Strategies for Combating Scrapper’s Block – Part 1


You are working on a layout and nothing feels right. The journaling you wanted to include doesn’t fit, the Thickers you picked out for the title don’t work, the photo arrangement looked better in your head than it does on the page.

Maybe you have a group of photos you need to scrapbook but just can’t muster up the excitement? Or worse, you haven’t created a anything in weeks.

We’ve all been there.

This is Part 1 in a series of articles I will bring to you with strategies to help get past common creativity barriers.

In today’s installment, we are going to talk about photos.

Lackluster Photos

Photos are typically the focal point of our pages and when you aren’t excited about the photos, it can throw off the entire process. Let’s look at several common problems and some of the ways we can overcome these stumbling blocks.

Seasonal/Event Photos

You have a set of photos from a birthday party that are now a year old and you still haven’t been able to scrapbook them.

What can you do?

  • Tell the story from your perspective. What was happening behind the scenes? “In these photos you can see a fun party, but what was really happening was….”
  • Change the focal point from the party to a  photo that you do like. Maybe the one where your daughter is blowing out the candles. Ask her what she was wishing for as she blew out the candles. Did that wish come true? Why or why not?
  • Limit the number of photos you use. Enlarge the best one and just create a one page layout. Sometimes we feel pressured to include every single photo we took that day. Instead, just include some divided page protectors next to the layout that includes the remaining photos.
  • Find an unrelated photo from about the same time period. Did your son get a gaming system that he had been hoping for? Find a photo from a few weeks later that shows him enjoying that gift and highlight that on the birthday layout. Use the party photos support the rest of the layout.

Bad Photos

You have a set of older photos with terrible exposure and other flaws and you can’t figure out how to scrapbook them.

What can you do?

  • Scan them and run them through a photo editor to see if you can fix them. If nothing is working, see if you can find a set of actions to use that will completely change the look of the photos. Turn it into a cartoon or watercolor or apply an Instagram effect. If you don’t have an editing program, check out It’s free. You can upload your photos and apply a variety of effects and then print them at home.
  • Shrink the photos and turn them into a photo strip. Have the focal point of the page be the journaling so that the photos are not as dominant. The photos are there, but the focus is on the story.
  • Find other photos that can represent the event or memory. A photo of your Grandam’s house or your Mom’s garden. A photo of the city where you grew up. Anything that can stand in for the bad photos. You’ll have the memory but won’t be bothered by the photos you didn’t like.
  • Create a page without photos. There is no rule that says all layouts must have photos. If the memory is important to you, document it. Find some awesome embellishments to balance out the journaling.

Photo Overwhelm

You just organized 10 years worth of older photos and are overwhelmed by what to do next.

What can you do?

  • Start slowly. Don’t look at it like it’s a mountain to climb. Pull out a few photos from a single event and create one page. Go back to your other scrapbooking. When the time is right, come back to these photos and create another page. Repeat.
  • Create a project that will allow you to pair a photo with a random memory, like my Childhood Memory Box. You’ll create a framework and know where all the photos will go, so it takes off some of the pressure to just get it done.
  • Try to pull out some “themes” throughout the years. Create a hairstyles layout with 6 photos from different time periods, or all the homes you lived in over 30 years, or a group of photos from various family gatherings over the years. See if you can find common threads among the collection. The more photos you pull out in this way, the less you have to scrapbook overall.
  • If you really want to get through the pile quickly, consider creating a photo album scrapbook to house these photos. Check out Stacy Julian’s article Photo Album Scrapbooks *10 Tips* for ideas to create your own.

I hope that this helps you start to think through some common scrapper’s block issues caused by photos. Do you have any scrapper’s block issues you’d like help with? Or, do you have any great ways to bust through scrapper’s block? Please share in the comments or email me. I may feature your challenges or ideas in a future article!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!


  1. Great tips! I love that befunky site. Lots of fun projects you could do with that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tips!

  3. Great start to the series! It is so true, if the photos are not inspiring me, it is hard to get going.

  4. So, so true! It is way hard for me to be inspired by year old photos. Awesome tips today, can’t wait for the rest of your series!

  5. Great ideas Tammy. Sometimes we just need a little nudge or inspiration to get past the block.

  6. These are some great tips Tammy.
    Thanks for sharing them 🙂



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