Tips For Journaling On Your Photos

Tips For Journaling On Your Photos

Continuing our foray into journaling this month, I wanted to chat with you about something that might seem a little tricky to do, but really isn’t: journaling on your photos. Sometimes we have a picture that we’d like to incorporate into our scrapbook pages that deserves to stand alone; it warrants a full page, all by itself.  However, what if there’s a story behind the photo, or some little detail that isn’t obvious that you feel a need to explain or document? We’re not talking about adding a journaling card, a tab or a sticker. We’re talking about digitally writing directly on your images. Maybe you have a group of photos and there’s, literally, no space left on the page on which to write anything. Let’s look at two tricks (yes, just two simple tips!) that you can deploy to starting journaling on your photos.


What is it about journaling directly on our photos that has us questioning whether it is something we can – or should – be doing? I mean, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to slap a title across a picture, or blend one in. Just look at these examples from my own scrapbook pages.




These are both pages that I love, but there’s nothing to indicate when the photos were taken, or why. I didn’t even date them!


How about we start with something simple: small notations on a photo. This isn’t your full-story journaling, but adding notes for explanation can be a fun – and easy – way to add story-telling elements directly onto your pictures.


This page was one of many that documented a family trip to Sydney, Australia. You’ll see that on the photo I’ve chosen to identify some of the landmarks in the scene. Sure, I could have simply mentioned them the journaling block under the photo, but if you’ve never been to Sydney, would you be able to identify everything? Perhaps the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, which are iconic Australian landmarks, but what about Fort Denison?


Tip #1 – Placement


Where you put your journaling on the photo is important. You want it to stand out and be visible, but not distract from the photo itself; it should complement the image. I find that journaling on areas that are less-busy, like a solid color, work best.


Let’s look at another example.



Once again, placement is key. My journaling or notation here, “Definitely a face only a mother could love,” would have less meaning or impact if I’d added it to the bottom of the page. By placing it close to the scribbled circles, the two elements are connected.


Tip #2 – Color


Picking a color for your journaling font might seem like a no-brainer, but it is still an important thing to consider in your creative process.



In this page, I used white for my journaling, which provided the contrast I needed against the black backdrop.  Although I used a blue for my title, that would not have worked for the journaling, which has less presence on the layout. Similarly, had I tried to use the color picker to select a green from the papers, or a gold/yellow from the skyline, the impact would not have been the same. On a side-note, see how placement plays a role here, too? The lower left corner of the page was dead space on the photo, and the perfect place for journaling.


With the previous layout, True Love, making my text red tied the layout together – and in this instance white or even black would not have been as effective.  White would have worked for the scribbles, but the text would have been on that light grey of the photo and blended away.  Conversely, black would have worked for the journaling, but the circles would have been lost on the image seeing as though my dog has a lot of black in her.


There are other things to consider when journaling on a photo, like your font selection and size (you don’t want anything too busy or overpowering), but placement and color will be your starting point … and once you get started, well, the digital-sky’s the limit!  You could start small by adding names, dates, and other key information. From there, branch out to a sentence or two.  Before you know it, you’ll be journaling paragraphs!  Look at this page from a scrapper friend of mine, Carrie –



Isn’t this awesome? Carrie has carefully chosen the placement of her journaling to fill in the space at the bottom of the photo (and I love that she followed the shape of the rock, too). The darker background of the rock provides good contrast with the white text for the journaling. Placement and color. Easy.


Experiment. Have fun! Start small with adding a few details and when you have “that” photo, the one that you’d love to showcase all by itself, give journaling on your photos a try.


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One comment

  • Christa File April 25, 2017   Reply →

    Great tips Kat!! I love your photos of Sydney.. how exciting! Great idea of writing on the photos.. I have on occaision in my layout pages, but if you look through old photo albums maybe of a parent they always wrote on the photos or on the edges… Those old photo albums with the photo corners… this is really cool to bring this back. I love the font you chose too. Great pages and Carrie’s page too is really cool! Thanks for the tips!!

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