Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team

Today’s post is by Zakirah Zakaria. 

I feel like I’ve been on creative teams since I first began scrapping. I don’t remember NOT being on creative teams. It’s such a part of my scrapping life , that NOT being on one would feel strange to me now. For me, this hobby is not complete without Creative Team activities.

I’ve worked with many designers since I started digiscrapping in 2008. Some have retired, and some have moved to different stores than where they began. Some scrappers stopped scrapping after a few years to focus on other responsibilities, and some scrappers have evolved and become designers.

But what stays the same is the spirit of friendship in this community. And since we scrappers often scrapbook about our family, when we scrapbook long enough, we can see other scrappers’ kids grow up right in front of our eyes.

Isn’t it amazing? I think this is one of the best hobbies in the world because it doesn’t just benefit us scrappers. It also benefits our families (or at least, that’s what I believe in).

Even as a rookie scrapper a few years ago, I admired Traci’s designs from afar. Traci has always had some of the best scrappers in the industry in her team. She has an eye for spotting talent, so when I was picked to be on this amazing team, I was thrilled. I had thought that I was a decent scrapper; but not a well-known, multi-talented scrapper like many others who applied. And I thank Traci for giving me this opportunity to learn from the cream of the crop.

Six years of being on creative teams has taught me a lot. It has shaped me into the scrapbooker that I am right now. And I’d like to share with you the top 7 things that I’ve learned from being on a creative team.

1. Inspiration is everywhere, if you look for it.

Scrapping every week isn’t something that I do when I’m not on a creative team. It’s hard enough to get at least 2 layouts a month when I’m solo!

But by being on a CT, I’ve agreed to scrap week after week. So to keep my promise of only delivering the best layouts to my designers, I have to keep myself inspired.

I do this by opening my mind when I look around and get inspiration from even the unlikeliest places, like:

  • sign boards
  • pillow cases
  • clothes
  • flower arrangements
  • wall decorations

And – don’t forget – the usual suspects for inspiration:

Here’s a spread from BHG Do-It-Yourself magazine earlier this summer that caught my attention. Inspiration really is everywhere!

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

2. Organize, organize, organize.

It’s easy to just grab any pictures and slap them on a layout when trying to meet a deadline, but that is really no fun. And in my case, I’d usually end up with a meaningless layout (although maybe, it’d look pretty). So how do you make sure that you scrap about important things/events in your life while still keeping yourself on top of your layout deadlines?

Well, it takes a little organization.

What I do is make sure that I have the photos that I want to scrap in a ‘Photos to Scrap’ folder. It’s not the most organized folder in my computer (in fact, there’s 450+ photos in there right now!), but it keeps me on top of my personal scrapping goals while meeting my deadlines.

Of course you can keep your ‘Photos to Scrap’ folder organized, like using these these free folders from Kirsty which will keep your photos organized by week.

Here’s a peek into my folder:

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

3. No photo? No problem!

When I don’t have photos to scrap, but I want to scrap an event or idea anyway, I will go photo-less.

Now, with so many journaling cards on the market, you can use them as a title, wordart or just an embellishment to strengthen your journaling. Scrapping photo-less used to be so foreign to me, but after trying it out a few times, I’ve grown to like it and I think that it can be great therapy – like when you scrap a bad memory or feeling.

If you’d like to learn more about scrapping without photos, there’s a great post on the blog here and some layout examples here.

And here’s a great photo-less layout by Gemma Crean using Like A Boss by Traci & Amanda Yi.

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

4. Schedule time for scrapping. Seriously!

When I first started CTing, I didn’t have a scrapping schedule. I’d squeeze it in whenever I had time. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t afford to do it anymore because that approach sapped my creativity. I’d always lose my mojo fast when I didn’t have a scrapping schedule.

Now, 6 years down the road, I put scrapping into my calendar, just like a doctor’s appointment. Since Sweet Shoppe’s release day recently moved to 6pm Friday EST, I scrap on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays Malaysian Time (which is 12 hours ahead of EST). This way, my brain gets used to being creative on those scrapping days (when creativity is needed the most) and have the time to recharge on non-scrapping days.

5. Keep telling your stories.

I used to scrap without journaling a lot. I’d just mark my layouts with the details of the photo (like date & place). But with time, I found those kind of layouts lacking a story. So now, I try to journal on every page that I make because to me, when I scrap a page without a journaling, then how can my future generation know the story that I want to tell on my scrapbooks?

Of course, there are pages that don’t need a lot of journaling or none at all, but most of the time, I find that I love a page more when it has journaling on it.

Here’s a journaling-focused layout I did using Alpha Male by Traci & Brook Magee.

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

6. Photo editing makes a difference.

Sometimes a photo looks bland in its original, unedited form, but when edited, it makes a page pops and more powerful.

It could be just small, simple edits like adjusting contrast, brightness and saturation, or a complete makeover like a vintage filter. Whatever that suits the mood & story that you want to tell in your page.

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

I personally like to process my photos in CameraBag 2 app before adding them to my pages. I know some scrappers swear by Lightroom & PS photo actions (like RadLab), but they can be pricey, and CameraBag 2 offers almost the same features at a more affordable price. It’s also light and speedy, which is super important for a scrapper (like me!) who owns a 5-year-old Macbook.

7. Make use of your social media trail.

I like to document the dates of the photo that I scrap on my page. I realize some people don’t really bother about that, but to me, it’s important. However, sometimes I just don’t have the date on hand. Sometimes during the exporting process, I forgot to turn on the “Export with EXIF data” thing (this usually happens when I export from some apps on my iPhone).

Top 7 Things Learned From Being On a Creative Team by Zakirah for Traci Reed Designs

Luckily though, my social media trail could be helpful. I might have posted the photo somewhere like on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. So before you decide that the photo can’t be scrapped because of the missing date, check your social media accounts for a clue. Or just put the year of the photo as a documentation. To me, as long as there’s a year, month or day, it’s good enough.

Well, that’s the top 7 things I’ve learned from being on a creative team. What about you? Have you learned other things that I did not list in this post? Share with us in the comments below so we could all learn from our experiences! Thank you so much for reading <3

zakirahAbout the Author: Zakirah lives in Malaysia and is her family’s storyteller As a result, she loves to journal on her pages so that her family memories can be remembered after she’s gone. Her main scrapping goal for 2014 is to complete Project Life digitally and have her pages printed as a photobook at the end of the year.

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