> Grounding Photos


Have you ever heard the saying “S/he is so grounded”, and not like when our kids are our past curfew, but the other kind of grounded—If I described someone as grounded you would probably think they have it together, she has direction or purpose right?

Today we turn our thoughts to grounding. In scrapbooking, grounding is the art of creating a foundation for our layouts. Grounding gives photos visual weight and gives our element in our design purpose. Grounding is a wonderful way to pulls our viewer’s attention to what we want to be the focus of our page...the photos.

To draw attention to your photos and have them appear to be the highlight of your layout without being distracting to the viewer’s eye, you will want to design your layout so that the focus shifts to the area that you intend. If you have one photo, you don’t want it to appear to be floating on the page. In the case of multiple photos, you want to create a place for them to be visually tied together. Action photos can be particularly at risk for getting “lost” if they are not grounded.

Sketch by Becky Fleck for Project 12-Scrapbook & Cards Today
source:, April 11, 2011
Additional Becky Fleck Sketches can be found at Page Maps

In the sketch above, the photos are "grounded” with an implied strip of patterned paper that continues behind the elements on both pages of the layout. Using one element of the sketch is connected to (or ground) all the elements of the layout together into one unified design. When the elements are grounded, each appear to have meaningful placement.

Other concepts to consider when grounding your photos:

•Color: Darker colors often visually appear to have more weight than lighter colors. Often using darker colors can aid in ground your photos and embellishments.
•Size: Consider that size adds weight (the larger the element the heavier it may appear). Therefore, if you wish to add more emphasis to a smaller element it can be helpful to use a larger grounding element to help the smaller item stand out.
•Location: Grounding does not have to be “under” your elements. You can use elements to ground on the side, above or through the middle of your focal elements. This is demonstrated in the sketch above. Proximity can be a very effective way to ground images and elements together on two page layouts.
•Clustering: Using a cluster of elements the corner of your photo, title or journaling can add weight and visual interest, thus giving the sense of purpose as well as giving your reader a defined focal point.