Lets face it sometimes you just don’t have the camera handy when you want to or sometimes you do but you miss the moment or choose to be in it rather that photographing it. For those times when you miss opportunities to capture a moment it’s good to have a photo-less layout concept in the back of your mind to still get the story documented. This used to be more of a problem back when I started scrapping and was dependent on having money for film and remembering to carrying my camera with me. Often everyday stuff just passed by without realizing the uniqueness of it, I was still unsure of the etiquette of photo-taking at events or I just generally didn’t have the best timing or technique to get the photo. It may be a little less common in these days of digital photography and the ability to carry a camera with us at all times on our phones, but it does still happen. Here’s a layout from my 2004 album about a then hobby of attending auctions and scouring second-hand stores for ‘treasures’. It was made maybe a year or so after the fact when I no longer went along to auctions and realized that I’d better get the memory down before I forgot it. I never took my camera along to one, hence having no photos from an actual auction and I could have been photographed some of my auction score when I made the layout but I didn’t feel like it would have had the same context and that I could design a page that would lend itself better to telling the story without one so the decision to go photo-less was made.This layout was the perfect opportunity to use some unique supplies, that I may not have used otherwise. The Life’s Journey Type Tray paper from K & Company acted as a perfect shelf to house all the little trinkets and vintage images that makes it look reminiscent of the shelves and shelves of vintage and pre-loved wares at the auctions. The paper elements are from a Paper Pizzazz Vintage Ephemera booklet and the stickers came from a Me & My Big Ideas Romance themed kit. I remember oodles and oodles of pottery especially Royal Doulton being at these things but both options were lacking in that particular aspect so while I would have loved to include that detail of pottery I still think the chosen images provide plenty of context. I will admit I often favour a very literal approach to my choice of themed supplies more so on photo-less layouts than others (as you will have seen from my use of French themed items on the previous layout and the use of antiques on this one) this just goes to prove that you can still create an authentic feel to support your story on a photo-less layout without having to be tied down to having ‘the perfect ….(paper, embellishment, whatever)”.For times when you miss the opportunity to photograph something you really need to be able to rely on story-telling ability to give the viewer the context you’re going for. This is where the classic truism of writing – show, don’t tell – comes in. What you’re looking for here is an appeal to the readers senses. What did you see at that moment? Describe the scene with particular attention to the unique details of it. Is there some element of movement, texture, light that you could describe? Who were the characters in the scene? Did they have a quirk or gesture or something to their outward appearance that was unique or characteristic of that moment? What could they sense – smell, hear, feel? What could you sense – smell, hear, feel? Don’t forget the emotional details either. An advantage of writing over photography is the ability to explore not just the physical landscape but the emotional one as well. It’s also a distinct advantage when you choose to be in the moment and not photographing it because your own experience is that much closer to the story. All of this makes for really rich story-centric journaling.Or maybe you don’t exactly miss the opportunity but your technique is off and you have photos that are too close, too far away, excessively blurred or the lighting is just weird or for whatever reason you just don’t feel that they are usable for a layout, you still have the ability to let them provide context for a photo-less layout. I will say that even a bad photo can sometimes be better at helping you remember details of a day or event than not having any at all especially if some time has passed since it happened. Even if you choose not to use it on a layout you still have a visual reminder of what was going on that can get your story concept started. One of my tips for times when you don’t have a useable photo is to examine them for sense details like in the above paragraph, and other give-aways like what time of day it might have been, what other activities might have happened in that place, does a certain item or person in the photo spark a story idea, does it remind you of something you could journal about? Whatever it is you can see get it down and then get the story down from those visual clues as soon as you think of it. Another tip is to have a common resting place for draft journaling like a pretty notebook or file on your computer but make it easy on yourself by limiting it to one or two spots at most so you don’t always have to be thinking where did I put that scrap of paper about…As I spoke of before this layout was one that captured my likes at a particular moment in time, plenty of my auction scores have been left behind or traded up over time but I do still have a couple of my favourite items and while the treasure-seeking aspect of my personality remains it certainly gets less attention these days. I am far more particular about what I allow to come into my house now. A husband, a farm and two chaos causing kids will do that to your ability to filter what you can be bothered cleaning up a thousand times amidst all the rest of your everyday stuff. This layout not only speaks to me of a fun past time but a period of time when I lived on my own and was pretty fancy free, I love how the story and design immediately transport me back to that time and the little reminders of what changes and what stays the same.