Step 1. What’s the story?

You’re trying to tell a story. Whether it’s for your parents’ 50th anniversary, or your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah or your son’s Graduation, there’s a story you’re crafting.

Just as a story book is divided into chapters, your Scattered Pictures (R) Video Album is also organized by Chapters.

The storyline can be CHRONOLOGICAL … For example, for a Wedding Anniversary:

  • Chapter 1 – Wife with her family of origin, before marriage
  • Chapter Organization

  • Chapter 2 – Husband with his family of origin, before marriage
  • Chapter 3 – Dating and wedding photos
  • Chapter 4 – Mom & Dad and young children
  • Chapter 5 – Mom & dad at kids graduation, vacations

Or the storyline can be THEMATIC… For example for a Sweet 16 Birthday:

  • Chapter 1 – The birthday girl, from birth to teenager
  • Chapter 2 – Family – siblings, cousins, grandparents
  • Chapter 3 – Sports / athletic activities
  • Chapter 4 – Friends – preschool, neighbors, summer camp, high school, prom night

Or the storyline can be Both Chronological and Thematic

For example right now we are doing a video album for a 21st birthday:

  • Chapter 1 – Baby/Toddler Years
  • Chapter 2 – School Years
  • Chapter 3 – Son and Mom (feeding baby, 1st halloween, birthday party, picnic)
  • Chapter 4 – Son and Dad (teaching him to ride bike, at Red Sox game, at golf)
  • Chapter 5 – Music Concerts (violin recitals, awards, music summer camp)
  • Chapter 6 – Smogasboard (birth to 21 years old sampler)

You’re starting to see, there’s no right and wrong way of breaking up the story into chapters.  It’s your story.  Sometimes, it’s also influenced by the photos you have.  Your camera was out of commission all through child’s elementary school years, hey, there won’t be a chapter on that.

At the end of this step, you should have a list of your chapter organization:

  • Chapter 1 – ?
  • Chapter 2 – ?
  • Chapter 3 – ?
  • Chapter 4 – ?

Once you have your Chapter Outline, it’s time to choose your photos.  For each chapter, choose 25 photos and a song to go with the photos.

Step 2 – Tips on Choosing Photos

Step 3 – Songs Suggestions

Step 2. Choose Photos

Once you have the Chapter Outline for your video album, the next step is to select photos for each chapter.
Photos can be in any format: hardcopy Kodak prints, 35mm slides, oversized class photos, digital SD cards, or scrapbook pages. We’ll scan them to digital images for your video album.

Each chapter needs 25 photos. There are several reasons we limit each chapter to 25 photos.

  1. 25 photos is around how long most songs are
  2. Less is More. Keep the story tight, too many photos make it drag.
  3. The best of the best. When you can only choose 25 photos, you get very picky.  You find the best of the best.

How to mark the order of  your photos?

  • Most of our clients have a specific order they’d like their photos presented in the show.  How best to mark the sequence number on the photos?
  • Sort the photos, lay them out in sequence before you write the sequence number on them.
  • Write on the back of the photos with great care – gently and lightly.
  • Use a China Marker also called a grease pencil (under $2 at Staples).  If you don’t have access to a China Marker, use a dull pencil.
  • Make sure the writing is completely dry, non smudgeable, before you stack the photos.
  • Please do not use yellow sticky – they come off easily, and also jams up our scanner.
  • When you have all 25 photos for each chapter, put them in an envelope or a sandwich bag labelled with the chapter number.

Next: Choose a song to accompany the photos


Step 3. Songs Suggestions

Each album chapter needs one song about 2 to 4 minutes in length. The background song is very important – it’s what makes the mood.  Look at your CD, iTunes collection, your favorite playlists, ask around, take your time, and pick that very special song that describes the sentiment for that chapter. Listen to the energy level of the song, does it match the photos, the theme of the chapter? Listen to the lyrics, any parts that make you cringe? Do you prefer a particular singer for that song?

After you have chosen a song for each chapter, it’s time to craft your Opening Title and Closing Title.

Below are song suggestions to get you started:.
If you have a CD with the song you want, bring the CD. If not, we will download it from iTunes on your behalf.

Songs for the Bride

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Songs for the Groom

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Love Songs

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Love Songs 2

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Anniversary Songs

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Birthday / Graduation / Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah Songs

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Memorial Tribute

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Step 4. Opening & Closing Titles

After you’ve come up with a chapter outline, gathered the photos, picked out the songs, the next step is to craft an opening and a closing message for the video album.

After going through the photos and songs, an opening title could just pop up in your head … Or it could take a lot more thought and discussion with your loved ones. Think of them as a Video Greeting Card, or a written, personal sentiment.

They can be a sentimental message, a quote or a catch phrase that has meaning to the recipient, or as as simple as “Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom & Dad”. Several Bar/Bat Mitzvah video albums simply have the boy or girl’s full name as the opening title.

Think of the closing message like how you would sign a card.

We play the first song behind the opening message, and the last song behind the closing message.
Do stay under 50 words so the title doesn’t take up too much of the opening song or the closing song.

Below are some examples to get you started ….

Opening Titles Ideas

Benjamin William Shriver
Congratulations, You Did It!
We are so proud of the young man you have become …
Here’s to Another 20 years of the Great Adventure

Closing Titles Ideas
We love you Ben, Mom, Dad & Tracy
Ben, we are so proud of you. Mom, Dad & Tracy
You’ve got what it takes, Ben. Good Luck!
Have a Wonderful Retirement.
Congratulations on Your Retirement.
You’ll Always Be In Our Heart ….

Call Us for an Appointment

When you have come up with your chapters, gathered your photos, selected a song for each chapter, and decide on the opening and closing messages, it’s time to meet with our Scattered Pictures designer. Call us at (617) 332-3300 and make an appointment.

What To Expect At The Appointment
Included in the package price is 30 minutes of pre-production time. At that time, we’ll go over any questions or special requests that you may have, and make sure that there is an appropriate amount of music for the number of images in each chapter. If you are stumped on music, we will make some suggestions for you, and be happy to play you a few of them to make sure it’s the right choice. If you need more time after the first 30 minutes of free design consultation, additional creative consulting is available at a rate of $50 per half hour.

What Happens If You’re Feeling A Little Overwhelmed?
It’s not uncommon to feel a little overwhelmed in putting your Scattered Pictures together. In some cases, this can be a very emotional undertaking and it’s not always easy to decide which photos to use, or what would be an appropriate song to go along them.

If you would like help in organizing your video album (there are just too many photos to choose from and music in not necessarily your forte), then creative consulting is available. During this process, we will work with your very closely in putting together video photo album. Creative Consulting is based on an hourly fee of $100.

We look forward to working with you!