As a scrapbooker, there are few things more important than photos. How you choose and print your photos is just as personal as picking a color scheme for a layout.
I’ll take a step back and show you how I print my pictures at home and why it gives me more tools as a scrapbooker.
But first, meet my photo printer.
HP Photosmart 7350
Ahem, our photo printer.
The husband received this photo printer as a gift in 2002. That’s right, this baby is nine years old. Yes, it still prints fantastic pictures. I use this machine exclusively for photo printing and have a separate printer for everyday jobs. I print pictures for scrapbooking, crafts and picture frames. This photo printer was my true workhorse for my wedding crafts and favors.
It’s not the greatest at printing on 4×6 paper, but as you will find out, I rarely print that size. I use 8.5×11″ photo paper and fit pictures of various sizes on each page and then print and cut them out.
You may be asking yourself: aren’t ink and paper very expensive? True, ink isn’t cheap. However, my photo printer can go for a long time without needing a cartridge change (anywhere from 8 months to a year). I can’t say that’s true for other HP printers – I’ve had bad luck with constant ink cartridge replacement for my regular printer. But this old photo printer is a trooper. As for paper, my favorite brand is actually a store generic, which I’ll cover in a separate post.
My Photo Printer Makes Me Better at Scrapbooking
Printing my photos at home gives me great tools and helps me add variety to my pages.
Instant Gratification – I only print what I need when I need it. When I need it, I can print things immediately. If I decide I want to work on a page, I don’t have to order prints. We had a dinner party a couple weeks ago and I wanted to change out one of the frames in the living room and add a picture from our recent vacation. 30 minutes before guests arrived, I printed the photo and had it in the frame.
Size Variety – I can print a picture any size, large or small. This gives me an insane amount of choices when designing layouts. I can be in the middle of a layout, sense that something is missing, and size and print a picture to fill the exact space I was grappling with. I can also buy picture frames in odd sizes and I don’t have a problem printing pictures suited for them.
Photo Strips & Collages – This is one of my favorites. I don’t need special software to design and print photo strips. I have my choice between printing a strip or printing several small photos and arranging them in a strip on patterned paper (depending on what I want the look to be). One of my favorite tricks is to print several small photos and arrange them down the side or along the bottom of a page, such as I did with my bowl game layout (below).
The Statement Picture – I can print any size up to 8×10″ at home. Sometimes I’ll take a striking photo, blow it up, and arrange other elements in the layout to compliment it. It’s a nice break if my album has lots of smaller pictures and can be very striking. Stay tuned next week for a great example of this in a layout.
Control – This may be the most important. I have absolute control over my pictures and how they come out. I can crop and touch-up a photo and see instantly if I like it. I can re-do something and not have to wait a few days for it to come in the mail. I don’t have to decide in advance which pictures I want to use on a scrapbook page and can change my mind midstream (although it can get sort of unhealthy to do this).
An Added Bonus: Craft Projects – I make cards, print photos for frames around the house, designed a calendar and made countless things for my wedding. When I say the printer was the workhorse for my wedding, I mean it. It printed program covers, part of our wedding favors, parent gifts, table decorations and escort cards.
Now, I don’t advocate running to the store and buying a new photo printer immediately, but this is what works for me. If you really consider how you approach layouts and if some of my points resonate, this could be a good step for you! I’ll be dedicating a few more posts in the future to getting the most out of your photo printer and showing the supplies I use. Stay tuned!
Do you already use a photo printer or want one? I would love to hear about your method and ideas!