How To Start Adventure Scrapbooking

A photo speaks a thousand words, especially when it comes to recalling the details of your adventures. A trip may only last for a few days, but great photos will bring back the feels for a lifetime. 

I was lucky enough to have a father who lives for scrapbooking. Since I was 16 and took my first fly fishing trip for some one on one, father daughter time, he has documented our adventures through photography, printed the photos, and arranged them in a leather-bound album with the name, location, and year printed on the front. He took time to write in where each photo was, memories that stuck out in certain photos, and any other notes he found interesting. After spending time on this over many weeks, he always gave it to me for Christmas that year. It was the gift of joy, laughter, and the memories of our adventures preserved forever through its pages. 

And while we live in the new era of the digital age where photo albums are now stored on Facebook, Shutterfly, phones, or flash drives, there is something special about having a tangible photo album. Mine all rest on the coffee table and are admired candidly whenever people come over to visit. And I always delight in answering when they ask what it is. I proudly say, “My dad made me those from all of our adventures together.”

Hopefully by now, you’re inspired enough to begin your own adventure scrapbook. Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple steps:

  1. Start from the beginning. The first photo my dad takes on our adventures is the screen at the airport gate. While cheesy, he also takes a selfie of the two of us once we arrive at our destination’s airport. If it’s a national park, he also will snap a picture of whichever ranger greets us at the park entrance. He has quite the collection now.
  2. Take candids. We have many photos and videos of: me “ugly sleeping” on airplanes, people tripping on hikes, and all of the other sort of accidents and funny moments in between. Most people are also uncomfortable when being forced to pose in front of the camera, but if you find some great natural moments without them knowing it, they usually turn out as great photos.
  3. Take photos with people in them. When out on the trails, it can become all too easy to take great photos of mountains and landscapes, but what about people? The people you’re with are what really make the trip. Try and have a nice balance between the two. My mom used to jokingly call my dad Jeremiah Johnson (great movie if you haven’t seen it) since the footage from his early years as an adventure photographer rarely ever featured humans. 
  4. Slow down. I have to always remind myself of this. Competitive by nature and very active, it’s easy for me to go into tunnel vision mode and “drop” the people I’m with. Then once the adventure is over I realize they had all of these funny and unique moments together while I was too busy forging my own path ahead. And then the adventure is over, and I realized I was too busy going fast to enjoy the beautiful, organic moments.
  5. Don’t obsess over photos. We all want to take home that perfect adventure shot, but don’t forget to be present and enjoy the experience. Take a few pictures, then put down the camera or phone for a bit. Before you move on to a new spot, review your pictures, then take a couple more if you think of any improvements, but know when to put it away. 

While scrapbooking your adventures may seem time consuming, it’s well worth it. There are very few things I would care about if my house were to go up in flames tomorrow- the few things being all of my handwritten letters from loved ones and my photo albums. They are the things that I would want my children to have one day. I hope that this small glimpse into my scrapbooks has inspired you to create the same. 

Happy Adventuring!