by Debbie Hodge

A good title connects your photos to their story.

I often start with a placeholder title in mind when I’m making a scrapbook page. I hold it in my mind, and, as I add elements to the page, more ideas come—sometimes without work, and other times because I employ one of these approaches.

1) Word Mining

Some simple word mining can yield several titles that go beyond the obvious. Take a look at your photo or photos and  begin by listing nouns. Try to get more and more specific as you list them.

Do the same with adjectives and verbs.

Here’s a simple example:



You could use a thesaurus to find synonyms and related words to expand your list and trigger ideas.

Now—look at the lists and see what titles occur to you when you combine or expand upon the words on your list. From my list here I’ve thought of:

“Drama Girls”

“True Companions”

“Imagination Partners”

“Always Talking”

“Girls with a Plan”


image When I began making “Initially Awkward” I looked at the photos of my sons with friends they spent a lot of time with as preschoolers and made my “placeholder” title “Old Friends.” I looked at the photos and listed words. I could see happy, dressed up, self-conscious, slow to warm up, and then the common phrase “Initial Awkwardness” came to mind. I liked that concept, but it felt distant. Yes. The kids HAD an initial awkwardness. But what WERE they? If I could name that, I would have a label that told more than “Old Friends.” They WERE “Initially Awkward”—and then that passed and the old connection came back.



2) From quotes, famous lines, lyrics and more

Once you’ve done your word mining, you can use the process in How to come up with Scrapbook Page Titles from Sayings, Quotes, Titles, Famous Lines, & Lyrics to get a fun title that plays with famous and known phrases.


image“With Hope In Your Hearts” is a line in the Sound of Music song “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and it summed up the spirit my son and his friend had as they built and tweaked and tweaked some more a raft that never did end up supporting them well. And, despite that, they kept on smiling.


2) Messages and Advice

Your title could be a statement to the subjects of your page. Look at your photos and just start writing down:

1) The things you’d like your subject to know.

Examples: “You Rock,” “I Believe in You,” “You Amaze Me.”

2) The advice you’d like to give.

Examples: “Stay True,” “Know Your Place,” “Make Time for Play,” “Life is Sweet.”


image“Missed U” shows a mom greeting her son on his return from his first-ever sleep-away camp.


3) Ask a Question

This might be a tongue-in-cheek question or a thoughtful pondering or something you really wish you could figure out. Look at your photos—and at your subjects in the photos and make a list of things you might have asked at the moment the photo was taken AND now.


imageThe question in the title on “What do Grandpas Wish For?” occurred to me after the party—when I was looking at the photos and the concentration on everyone’s face in the focal photo.

imageThe question on “Really?” is more playful – tongue-in-cheek even. I’ve been surprised by my mom’s recent desire to raise and take care of chickens. I’m also amused and it’s a bit of a joke between us. The journaling tells the story here and the title has fun with it.



4) Take it from the Journaling

A really great source of titles is page journaling. Try writing your journaling and then looking through it for a line that epitomizes your page subject.



image“Its Measure” takes a line from within the journaling that really characterizes my message as its title.


imageThe title “You Use Too Many Dishes” also comes from the journaling—but this line is different from the example above because: 1) it’s a line of dialogue (which is a great title source) and 2) it’s more of a punchline than an indicator of any deeper meaning.




Take a look at the titles on your pages. Do you use one of these approaches more than others? Think about giving an unused approach a try. I rarely do “message” titles, so I’m going to consider that for title ideas when I next sit down to scrapbook. Which one will you try?