I was introduced to digital scrapbooking here in Dorset by my friend Linda. I had always loved the idea of scrapbooking but was annoyed with the amount of cutting and measuring involved. Not to mention all the tools and stuff you need to buy. I can't imagine having to drag everything out and put it all away every time I want to work. To go digital all you need is a photo editing program and a credit card.
I use Photoshop Elements because that's what Linda used and it seems to work well. The rest of the stuff you need, like papers and embellishments you can get on the web. You can actually accumulate alot of stuff for free, the rest you can buy. Most things are sold in packages that are theme based and are color coordinated. For example you can get 'biggie' packages that have 8 papers and dozens of embellishments for around $12.99. The site I use the most is Scrapgirls. If you sign up for their newsletter you get a 'freebie' 6 days a week. Digifree, Digishop, DS Free, Scrapbook Flair and Shabby Princess are others I've used. I'm sure there are a million more if you search for them. One secret... you can get alot of good stuff from Google Images too. Just use your quick selection tool to cut it out.
You can pretty much do anything in digital that you can do with paper and so much more. The best part, if you love a certain paper but it's the wrong color... No problem, you can change it. You can change the color of embellishments to match your picture too. Anything goes. To make things look more realistic you can add shadows and other effects to give your layouts the 3D look you'd get the old fashioned way. I would highly recommend buying Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed from the Scrapgirls Boutique. It shows you how to get started and lots of cool tricks to make great layouts.
Once you have enough layouts done you can go to a website like Shutterfly and make a photo book of your work. I'm sure there are also many photo places that do it. You can print them out yourself but if you use the traditional 12x12 layout size you'd have to have a special printer. 8x8 layouts can be printed on your regular printer.
Since starting I've become a little obsessed. I make layouts for holidays and send them to my family as cards. I'm working on a baby book for Oliver and eventually plan to do a photo book of our wedding and honeymoon pictures. So far I've used a very simple style but I look in envy at some of the layouts on the mentioned sites. Some people are doing really beautiful things and I'm learning from them. At the risk of putting my creative endeavours on trial, here are a few I'm pretty happy with.
Of course my favorite subject is my boy.
A tribute to my other boy.I used a photo for my paper in this one.
This one is a double page (12x24) layout. I couldn't get it to show any bigger here. It's one of my favorites so far.
A word of caution for my northern readers. If you have a gig allotment on your Internet service you could run up against your limit pretty quickly. I always buy and download lots when I go down south.