When I scrapbook, I'm all about color. I have found through the years that I like bright, beautiful, bold colors. However, part of my hang up in scrapbooking older photos is that most of the heritage scrapbooking supplies involve muted tones such as pinks, browns, yellows, etc. Is it a rule that you have to scrapbook your old photos with muted tones? I say no. I think that choosing the right colors for your photographs is essential to a beautiful scrapbook page, but there is no right or wrong color to use.
When scrapbooking my modern day photographs, I always look at the photo and see which colors are most prominent in a photo. I almost always choose my color palette around the colors in the photos. But, what do you do when you have a black and white photo, or a photo that has tones similar to sepia? What if it is simply a yellowed photograph that has just aged with time? Do you have to stick with what is in the photo?
My answer would be no. Instead, try choosing a color palette that you like. In other words, choose colors that are in the same family. Think of when you go shopping for paint. Say that you want a blue. There are probably a hundred different shades of blues. So, usually, you will pick a family of blue that appeals to you. One paint card will have up to 3 colors on it, but they are all from the same family. As long as you keep your color pallete on one layout within the same family, then you will get a cohesive look.
Trial and error is key when choosing colors. Try taking a single photograph, for example, and choose 5 different solid colored cardstock papers to put behind it. Study how the colors change the photograph. While there is no wrong choice, you might find that you favor one color over another in the way that it makes a picture look. The same goes for memorabilia like a letter, or a newspaper article. As you lay patterened paper or different solid colored paper behind the memorabilia, you will find that it changes the whole feel of the page. While there is no right or wrong color, you will definitely get an idea of what you like the more you experiment and play around with color.
For black and white photos, I personally love pairing them with bold, bright colors. I think that it adds character to the photo. Besides, life was not boring, and black and white back when your photo was taken. Life was full of color for those in the photos just like it is now. So, the moral is to not be afraid. Just because many heritage scrapbooking supplies are stuck in a certain family of colors, that doesn't mean that your pages have to be. The more you make bold choices, the more you will get used to the idea and love the pages you are scrapbooking in beautiful colors.