The one photo dilemma
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 7/6/2013 by Sophikins in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 62,725
January 2003
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Loc: Pacific NW

Posted: 7/6/2013 2:18:54 PM
I just listened to a podcast from Paperclippings from a few months ago. One of the guests talked about how she took apart all of her albums (which I understood to have been done with multiple photos per page with embellishments etc.) and instead now makes smaller format albums with only one photo that best tells the "story".

There have been many discussions about the trend of only one photo on a 12 by 12 page.

But now that my 3 dd's are young adults, and I am getting around to scrapping all those old photos, I find each and every one a special reminder of that past time that cannot be recaptured again. Every single one of those pics from my 21 year old's 5th birthday party is a precious memory of her smile, her laughing, opening a present, kissing her sister etc.

Does anyone else find it essentially impossible to chose the "one" photo that "best tells the story"?

When my family and friends look at my albums (I have been scrapping since 1996), the more photos on a page, then more they look at, talk about, laugh about etc.

I guess a way to include more photos is have some PL type pages, which then reminds me of the way we all put pics in albums in the days before scrapbooking!


Going Up

PeaNut 579,055
January 2013
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Layouts: 87

Posted: 7/6/2013 2:45:51 PM
years ago when i began scrapbooking, it never occurred to me to do a single photo layout. thinking about your question, i realize that it was because printing photos was costly and in some instances, the original photo was all i had. that meant every photo, even the not-so-perfect ones, were special.

now, thanks to digital, i can be choosy about what photos i have printed, because at my fingertips are ALL of my photos and in a moment's notice, i can print off more. saving and sharing memories has become so much easier and physical albums aren't a necessity, but a conscious choice we make.

i don't find it impossible because i won't ever put restrictions on my layouts. (budget maybe, but that's a different story) yes, i will make single photo layouts, but not because it's the best picture to tell the story, but because sometimes it's all i want to use. call me crazy, i also don't journal or title every page.

Rhonda in TX
1 Pea, 2 Pea, Red Pea, Blue Pea

PeaNut 339,706
September 2007
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Loc: Houston, TX

Posted: 7/6/2013 2:52:21 PM
I would never go back and take apart old pages like that. However, what the one photo page has showed me is that it's okay to have a page with one photo. Before, I rarely did one page layouts, and would combine photos to a misc. type layout. Now, if it's a special picture with a story behind it, it gets it's own page. I still do multi-photo double page layouts, but I don't limit myself anymore.

Been scrappin' for 15 years
Homeschool mom of 2 - DS (16) and DD (15)
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PeaNut 181,117
December 2004
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Loc: Melbourne, Australia

Posted: 7/6/2013 2:56:50 PM
I think time gives us a different perspective. We think we will always remember the details of a recent event but as time passes we forget things. Maybe that's why it seems easier to find just one photo that best tells the story when it is more recent and more difficult as more time passes because we rely on other things in the photos to trigger memories and give us a fuller picture of the day/event/moment.

That's not to say that we can't tell effective stories with a single photo because sometimes that one photo might be all you need and I'm definitely of guilty of using just one because I feel like it or it fits in the design better or I just don't like the way I look in any others.

every photo, even the not-so-perfect ones, were special

I think this is a really good point.


Donna in GA
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 60,695
January 2003
Posts: 8,882
Layouts: 2

Posted: 7/6/2013 3:16:05 PM
OP, I agree with you. My boys are 21 and 23. I have just started to work on the baby pictures of my 23 year old in the last year. It is hard to narrow down pictures because every single picture is precious. I also don't like to crop the pictures to get rid of background items because those items also bring up memories.

We have pictures of my dh as a small child with pieces of furniture in the background that we inherited years later when his parents died. We now have picture of our boys with those same pieces of furniture.

Sometimes I do have just one picture, but that is not often.

Love Letters Pea

PeaNut 65,852
January 2003
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Loc: Nashville, TN!

Posted: 7/6/2013 6:15:01 PM
Sometimes one photo encompasses everything I want to remember about one moment...sometimes it takes 5 or 6.

There is no wrong way.

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PeaNut 416,788
March 2009
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Loc: Living in Kim's Perfect World, again.

Posted: 7/6/2013 6:34:51 PM
I take a lot of photos and I hate to journal.

I just did a layout last night of photos from 2004 with 5 pictures on one page, and they tell a wonderful story without words. Which should I have left out? The excellent one of grandmother & granddaughter? The excellent one of girl's perfect side split? The two small ones of her running around to do cartwheels? Or maybe the one with her typical pose at that time?

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PeaNut 114,614
November 2003
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Loc: Ontario, Canada

Posted: 7/6/2013 6:36:35 PM
I always use multiple photos for events like holidays and birthdays. I might break those events up into multiple pages, and some of those pages only have one photo per page, but to feel like I've covered the whole event I need to use more than one photo.

However, for daily stuff, I often find that one photo is enough. One photo of the big girls pushing baby sister in the stroller; one photo of DD2 to tell a story about how she asks the best questions; one photo of DD1 to talk about her finishing Girl Guides, are all quite enough.

I find that sometimes multiple photos really add the story -- essentially tell the whole story. And sometimes they just distract.

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PeaNut 267,997
July 2006
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Loc: Minnesota

Posted: 7/6/2013 7:22:06 PM
I'm definitely not a one photo per page scrapper. All of my pages have a lot of pbotos on them. I'm way too indecisive, and take way too many photos


PeaNut 64,976
January 2003
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Loc: Seattle

Posted: 7/6/2013 7:34:36 PM
I've always been a multi-photo kind of girl, especially now that there's so many photo size options! (I have always hated cropping photos) I rarely only have one specific photo that I want to use, so several on one page just works for me.

That being said, I've totally done one photo layouts before, but I only do them for special type of pages...or, it's the only photo I have


PeaNut 570,798
October 2012
Posts: 85
Layouts: 12

Posted: 7/7/2013 2:27:53 AM
I do both! Sometimes a series of photos DOES tell the story, like when my daughter was learning to crawl and could on,y move backwards (I'm a terrible parent ... It was HILARIOUS). Sometimes you only need one.

I watch to make sure I'm not falling into the trap of using my scrapbooking as a replacement for a photo album. That's what I use divided page protectors for. A few photos scrapped on 12x12 to tell a story, and the rest included for all of the memories.


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PeaNut 288,074
December 2006
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Posted: 7/7/2013 5:49:08 AM
I can counting on one hand the number of LOs I gave done with only one photo, most of my LOs are 2 pagers with an average of 6-8 photos. I don't scrap every photo of the event but I select the ones that best capture the moment/event.

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PeaNut 416,788
March 2009
Posts: 22,094
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Loc: Living in Kim's Perfect World, again.

Posted: 7/7/2013 7:53:36 AM

That's what I use divided page protectors for. A few photos scrapped on 12x12 to tell a story, and the rest included for all of the memories.

It's a good option.

If PC is the way to get to Heaven, I'm going straight to Hell.


PeaNut 563,248
August 2012
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Loc: Florida

Posted: 7/7/2013 8:41:50 AM
This year I started PL and decided that it wasnt for me so I switched back to regualar scrapping, I didnt undo what I had already dont with PL.
I would make a LO and add extra pics into 6up page protectors by WRMK.
It works for me because I only create double page spreads for special things like vacations.
I love how my album is looking.


PeaNut 504,615
April 2011
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Posted: 7/7/2013 12:14:47 PM
It's really about the story I want to tell with the layout. For example, here's a one-photo layout about my hubby cooking with my son. I wanted to capture this great father-son moment.

these moments make a home

But cooking with little kids is crazy. So this is a six photo layout about one of those crazy cooking moments.

father & son cooking school

I guess in the end it just comes down to perspective and narrative.


PeaNut 81,992
April 2003
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Loc: Jersey

Posted: 7/8/2013 3:05:54 PM
I prefer doubles but finds self doing singles because I like using sketches and being inspired by process videos etc. but I am trying to get my mojo back on doubles

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PeaNut 577,699
January 2013
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Posted: 7/8/2013 6:50:24 PM
I scrap almost EVERY.SINGLE. PICTURE I take! I do a variety of double pages & single pages & everything that isn't "great enough" to warrant a full blown layout goes into a divided page protector. It's ridiculous but at the end of the day I'm happy that I've got all those pics in albums
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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 395,153
October 2008
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Loc: Here

Posted: 7/8/2013 6:58:32 PM
I have a lot of one photo LOs, but I also have a lot with 2 or 3 or more photos. It really depends on what the memory I'm scrapping calls for. If I'm trying to fit a full weekend trip on one LO, then one photo is probably not going to cut it! Plus usually SO and I have to take pics of each other instead of being in one together, so then I include at least one photo of each of us from whatever we're doing.

Formerly K-B8123


PeaNut 494,372
January 2011
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Loc: Wisconsin

Posted: 7/8/2013 7:33:07 PM
I scrap both one photo on a page as well as several and everywhere in between. Like another poster said, it is about the narrative and...
I have a page in my gallery from about 17 mo. ago. It has a single b/w photo of my younger two. My daughter is holding her little brother and has a huge smile on her face. That moment captured is one of my favorites and tells the story very well without extra photos (besides the fact that is the only photo of that moment). I agree it is a page by page, story by story deal. My last single page not yet loaded - 12 photos in a collage. It just all depends.
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Scrapn Nana
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PeaNut 272,954
August 2006
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Posted: 7/8/2013 8:09:17 PM
I take a lot of really good photos. I see no reason to narrow it down to just one. And rarely is one photo going to represent the whole story. Once in awhile, maybe, but I would rather include all the photos that I want.

I much prefer to have multiple photos on a two page spread in my albums rather than one picture surrounded by lots of product. If your goal is to be artsy, then one photo might be plenty. Mine is to chronicle our family history in a pleasing way, using all the pictures that I love.

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PeaNut 565,879
September 2012
Posts: 263
Layouts: 5
Loc: Michigan

Posted: 7/8/2013 8:43:08 PM
While I do make multi- photo single page layouts, I do prefer one photo layouts to tell the majority of my stories.
I'm not sure why though. Sorry, I guess I am really no help
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PeaNut 3,602
April 2000
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Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 7/8/2013 9:22:59 PM
It's important to remember that Lisa Mooresfield, the guest on Paperclipping, redid her layouts to be 5.5x8.5 from 12x12. She needs to make room for her stories and photos on a much smaller scale. She is putting an emphasis on the story over the photos and embellishments.

I take too many photos to ever print/scrap them all. I think that one photo is often enough to illustrate the story. Because it is the words that I put on the page to record memories and connections. That's why I scrap.

To me, a bunch of photos on a layout only shows what people and places looked like. Without journaling, in 10 years no one will know why I thought these photos were important enough to scrap. They'll just know those people were cute and special to me.

So I try to make sure the story is there on the page. If that means using less photos that is ok with me.

Christi in MA
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PeaNut 427,211
June 2009
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Loc: in my scraproom in PA

Posted: 7/8/2013 9:31:17 PM
When I want to get the story across and I want it to be the major part of my LO then I prefer one photo. My multiple photo pages usually house photos that tell the story and doesn't require as much journaling. That's my rule of thumb.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

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Jenny Lilac
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PeaNut 45,964
August 2002
Posts: 11,736
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Loc: Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts

Posted: 7/8/2013 9:31:57 PM
I don't think there has to be has to be one hard and fast rule for every layout or every scrapper. Sometimes I have one photo that tells the whole story, but more often I have a big pile of adorable photos. Sometimes I use them to tell the story in different ways a couple of a birthday, then when my DD turns a nice round number, her through all her birthdays, etc.

Amber Girl

PeaNut 197,200
March 2005
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Posted: 7/8/2013 9:47:18 PM
I usually do 1 photo 4x6" as a focal and. 1-2 wallet sized, or just a few wallets. That way I have enough space for journaling and embellishments. I have no difficulty selecting the 'best' photos for the page, but's impossible for me to delete photos that are not the best because I might need it in the future (but that's a different subject altogether ).

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