the pictures and the mementos together in one place. Without the stories, it’s just a photo album with the name/location/whatever details you put in it. I would have told about a tea heater because my city life doesn’t include “tea heaters” in it. I don’t know what it is or what it does and would want to remember that for the future. Or whatever unique thing I learned or experienced. But that goes back to “whatever works for you.” :D When I finish a scrapbook of any size or any event, it usually becomes my favorite. Done is the best!!

    • Yes, the point is here that digital scrapbooking is what works for you. But a photo album might be the best thing for someone else. We all need to do what is the best for us. For some, that may be something very complicated that includes all the stories and a lot of description. For others, just having the photos in the book with a few captions is perfect.

  2. I love photo books! I use Shutterfly often to make photo books for gifts. No one understands the time or money that goes in to a traditional scrapbook and I used to get frustrated when I would find an album I worked so hard on in the top of someone’s closet etc. Now I put together a quick and easy book and the people I give them to really like to keep them out for coffee table books. Thanks for sharing Jessika & Nat!

    • I’ve never made a scrapbook for anyone else — I’m not sure I would because of the very issue you mention. People flip through the pages of my own books too quickly for my liking anyway :)

      Maybe people think that photobooks are more durable and thus keep them out?

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