Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Multi-photo layouts (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, Deb commented that she would like me to go over how I come up with multi-photo layouts as she struggled with them and could I share my tips on them as I seem to do them a lot.

I don't profess to be any kind of design expert but I know what I like and very often, it's to use up a lot of photos in one go. So, I've been thinking about this and I don't know if this will help but these are the things that go into my thought process. As it is a big topic, I will break it down into smaller chunks and post it in a few parts. I will put them up on my blog each Tuesday for the next 3 weeks. They are photo heavy posts as I have included lots of examples (some old, some newer and some most definitely better than others!)

First off, I make lots of single photo layouts and lots of multi-photo layouts - neither one is right or wrong. I just want to say that if you only make single photo layouts and you like to be creative and there's not much story, great! That's your style. If you like to mix it up a bit, also great! We have a lot in common! As my sister always used to remind me - the scrapbook police are not going to come knocking on my door! The only rule is that there are not rules.

So to kick us off, let's see why I am making all these layouts with more than one photo.

For me, a multi photo layout usually has more of a story behind it that just a single photo. I often opt for the single when I am in the mood to be more artistic or "clever" or I am working on techniques but I often have more to say than a single photo can portray. 

There is often a reason for choosing all the photos.

There's a lot of talk online and in classes about your process - photo/story/design/product first. I have to admit that for me, it's changeable and I seem to move from one thing to another as it suits or feels right.

Let me show you some examples.

1. Photo first

This is where I am looking through my storage binders or computer and my eye falls on a series of photos that for some reason, go together.

They might look good together:

They might tell a story when looked at as a group:

Or maybe, one photo then triggers an idea for collecting others together:

2. Story first

I have an idea for a story I want to tell and then off I go to find a photo - but more likely photos - to represent it.

I might just have the story in my mind, but sometimes I've already written it down when I go looking. This happens very often with my Yukon memories. These small snippets of stories are whirring round my mind, just waiting to be captured and scrapped. Some examples might be:

3. Design or product or inspiration first

I take so many photos (literally hundreds if not thousands a month), that I'm always trying to come up with new ways to bring them together on one page. 

I look out for designs that incorporate several photos and then I can make it again and again. Such as:

(originally from a Nichol Magouirk class)


(originally from a Nic H class over at BPC)

Or I respond to some kind of challenge

(as a response to a LOAD challenge by Katrina Kennedy)

Or I just play around:

Just looking back over last year's LOAD scrapping, maybe more than 25% really have multiple - more than 4 - per layout. I love the challenge of fitting a lot onto one layout. But of course, the overal design process is different (we will begin to look at that in the next part).

From three months of LOAD I can see that I made 36 single photo layouts and many of these were related to technique heavy classes where a single photos are more usual. But then 23 had 2 or 3 phtoos and a grand total of 31 had 4 or more.

I have so many photos that it almost seems a shame to only use one!

Next Tuesday will be about the options you have when you have decided that you want/need to use up more than just one photo on your layout.

When you look back over a pile of your finished layouts, what are the numbers for you? Mostly singles? Or do you break out the multi-photo from time to time?


  1. Oh Lisa, this is very helpful. I can't for the next installment. I've fallen into the 1 photo trap this past year; mostly because I love to play with all the extra goodies and I'm not the best photographer. But I'm going to work on it from now on.

  2. Thank you,Lisa. Very helpful and can't wait for next installment. When you have finished the 3 weeks,I will attempt my own multi photo LO.

    Deb x

  3. Great post Lisa! I love your layouts and the photos of the Yukon are gorgeous! Seems funny how close it is to me but I have never been... My layouts are typically 1-2 photos, I used to do multiple photo layouts years ago and then again with Cathy's DYL class, but for some reason I seem to prefer making layouts with a smaller number. Maybe I should challenge myself and do a 3-4 photo layout! I look forward to next Tuesday!

  4. I remember many of those layouts from LOAD and loved seeing them again. Over the years, most of my layouts have a few photos, and I usually save my really good pics for single photo layouts.

    P.S. Love the new photos on your blog banner! And thanks for the generous comments on my blog :)

  5. Super LOs and love to see your process and thinking. I rarely have just one photo ...


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