How to Update Your Photo Legacy With an Expanded Hybrid Album

If you love viewing and sharing your pictures in photo albums, do any of these scenarios describe you?

You have shelves full of bulky scrapbooks.

You’d like to add to a forgotten photo album left unfinished.

You made a scrapbook or photo album for a family member, but now you want to update it with current pictures and stories.

If so, I’ve got the perfect answer for you! It’s called a hybrid album, and I guarantee it’s going to open up all kinds of creative possibilities for you.

You create a hybrid album when you take an older photo album or scrapbook (whether it is six months or six years old) and combine it with new, updated images and stories to create a brand new album.

Step One: Create Image Files of Your Scrapbook Pages

Because you’ll be making a new album with your older scrapbook pages as a base, you will need scanned or photographed images of those older pages. You’ll upload these scanned images into an album creation program later.

Scanning your scrapbook pages is easiest, and produces the highest quality images.You can scan smaller albums on a regular size home printer/scanner. If your current album or scrapbook is the typical 12” x 12” size, then you’ll need a large format, flatbed scanner.

These scanners can be quite expensive, so you may decide you want to outsource this job if you have a large number of 12” x 12” pages to scan. Get in touch with us if you’d like us to scan your scrapbook albums for you.

Instead of scanning, you could also take high resolution photos of each scrapbook page with a quality digital camera. To get the best possible photos, make sure you have good lighting to minimize glare from glossy photos. You’ll also need to place your camera directly above and parallel to your album page. Here’s a helpful book with tips on staging and photographing your album pages (or other photos).

Before you begin scanning or photographing your pages, remove any protective plastic or paper sleeves. To protect your scanner from scratches, It’s also a good idea to check for dried glue or glitter on your pages.

When you’re all done scanning or photographing, check to see if your images need additional cropping or straightening.

Step Two: Decide on the Finished Album Format You Want

Before you create your new hybrid album, you’ll need to choose the format of your book. You have a few different options, and the choice you make will determine your new page layout styles.

Book Bound Format
A lay-flat book bound album includes single sheet spreads, printed on sturdier paper that lays flat when the book is open. Your photos and text won’t get lost in the “gutters” of the pages, but albums are limited to 100 sides.

Lay-flat book bound album

A standard or magazine photo book only allows for single page design, no full page spread layouts. But this format gives you the option for an album with a larger number of pages.

Magazine style book bound album

Photo service companies print and assemble these two formats in-house.

Post Bound Format
A post bound album is a book held together by removable posts and screws. These are great for continuing projects, because your album can grow.

Post bound albums can get bulky, though. If you’re creating a hybrid album because you want a thinner version of a scrapbook to share, we recommend using a magazine or lay-flat style.

Post Bound Album
This post bound album expands by removing pins and screws and adding more pages.

Step Three: Bring Your Scanned Images Into an Album Design Program

One way to create your own hybrid album is to build page layouts in an application like Adobe InDesign, then send your complete design to a photo album publisher. To do this, you’ll need extensive working knowledge of InDesign and the page specifications provided by the album publisher.

If Adobe InDesign feels too technical to you, an easier method is to create a new album with an online photo company like MPix or Shutterfly.

Each company has their own features, but with Shutterfly, be sure to choose the “Custom Path” photo book which will allow you to resize photos, move text boxes, and add your own embellishments.

Once you create your account on one of these websites, upload all of your scanned page images, and place each image on separate blank pages in your album. You can go on to customize those pages before creating additional album pages with your new pictures.

One important tip about album size: If your older album pages are 12” x 12,” you can decrease your new album page size but you’ll want to keep the dimensions square. MPix does not offer 12” x 12” albums, but you can create a 10” x 10” album instead.

Step Four: Create New Pages

If you’re using an online album company, it’s easy to create new pages on their websites. After you upload your new photos, go back to the album you started and format the blank pages in your album.

The great thing about a hybrid album is that you can mix spreads with a combination of old and new. One side is the scanned image of a scrapbook page next to a page you create with photos you’re adding to the new album. See our examples below for an idea.

Page Design
Begin by choosing a photo layout, then drop in your pictures. As you build your new pages, we suggest following the themes and colors of your original scrapbook pages as much as possible. MPix and Shutterfly have a large selection of backgrounds, clipart, fonts, and photo borders similar to those you may have used to create your original album.

Hybrid Page Sample 1

Hybrid Page Sample 2
These “hybrid” page spreads include a scanned image of a scrapbook page next to a page created with an added photo and text box.

The album software you use will also prompt you to design a cover for your album. The cover layout includes spaces for photos, or a single wrapped photo, on both the front and back cover.

Now your new hybrid album is ready to print! Before you hit the order button, we suggest you review your album a couple of times, double checking photos for alignment and text boxes for spelling, etc.

If you are creating individual pages for a post bound album, import each page file to a photo center like Costco. Print your pages on a high quality cardstock paper in the dimensions of your album pages, then slide two printed sides, front and back, inside a sleeve or pocket.

Visit this previous post for more photo album creation tips.

Continue Telling Your Family’s Story with New Hybrid Albums

Your family photo legacy continues, so why not create new albums that keep the story going?

And if you’re reaching into the past, you can add newly discovered family history photos to albums you’ve already completed by creating a new hybrid album.

With today’s easy-to-use photo book technology, you can replace your bulky scrapbooks with slim, hybrid albums. Then while you’re at it, print extra copies to share with family members.

Let us know if you’d like help creating a hybrid album. We think it’s a wonderful way to expand your family’s photo legacy.

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