On my favorite english forum, we discussed from photos to layouts, and I decided to share my contribution here also, as it was already written.
First, let me say that I know that I am quite weird about how I plan all of this! But my method makes things easy FOR ME, as I need things to be organized...
I am a very bad photographer and I don't really like to take photos, I only take them to have memories, so usually, when I have photos, that means I wanted to remember something, a particular story (or of course, one of the traditional event like Christmas).
Here is a recent Christmas layout that I hadn't share yet:
So here is how I do:
1- Browsing my photos and figure which stories I want to tell (not really BIG stories, often the first times of my children, or important events like birthdays...).
2- Adding the prettiest photos (not a lot, sadly...) without story in mind.
3- Trying to figure which size to choose for them: this used to be the hard part: even if I know what I like to scrap, it's hard to try to have assorted sizes... but last time, I decided to find sketches that might work for my photos, and to use that to choose my sizes! It was such a brilliant idea. I used Scrapbook Generation ones, but next time, I will try PageMaps ones, I think (both have photo sizes on their sketches).
I absolutely NOT want to follow the sketch EACH time when I will scrap these photos, but this is a great way to have assorted sizes (I like to have various sizes to have different layouts). Or course, I keep the sketch with the photos for future reference if needed.
4- In the same time, making a list of the layouts I plan to do with these photos (in chronologic order) for each of my children + my "anything goes" album. (More about my layouts list here: http://isbahashome.blogspot.fr/2014/01/how-do-you-organize-your-photos-in-your.html)
5- Figuring my titles (and so the idea of the story) at this time. As my titles are pretty simple, this is often my definitive title, even if it sometimes changes. When I have no story, the title is usually about the event of the season (for the pretty photos).
6- Adding the dates to my digital list of future layouts. Time saver!
7- Editing the photos (reframing/croping/light/red eyes + weight of the photo, if I don't downsize it to 6 x 4, my internet connections can't support batch online sending!)
8- TRYING to write my journaling ahead. I don't like my layouts without journalings, and it's also the favorite part of my family, but I really don't like to write them and always let it to later when scrapbooking (later usually means... never) if not made ahead.
I never know what to say! I am afraid to repeat things I already said and forget others. So making them ahead works for me.
It helps me to have a better view of the "big story" of my child life, it's easier to add the little stories in the big story, and I really love the chronologic story of my albums.
When I read my children their albums, it's like the story of their life, the journalings with the little things they used to say or do make these past moment alive, it's magic!
I am aware it is a weird way, and it probably doens't work for from the heart journalings, but mine aren't like this, so it's possible to make them in "batches".
I keep the little things they say in a day-to-day notebook (I only write in it 3/4 times a month, actually...) that is a huge help to write my journaling. My journaling are usually very short.
But very often, the journalings and the photos doesn't really match. For example, I have a really great serie of photos with my youngest child playing with a new toy. Well, there isn't a lot to say about that, he was happy to play with it, and his brothers wanted to try also the sounds of the toy, but of course, he didn't let them. Nothing really fancy.
BUT in my notebook, I noted some time ago how my child (18 mo) was in his "no no" period, and how he reacted when we said NO to him, with funny details (you know, 18 mo...). So I had my journaling, see?
I started to talk about that, his no-no period, and then I finished by "This one day, daddy brought you a new toy and of course, you didn't let your brothers playing with it" (well, it's hard to translate in english, but you get the idea!).
I feel that the first part (the no-no period) brings more interest to the second part (what happens on the photos). I often build my journalings this way. I think this kind of journalings is really great to read in family, my children love to hear this kind of stories!
9- Then, when I receive my photos, I use my trimmer to crop them (as I usually put several smaller photos on a 6 x 4 one to save money), I sort them and I store everything in the right album, each photos series with its journaling (with title and date) in its own pocket at its future place. I use post-bounded albums because I don't like the ring ones, but doing things that way, with the to-do layouts in their right place, doesn't ask to remove and store things again and again.
(And I also figured that if something happened to me, my family would still have the photos and the journalings in the right place -I'm sure my husband would keep them as this is our family life).
10- Finally, I have only the fun part left: choosing the scrapbooking stuff, the design of the layout (or I can use the sketch if I want but not required! Sometimes, I don't use all the photos I printed, even if I usually do), and making the layout! No dates to look for (if I switch on the computer, chances are that I will get suck in internet abysses!!), no journaling to write, no headaches to figure what story (or photos) to scrap...
I absolutely don't scrap in chronogic order, though. I love challenges, and when I find a challenge I like, I browse through my albums to find a photo series that could work with it. It works well for color palettes, sketches, and kits too (because the final layouts won't be side by side)!
Here is the kit I put together, inspired by February Counterfeit Kit (as usual, most of the embellishments are homemade):
And some close-up:
But sometimes, I looked through my albums to see what layouts I still didn't make and I try to make them to "finish" an album.
I used to always plan like this, since I started to scrap... I only made my system better. I need organization and things planned to feel free for creative and relaxing time. I know it's weird and could be felt like a chore. It is.
But that means that then, there is no more chore in my real scrapbooking time, and I really like how my final albums are, they are like a big story and not only a following of little moments without connections and with big gaps.
Even when I don't have a great photo of a moment/event, I still use what I have if I really want this little story in my album...
And now, I added my "month-in-review" albums to that (more about this later).
Of course, I try to not plan much more photos I can scrap. That's where MIR albums will help a lot when I will go back to work (this september!!)...
And if ever I happen to still have what I feel is really too many to scrap (like when I had my second son, and that I planned to scrap almost every photo of my first one, ha ha!), it's not hard to just remove them from my album and store them away...
But it only happened once, then I was way better to know what I can scrap, even if it still happens that I put aside one to-do layout here and there.