Different Size Photos on a Layout

Hi There! Using different size photos on a scrapbook layout brings focus to important elements of the story.  Today we’ll explore the pros of using photos in a variety of sizes on a single scrapbook layout.

The 4×6 Rut

Scrapbook Layout from Scraps

For a long time, I thought that all the photos on my scrapbook layout had to be 4×6 in size.  After all, 4×6 is a standard photo size, so that’s the one to use.  Of course there are 5×7 or 8×10 enlargements, but those are for special photos.  Also, when I uploaded photos to print at a lab, 4×6 was the available option.  So that’s the size to use, right?  Well, maybe, just maybe there are other options.

The Problem with Only Using 4×6 Photos

While it is easy to fall into the 4×6 rut, there are several reasons to break free.

Not All Pictures have the Same Importance in a Story

Stamping embellishments for a scrapbook layout.

When all the photos are the same size, they all have the same importance which isn’t the case when telling a story.  None of the pictures stand out unless you do something to highlight a particular photo.  You can double mat or have more embellishment clusters around one photo, but the result is not as effective as using different size photos.

Cluttered Layouts

Combining Paper Lines on a Scrapbook Layout

I developed a number of ways to get three or four 4×6 photos on a single layout, however they always looked a bit cluttered.   Additionally, my layouts took on a formula look, as there are only so many ways you can get three or four 4×6 photos on a 12×12 layout.

Huge Albums

Double Page Layout

To combat the cluttered look, or when I had too many photos from an event I created a double page spread.  My need for double page spreads kept increasing, as my photography improved leading to multiple large albums each year.  Where to put them all!

Breaking Free and Using Different Size Photos

The solution to my problems was to break free of my notion that every photo on my layout has to be 4×6.  Do I still use 4×6 photos?  Sure, and I use them often, however I also use a variety of other smaller sizes too.

Why Using Different Size Photos Works

Using different size photos on my layouts helps me to tell the story more clearly and often on only one page.  Also, I can highlight various aspects of the day by selecting which photos are large and which are smaller.

When There are a Lot of Photos

Black and White photos on a scrapbook layout.Okay, I’m a shutter bug and I admit it!  I come home from a vacation with a few thousand photos.  No joke!  And I have to edit them down to just a couple key ones.  Sometimes I just can’t tell the whole story in 2 or 3 images.  Before I did multiple layouts.  Now, I use different size photos.

Story Telling with Different Size Photos

Different size photos

Usually, the main subject of the story is a larger print, with the supporting elements smaller.  However, sometimes I use a larger photo to give an overall view of what is happening, and a smaller one to bring focus to a particular aspect of the day I want to highlight.  That’s the case with this layout.  The photo that really tells the story is the smaller one.  It shows the emotion and focus my friend has when photographing.  By using an inset closeup style on this layout the focus is on the smaller photo.

How to Obtain Photos of Various Sizes

The most common solution is to print the photos yourself.  However, you can still use a lab that only prints 4×6 photos, then crop them.

Printing at Home

There are tons of great photo printers, all of which have software that will allow you to easily pick the size of the photo you want to print.  I have tried several over the years and my favorite is the Canon PIXMA Pro-100.  It prints on paper as small as 4×6 and as large as 13″ x 19″.  It’s compact and easy to use.  And the best part is that it comes with easy to use software that prints photos in a variety of sizes.  The image quality is wonderful.  The images have both great color and crisp lines.

Printing at a Lab

There are plenty of places to upload and print photos, or to bring in your card to print on site.  The smallest photo the labs in my area will print is a 4×6.  If that is the case for you, then simple take photos with more room around the subject, and crop the photo using a paper cutter.  Cropping allows you to both remove unwanted background area and have different size photos to crop.

The Layout

Different size photos

This layout is a great example of how using different size photos help to tell the story.  The larger picture sets the scene, while the smaller one shows the focus my friend has when creating images.

These photos were take the same day as the layout of me photographing the ducks, and the two will be adjacent in my album, so I used the same style paper and embellishments.

Different size photos

This close up of the layout shows his focus and illustrates that the main subject of a layout can be the smaller photo.  While not often the case, here it works because I used an inset style when placing them on the page.  The smaller photo is a closeup photo of his face, which draws your eye to the smaller photo.  Next, your eye travels to the larger photo for context.

Different size photos

The camera and feather embellishment used on the adjacent layout work well on this one, as this is all about the photographer and his relationship with his camera.

Different size photos

A camera and 2 feathers in the top left corner finish off this layout.

Here is the layout that will be on the facing page of my album.  Don’t they coordinate nicely!

This blog post part of a series of posts about drawing and painting your own scrapbook paper and embellishments.  You can see the other posts here.

Happy Scrapping!


Supplies Used

Below are the scrapbook products I used on this layout.  To make them easy for you to find, I have linked each of the items below.  I personally selected all of the products used in this project.  All products were purchased by me.  As always, I am not receiving a payment for doing this project or writing these blog posts.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting my blog at no cost to you.

Watercolor Paint
Loew-Cornell - Simply Art - Watercolor Paint Cakes - 36 Pack

Fluid Easy-Block Watercolor Paper Blocks

Strathmore 200 Series Watercolor Paper Student Pad

Ranger Ink - Artist Brushes - 7 Pack

Indian Ink Pen
Faber-Castell Mix and Match Collection Pitt Artist Pens Essential 4 Piece Set

Mechanical Pencil
Zebra Eco Jimnie Clip Mechanical Pencil

Prismacolor Magic Rub Eraser

Fiskars - Our Finest Scissors Collection - Number 5 Stitcher Scissors

Storage Container

Pen and Brush Case
Alvin Nylon Utility Bags

Foam Sheets

Spellbinders - 6 x 6 White Craft Foam Sheets - Platinum Pack 7

Pop Dots

Forever in Time - 3D Pop Dots - Double Sided Adhesive - 1/4 Inch - Round

Craft Mat

Fiskars Paper Trimmer

Paper Piercing Tool

Tonic Studios - Tim Holtz - Non-Stick Micro Serrated Scissors

Double Sided Tape

Scotch Quick Dry Glue

My Favorite Travel Camera

My Favorite Travel Lens

Favorite Printer

My Favorite Waterproof Camera


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