Making the Most of Leftover Prints

With the advent of digital photography, standard 4×6 prints are not nearly as popular as they once were. So, what do you do with the hundreds and hundreds of printed photos you have bulging out of albums, shoe boxes and manila folders?

My suggestion: Photo collages.

I am a photo collage-making maniac. Ever since I was in high school I have loved making large collages from duplicate prints. I can’t stand seeing paid prints go to waste and I get such a thrill from viewing completed collages that I make at least one of two per month.

The beauty of photo collages is that they are so easy to put together. To start simply gather any leftover prints you have lying around. It doesn’t matter if the images are random or they are all from a particular event. However, you want to make sure you have a large quantity if you plan to fill a big space. Otherwise, you can let the pictures dictate the size of your collage.

Next, sort the photos you need to crop. Since most of the photos will be overlapping, you won’t need to crop too much. However, some like to work with uniform-sized photos, so if you want a perfect composition, then you might consider cropping. Before placing the photos in their designated spots decide if you want to scan the photos and convert them to sepia or black-and-white, so the colors in the pictures don’t clash. I know many people, who desire a standardized look in their collages, so they remove the color from the images. Personally, I like the look of random colored photos mixed together in a collage.

When it comes to arranging photos to create a collage, there are a couple of techniques you can employ. First, if you are a perfectionist, who prefers a clean, contemporary look, then keep the design of your collage simple and aligned to a rough geometric grid. If you are going for a less structured look that is whimsical and daring, then experiment with other patterns by tilting and overlapping various photos.

The next step is to work from the top left hand side of the page and begin gluing down the photos. Use an acid-free glue stick to adhere the photos to the paper. Another option is to use glue dots or strong double-sided tape. Finally, consider framing the collage so that it lasts for years to come.

Related Articles:

Basic Photo Tips for Digital Camera Owners

Cameras: Knowing When To Upgrade

Telling A Story With Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.