Explore through the lens:


I am recently (okay, not that recently, but I’m trying to make it sound like I’m on top of this sort of thing) back from a gorgeous tropical vacation: lucky me! I’m sure many of you, like me, have wondered about the best way to capture the amazing family memories you’ve created when taking a break in another location. As I ponder putting our vacation memories into album form, in today’s post, I’m discussing the 3 distinct types of images I capture when travelling, and showing you how they complement each other to create pages and albums that help to re-create that sense of exploring a new place.

Taking the pictures

1. Capture details: make sure to take photos of the details that strike as you being the elements that help you to recognise that place. Think the skyline, the trees, the colours, the shop windows. Details doesn’t necessarily mean close-ups, either. It simply means including in your story some images that aren’t grand sweeping landscapes, and aren’t lovely smiling faces, but rather simple shots of the essence of where you are. I’ve included an obvious, but still gorgeous, example here: morning light streaming through beautiful palm trees. This evokes for me that warmth and feeling of stepping out into the tropical heat in the morning.

Explore Through The Lens: Capture the details

2. Capture landscapes: this one’s easy, and pretty self explanatory. Try to think of capturing an image that shows everything you can see when you’re standing in an amazing place. Don’t forget that shooting in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening will give you amazing light.

Explore through the lens: capture the landscape


3. Capture yourselves in the environment: again, pretty self explanatory. One point to note though is that you can try to free yourself from the pressure to take the here-we-are-standing-in-front-of-this-thing photo. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for that photo, but you may find it liberating to try other approaches. Here’s a few techniques I try to help me branch out:

  • when I have my detail and landscape shots, I know that I already have the context for my shots of my family, so I feel happy to simply take a good photo of them, without worrying about where they are at that moment or capturing what’s behind them. For example, the image below was taken alongside several others that show the beach and surroundings, so I was happy simple to capture this image in the early morning light, without much other context. To make this work, it helps to shoot in batches. So, take at least 4 or 5 images from each setting, including photos of you and your family as well as other types of photo.


Explore Through The Lens: Capture Yourselves


  •  Think wide and way way back! I take lots of images like the one below that are essentially landscapes, only with our family in them!

Explore through the lens


  • Take doing photos rather than posing photos. In the image below I probably could have stopped the subjects and got them to turn around and smile for the camera, but this kind of shot gives you a good documentary-style sense of people enjoying themselves: to borrow a real scrapbooker’s turn of phrase, it’s a moment captured!

Explore through the lens

Putting it together in a page

I find that balancing Details, Landscapes and People shots in my pages and albums works really well for my form of storytelling. That said, in the layout below, I have actually used two ‘people’ shots. However, as I used some of the techniques I outlined above, I think this page gives you a real sense of the landscape anyway. In an album, I would place this alongside either a grid page with lots of photos from this particular setting, or alongside a full page photo of the landscape. Full page images are so powerful and as scrapbookers we sometimes tend to overlook them because we’re so excited about designing a page around our amazing photos. Grids (think pocket page templates) are a great idea for vacation albums too if you’re planning to get one printed, as they’re a simple way to a) finish an album quickly or  b) use the “other” photos that you didn’t get around to scrapbooking another way or couldn’t work out how to use.

Explore Through The Lens


So that’s it! I hope this gives you some food for thought as you plan a vacation or scan back through some family memories from a previous holiday!

Make sure you check out our August challenge series in the forum that’s full of ideas for exploration this month. If this has motivated you to scrap some of your travel memories, our Explore Through The Lens challenge starts August 28.
KathrynAbout the author: Kathryn Wilson shares her 1920s New Zealand home with her husband, her sweet baby boy, a wauzer, and a cavoodle. She is a photographer, and both a digital and hybrid pocket scrapbooker, who has lots of DIY projects she should probably be working on right now.


Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map: Explore Using Maps

Mapmaker Mapmaker


I may just have a little bit of a fixation with maps. Not only because I love to travel, but because they always give me a spark of imagination. They can make you feel like you are a part of something bigger. They can give you a feeling of confidence and allow you to realize that you won’t lose yourself. They can shed light on mystery and give you a peek into someone else’s story.

Whether they are official maps, treasure maps, maps of fictional locations, or hand-drawn, I love them. And if there is a map inside some sort of novel I’m reading… that is even better! You can use maps for decorating and DIY projects. Nail art. Fun projects with kids. And of course, memory keeping.  No matter what type of project you’re working on, another nice thing about maps is that they are a great design feature to add some visual interest.



This pocket page is a great example of using maps for visual interest as well as adding to the story without having to journal out all of the details.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

via Pinterest



This is a fun art-journal style page that is hybrid and shows the versatility of maps in design.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

via Pinterest


This next page is visually gorgeous. Not only did she use a map paper background, but then also added the specific area and country info on a larger scale with a fun stitched line to connect the two.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

via Pinterest


This is a different take on the map… using the country silhouette instead of a detailed/topographical map.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

via Pinterest


And isn’t this just a super fun idea for a hybrid project? A cute shadowbox with a map background and different tickets. I’d love to have one of these on my wall.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest



Maps are a great replacement for patterned paper and can add depth and meaning that only enhances your pages/projects. They can tell our stories and provide a background narrative. They can provide perspective and information without using journaling. You can sketch out your own maps and add them to pages to give some local flavor. You can even map out your home and share that information with future generations. You can use world maps, country maps, state and city maps, even neighborhood or bike trail/hiking/walking paths.  And if you break maps down into parts (location, map elements, directions, etc.), you can stretch your imagination even further.

Where can a map take you??  For more map-related inspiration, you can always Google or use Pinterest to find great ideas and images to motivate you.

Be sure to check out all of the fun map-related products in the store. And check out our forum for the coordinating challenge!









About the Author: Kimberlee is a lover not a fighter; a stay-at-home gran, a poet, and a lifelong learner. She grooves on saturated colors, Tuesday dance parties, optimism, glitter and sunshine. She colors outside the lines.  She is a dreamer. She is a collector of moments.  She is all about the story.  Kimberlee completed her MFA in Creative Writing and is just finished her M.Ed. in Instructional Design.

Explore Nature

Explore Nature

Hey Guys! This month we are “exploring” here at The Digital Press. When I think about the word explore- I instantly thought of being outside! I was born, raised & still live in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest (Washington to be exact.) I have often felt that we (Washingtonians) take for granted how spectacular our state is- we have mountains & ocean & desert & rain forests!  Even though I haven’t traveled as much as I would like- I still feel like my home is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. So- I’m going to share with you a few ways that I a capture my natural world for scrapbooking.

First- I just plain love taking pictures of our backyard! Each season is just as beautiful as the one prior. The changing leaves in the fall, the snow covered peacefulness in the winter and my flowers blooming in the spring & summer. Gah- I have zillions of these layouts & they are all my favorites!

Explore Nature

Explore Nature


Explore Nature

Another way that I like to bring some nature to my scrapbook pages is with sunset photos. We’ve had some outstanding summer fire sunsets lately. The hardest part is always capturing a picture that looks as good as with our eyes!

Explore Nature

Lastly, and my most common way of scrapbooking nature is my kiddos enjoying it! I love capturing my kids playing outside on their bikes, running through the sprinkler, playing at the lake house, building snowmen or with a new bug they’ve found. I have a ton of samples of these layouts- but I’ll just post one of my favorites for ya!

Explore Nature


There are infinite ways to explore our natural environment- even in urban landscapes- there are beautiful parks, playgrounds and amazing architecture.

My challenge to you- (HERE) in the FORUMS–  Explore Nature!

AmieAbout the Author: Amie is a craft loving, dental hygienist in WA state who loves her husband, two kids (ages 7 & 4), English Bulldog, coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book and lip gloss- not necessarily in that order.

Explore Your Family History


My Dad was born and grew up in a VERY small town in northern Arizona. Until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how my family ended up there, or even how my Grandparents met.

My Grandpa moved to Tucson in the 1930s – his Grandfather had died of tuberculosis and the family doctor recommended that his Grandma and Mom, who both had the disease, move the rest of the family to the dry Arizona climate for health reasons.  My Grandma’s family moved from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl.  They packed all of their belongings into a truck and drove west on Route 66 until they ran out of money in the tiny town of Williams, Arizona (it’s very Grapes of Wrath).

My Grandpa and his brother owned a small construction company, and they were working out at the Camp Navajo Army Depot when he met my Grandma, who was working as a Secretary in one of the buildings.  As they say, the rest is history!

A scrapbook layout with some of my family history was definitely needed – I thought The Road Ahead by KimB and Digital Scrapbook Ingredients was perfect for this story.



I love all of the family photos from Williams – the annual Rodeo, the old buildings in town, my dad in an adorable bow tie and jeans, my Grandparents on their way to church, or my aunt and the family’s dog.  And my Great-Grandparents even make an appearance (off to the left) – one of just a few photos of them still in existence.

It is fun to think about the “what ifs”.  What if my Grandma’s family had made it farther west?  What if my Grandpa never moved north for work?  My dad (and my sister and I) wouldn’t exist!

We’d love to see your layouts – join us in the forum!



About the Author:  Kacy is a member of The Digital Press Creative Team.  She’s an Environmental Engineer living in Arizona with a cranky, pudgy, but insanely cute calico kitty.  She enjoys scrapbooking, crocheting, dancing awkwardly to electronic dance music, Grumpy Cat, cupcakes, Stephen King books, and men in kilts.