Mixing and Matching Photos

Here are a bunch of tips for to help you integrate your historical and older family photos with photos you’ve taken recently.


Scan the originals!  Scan those photos from the 70’s and early 80’s with their signature rounded corners.  Scan Polaroids with their easily recognizable white borders to give a page that perfect informal snapshot feel from a few decades ago.


Match your colours—use a background colour palette to match your decade—bright colours or bold patterns for the 1980’s; muted colours for the 1920’s—1940’s; some of the light greens, blues and muted reds from the 50’s.  


Use colour palettes that go well with black and white or sepia photos.  Check with relatives or remember back to the colours of clothing, wallpaper and paint, furniture, appliances and accessories from the decade you are working with.


I also like to scan maps and covers of heritage albums with their dog-eared pages and worn surfaces.  Save these in a compatible format and use them as elements on your page.  Scanning is also great for including entire mounted or cover displays from old family albums or cardboard-mounted heritage photos.  No need to take things apart to include these in your photobook.  You can also save your file then crop and re-save copies of the file in order to use details from within the larger image.  I have used this to make a family tree from a heritage photo featuring several generations of family members—be sure to save an original copy of your file before you begin working on the details pulled from the image, though!


Copycat!  Hit a thrift store and buy a few inexpensive accessories or pieces of clothing for each person participating.  Get your friends or family dressed up in period attire or throw on a few accessories, and create a photo shoot.  Aim for duplicating several of the photos you are already using in your book.  If you have a photo of siblings in the 60’s eating a picnic lunch, recreate this with your own kids.  If photos are from a school dance or prom, go take some photos with your crowd, dancing or in the same poses.  Be as silly as you like—if you have one of grandpa and dad with a fish they caught, recreate this photo but put something silly on the end of the line—or take the family fishing and get your own modern versions of the same photo.  Be sure to carefully label and name people and places in both sets of photographs so future generations will know who is who and when each set of photos was taken.

Costumes and Props
Interviewing the Star of Your Photo Book


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