To use templates? The templates provided by photo-book sites are quick and easy. Organizing expert Leslie McKee[A1] says, "Don't get stuck on perfect. Use the auto tools they provide, and just do it!"
Or not to use templates? Using scrapbooking sites or working with photo software to build your own layouts, you can further personalize your memory book. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your time, expertise, or commitment.
Mind your margins. Leave an extra 1/8- to 1/4-inch edge around each page, so that important parts of images or text aren't trimmed away in publishing.
Less is more. Don't be afraid of white space. Just because there is a place in a template for a photo does not mean you have to fill it. When you decide not to insert words or an image in a template, the space remains blank.
Mix and match. Professional album designer Cris Roskelley says it's fine to use both horizontal and vertical photos on the same page spread; in fact, doing so adds visual interest. Just don't use black-and-white and color photos on the same page.
Don't go crazy with fonts. Be consistent. Roskelley recommends using an easy-to-read font, such as Arial or Garamond, for your narrative and captions.
Check and double-check. Several sources reiterate the importance of proofreading your work before hitting the Submit button. Make sure you've spelled all the names and words in the captions correctly and that the picture quality is good in the size print you have chosen.
Print a trial version. Order one book to see how it turns out. Then fix any glitches and keep the (marked) original before ordering multiple copies for the grandchildren.
Be brave. Some scrapbooking Web sites intimidate newbies. However, if you take time to evaluate a few sites, do tutorials if they are offered, proceed step-by-step, and take a deep breath, you'll have fun and produce books like a pro in no time.
This article originally appeared on Grandparents.com. © Grandparents.com LLC.