Do you have a drawer full of photos, stickers, and other mementos you’re not really sure how to use? While 2018 has already begun, you may want to consider making a photo collage diary documenting your adventures big and small.

Want to be able to look back on your year and all the memories you’ve had? Here’s how you can!

Read on to find out how to make your own photo collage diary.

Scrapbooking 101–Getting Started on Your Photo Collage Diary

If you’re new to scrapbooking, you may think that the hobby is all about picking out ribbons and colorful tapes and getting to use all the fun papers at the craft store.

And honestly, that’s not too far off. But, you’ll also want to put some thought into your source material. What are the highlights of your day or month? Are you sticking with photos only or ticket stubs and other reminders of fun times past?

Camera Stuff

If you’re going to make a photo collage diary, you’re going to need some photos, and as such, you’re also going to need a camera.

The type of camera you use to document the year’s goings-on really depends on the activity at hand and your photography skills. And while you can use your phone for just about anything, other types of cameras have their strengths, too.

Here’s a quick look at some of your options:


It’s always with you, so you don’t need to worry about buying anything new. Maybe download some apps to improve the quality of your pics.

VSCO is a good choice–it’s easy to use and kind of like an upgraded version of Instagram. Or Snapseed. The Point is, there are tons of apps out there designed to give your phone pics a professional polish.

Now, we get that we are talking about old school scrapbooking, not some sort of digital photo diary. What we like about using your phone is–it’s an affordable way to get some great pictures, especially for the impromptu moments you just can’t plan for.

And when you’re ready to start selecting the pics that make the cut–you can always download the images to a computer and either print them out or get them printed professionally.

Digital Camera

Whether you go with a SLR or DSLR, investing in a digital cam can help you develop your photography skills while giving you the freedom to take as many pictures as you want.

While you get many of the same benefits with a digital camera as you do with your mobile phone, the benefit of a separate camera is, you have more control over the features like F-stop, balance, aperture, and more.

Digital cameras are certainly an investment, but if you want something a little more hands-on than selecting filters on your iPhone, it might be a worthwhile purchase.

Disposable Camera

You might not get the best shots, and you certainly don’t get the fun filters and editing capabilities you’ll get with a phone or a digital camera. But, disposable cameras are cheap, and you can bring them on hikes or other adventures that might ruin your phone or a nicer camera.

What’s more? After you get these developed, you’ll love looking through the snaps you took–chances are, they’ll be funnier and more candid than your average selfie.

Go Vintage with an Old Point and Shoot

Another “wildcard” so to speak — you can find vintage cameras of all kinds at estate sales and Goodwills. The benefit of picking up an old school camera is, you’ll get that old school quality without any filters.

Vintage cameras range in price from the cheap and fun cam you can bring on a freewheeling vacation, to rare statement pieces that require some careful handling. Try out different types of film and practice your photography techniques.

Our favorite part of going analog? The surprise element in getting your film developed. In an era of polished selfies and carefully edited feeds, there’s something special about relinquishing that control–something that can take your photo collage diary to the next level.


Polaroids were basically made for scrapbooking. Whether you go with the small Instax film or keep things full-size, these instant photos come with the perfect border and always add an element of cool to any photo collage diary.

While the camera itself can get a little clunky, Polaroids are the perfect accessory for your photo collage diary.

Decorating Tips for Your Photo Collage Diary

Sure, it’s your diary, do whatever you want. However, if you want to create a cohesive reflection on your year, you might want to take some of these tips to heart.

Here are some of our recommendations:

Pick a Focal Point
The focal point may cover the whole scrapbook or a single page, but you’ll want to hone in on a few elements. For example, if you’re doing one theme per page, choose your strongest photo, then accent it with papers and other embellishments.

Use Embellishments that Compliment the Photo(s)
Consider the colors in the photo and bring them out by using decorative papers (a mix of patterns and solids). An image with lots of green can be enhanced with reds or burgundies and lighter neutrals. When in doubt, consult the color wheel and accent with complementary colors.

Give Each Page a Background
Before gluing down photos and accents, you’ll want to lay the groundwork for a powerful page. This could mean you do a subtle abstract watercolor piece to accompany your gorgeous beach pics or glue down a solid, deep red to commemorate that romantic Valentine’s date. Or use a pattern that makes you happy. Again, your diary, your rules.

Don’t Forget About the Junk Drawer
It’s easy to go super crazy at the craft store. We get it–so many tiny items, fabrics, paints, stickers, oh my. Do yourself a favor and see what else you’ve got on hand. Paper clips and pipe cleaners, magazine cutouts, tissue paper–all can be repurposed to highlight your year in memories.

Get Inspired by Nature
Breathe some life into still photos and include pressed flowers alongside your images. A tangible reminder of that summer by the lake or Spring’s first bloom, a few petals here and there add some texture and interest to a page. Store dried flowers in wax paper inside a heavy book until you’re ready to glue them down.

Select Your Basic Supplies
This could be different for everyone, but, you’ll want to stock up on some go-to items that highlight the theme(s) in your photo collage diary, plus, you know, glue and scissors.

A few examples:

  • Acid-free tape and glue sticks
  • Pens, markers
  • Watercolors
  • Cardstock and patterned paper
  • Photos
  • A book or album

Either way, your choice of decor is a matter of personal taste. Keep things minimal or go all out–whatever you think best showcases your experience.

Choosing Your Photos

Less is more when it comes to photos. Think like a curator and select only the best options of the bunch.

Some guidelines:

  • Choose photos that highlight more than a basic happy face
  • Smiles are great, but your photo collage diary should capture some of the quiet, unscripted moments in your life
  • Skip the blurry shots unless the effect was intentional
  • Keep an eye out for good lighting and in-focus subjects
  • Matte photos work best, as glossy prints are prone to smudging and fingerprint marks

Deciding on a Layout

Figuring out how to best format all your photos and accents may well be the hardest part of scrapbooking.

Again, you’ll want to select a focal point before you go to town with your acid-free adhesive. Where do you want to direct the eye–if it’s a particular photo, limit the number of competing images on that page and keep the background simple.

Don’t be afraid to cut and crop! Cutting your images down or into interesting shapes can be a great way to both fit more into space and add visual interest.

Final Thoughts on Making a Photo Collage Diary

In the end, scrapbooking is all about telling a story. Your photo collage diary might tell the story of your year of traveling, or the course of your engagement, or just a year in the life of the little things that make you happy.

To recap, there are plenty of techniques you can employ, from mixing and matching digital and film photos to incorporating little mementos from the year’s best moments.

For more ideas on how to take better photos, check out our blog. We’ll look at travel destinations, selfie tips, and a whole lot more.



Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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