Introduction to digiscrapping: choosing a program

I've had a few people ask me how to get started with digital scrapbooking, so I thought I'd do a little series on it. I personally like it much better than paper scrapping. I'm able to do a much better job with it because you can always undo and change things as many times as you want. Here are some examples of what you can do on your computer.

To get started, you need four things: a program, digital scrapping kits (papers and embellishments), digital or scanned photos, and know-how.


Let's talk about the program first. There are many, many options. Here is a list of some of the most popular, with links and prices.
  • Adobe Photoshop--the most powerful program available, it packs a price--$600-$650. You can get it at a discount if you have (or are) a student. That's how we got our copy. You can really do anything with Photoshop. It's what all the pros use.
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements--a watered-down version of Photoshop, it's easier to learn and much cheaper, at about $100. You can also get this at reduced student pricing. You will probably be able to do just about anything you want with Photoshop Elements. It is very popular with digital scrappers.
  • Paint Shop Pro--Also very popular among scrappers, it costs from $70-$80. You can do almost anything in this program.
  • GIMP--This program is free! I've seen a few scrappers use it, but not many. It might be harder to learn new techniques in because there aren't as many tutorials available online, especially tutoritals directed specifically at scrappers. But it's free!

How to choose

What do I use? Adobe InDesign. It's page layout software that's used to make books and magazines and such. It has a steep learning curve, just like Photoshop, but I used to work in it eight hours a day for a year. I'm really comfortable in it, and I love the way it works. I used Photoshop sometimes and for supplementary special effects.

Which brings me to choice. How do you choose? Well, if there's a graphics program you already have or are already comfortable in, that's a good place to start. That's why I use InDesign--I love it and I'm good with it.

I've used all of these programs (but not for scrapping), and I have to say that if I had to choose between these four, I'd choose Adobe Photoshop Elements. I love Adobe products, and they work well and are supported well.

Just do me a favor. Don't use a word processor or PowerPoint. I know everyone's familiar with them, but they're not graphics programs. Your pages won't look pretty. You will likely lose resolution in your photos, and you don't want to compromise your family memories!


Next time, we'll talk about the fun part--kits! I'll leave you with a little freebie to help you get started. Click on the image or here to download. Enjoy!


  1. I love PSE (Photoshop Essentials) - I could spend hours working with it. I just need to get better at the design part of everything. I wish I was more creative and able to "see" what I want to accomplish. You are fabulous1

  2. Thank you for doing this. I am clueless, and if I am going to scrapbook, it will be digital. I will be paying attention!

  3. Thanks for the information. Now I at least know where to look to get started. I definitely can't afford that hight priced one right now. But, maybe I'll ask for one of the other ones for Christmas. :o)
    I'm looking forward to future posts on this topic.

  4. I am excited about this topic. I have done some digital scrapbooking in the past, but just got so over whelmed with the program I was using. I look forward to learning more from you and your posts about this.

  5. I love this alpha, thank you. :)

  6. I use Elements but I want to start designing more. Thanks for the alpha, super cute!

  7. I have Photoshop Elements and really like it. It is fun to play around with. I still do most of my scrapping on paper, but have done a couple layouts for shutterfly books. Thanks for the cute alpha!

  8. Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 11 Sep [LA 02:42am, NY 04:42am, UK 09:42am, OZ 07:42pm] ).

  9. I could hug you for posting this! I've been thinking I wanted to try this but had no idea where to start! Not that I need more projects to work on but I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks!

  10. I have played a little with Photoshop. I am using the Creative Memories program. I love it. Very simple. Can't design in it, I don't think. It offers layers and some photo editing.

  11. so I'm weird, I just noticed that in your banner, the house looks like it's screaming in terror... Freud would love me!

  12. Hi! My name is Jaana Säker and i am the owner of Scrapyard.se We are always looking for new designers for our site.
    I've heard that there is many swedish digiscrappers that are afraid to buy from shops not located in Sweden
    but they would love to buy products from many designers.

    Maybe you want to sell you products at Scrapyard.se also? So your swedish fans can buy it to!

    It would have been really fun if you want to sell your products at Scraoyard.se. Please contact me if you are interested.
    Best regards Jaana Säker, owner of Scrapyard.se - jaana@scrapyard.