For those who'd like to get started its easy! And can be very affordable. I use Photoshop CS2. Buy Photoshop can be an expensive investment. My husband had taken a class in college that he was required to have it, so I didn't have to make that investment. So check this option first. For example, my brothers both bought CS2 for a computer class, the second one to take the class could have used the first one's copy. So there are two at my parents house that no one is using, both brothers have upgraded to CS5 since then. Check around (ask college students). If you're going to purchase, there are the Photoshop Elements options, cheaper, not as strong as a program, but if you're not going to get into designing aspect PSE should be strong enough for you. Another option is using GIMP GIMP is a free downloadable program that I've been told has a hard learning curve, but once you get use to it, it can be as strong as Photoshop.
There are many great sites out there for getting started. Many of the digi scrapbooking communities ofter freebies, and there are many designers out there that ofter free kits/collections all the time. But be selective. If you download everything it takes up a lot of computer space, most of it you'll never use, and a lot of it out there is super inferior quality. Side note- downloading from not reputable websites puts you at risk of downloading viruses. But do sign up for the reputable site's newsletters. They will send you emails when they have freebies.
Here are a few of my favorite sites to get free downloads from:
- CraftCrave -offers a site where its does daily searches to tell you what's free out there.
- ScrapGirls -They have a great get started kit called the "Refresh Collection" plus other daily downloads
- Stuff to Scrap - there are a always great little kits avb on this site.
- Digital Scrapbook Experts - sign up, they'll send you a daily email with a link to a freebie to that month's kit
- gottapixel -does a daily download to a colab kit, if you don't get it everyday you miss out.
- goDigitalScrapbooking - have a daily download that normally is avb for a couple days
- ShabbyPrincess -have a great number of fantastic kits for free
- DesignerDigitals -offer 3 challenges a week, each challenge comes with a freebie to use in the Layout
- ScrapGirls -This is one of my fav. The women on it are great. Get involved, weekly and monthly chats, and a daily challenge to get your mind going.
- Scrapbook-bytes -This site has a ton of great challenges to participate in. If you keep track of how many you do each month you'll receive a gift coupon (see sites for details) get purchase kits from the site with.
- goDigitalScrapbooking - This site has a number of great monthly challenges. If you complete 7 challenges, and keep track of them on the Scraping 7 forum, then you're entered into a drawing to win a free kit (see site for details). Also for making comments on the forum or comments on someone's layout (LO) you can receive coupons for missed free downloads.
- Gotta Pixel -this site offers lots of monthly challenges that completing puts you into drawings to win coupons and gift cards. Also they have lots of contests that don't require a LO to be made. Another great thing on this site is every Friday night at 6pm MST in their chat room designer Connie Prince hosts a Speed Scrap (7 steps given over an hour, by the end of the hour you have a great LO), by participating in the Speed Scrap you're given a participation prize.
- Stuff to Scrap -this site also offers a great set of challenges and has their own system for giving away kits and prizes. It also offers a fun speed scrap multiple times each month at various times (see site for speed scrap schedule) so there should be a least one time each month you can join in on. They also so a month colab kit through a blog train. It comes out on the first of each month.
Other great sites (each also offer their own GREAT activities and freebies)
- My Life and Scrap
- Deviant Scraps
- A Cherry On Top
- LDS Blog Train
- Scrapbooking Gone Digital (SgD)
There are more. I'm still learning about new sites out there everyday. The key is to find your favorite. Use it. Using sites give you opportunities, excuses, and others to ask questions. Most people are willing and wanting to help you learn more and become a better scrapper. Many of the challenges and chats they have teach you how to do things. Plus you get positive feedback from other users on the site. Give feedback too! If you enjoy getting feedback, make sure you're giving it! Also while giving it, you see what else is out there and what you want to learn. When you see something you like, let the person know, feel free to ask them how they did it. Many will give you a tutorial to do it yourself.