Photo Project: Clouds—My Zine Layout and Sequencing Process Using Prints

In previous posts about my CLOUDS zine I’ve shared how the project is coming together as I work through the entire zine creation process. I’ve recently finished my layout and sequencing process AND ordered my copy of what I hope will be the final version of this printed zine which includes 132 pages of images (this feels like a gigantic accomplishment for me!). I thought I’d share with you how I chose to carry out the layout and sequencing process. This isn’t the only way to go about this and I thought I’d share with anyone else who may have an interest in seeing one way to do this or for anyone who might like to see a little behind-the-scenes look at what has gone into printing this project.

Quite some time ago I spent an evening cutting plain white printer paper to 8”x8” which was the size I chose for my printed zine. I didn’t do anything fancy—I tend to be a fairly practical person. In order to hold the pages together I just used two holes of a three hole paper punch to punch two holes in each page. Then I used some brown string I had on hand to tie the pages together.

I sorted through my large stack of prints—I had previously used a Sharpie and labeled the back of each print with the file name for each image—and grouped images together that looked like they would complement one another on two page spreads. Then I used washi tape—so that it wouldn’t leave marks on the prints and would come off fairly easily if I needed to rearrange any images—to hold the prints in place on each page.

In the middle of my CLOUDS zine layout and sequencing process using prints and my handmade “book”

I chose to use Scribus—open source desktop publishing software—as I didn’t want to spend money to purchase additional software. When I moved to the computer so that I could put the images into the desktop publishing software I appreciated how simple it was for me. I just glanced at the back of each print so that I knew exactly what file was needed for each image which I found to be a very simple, enjoyable process.

In the middle of my CLOUDS zine layout and sequencing process using prints and my handmade “book”

As I shared before—this certainly isn’t the only way to handle the layout and sequencing process—this is the process that appealed to me. I really appreciated being able to work with prints rather than trying to do this all on a computer screen. It was refreshing to be able to hold the actual prints in my hands, study them for similarities that would work well together for two page spreads, and get to enjoy the physical process of taping each photo in its place. It was nice to be able to turn the pages of my makeshift zine so that I could get an idea how things might look as a series when the final version of the project is printed.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my layout and sequencing process for my CLOUDS zine. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about any process you’ve done that has worked well for you or any thoughts you may have on creating zines. And I’m looking forward to being able to share more with you when I receive my printed CLOUDS zine in the mail!

Photo Project: Clouds—Zine Test Print

In my previous post I mentioned that I’d reached an exciting milestone in my Clouds photo project: ordering my test print of a small portion of this project printed in zine form. This printing was just a small selection of some of my cloud images to check how photos would print and make sure I was doing things in a way that printed well. I still have more work to finish putting this project together before the final test print.

I was excited to receive my zine in the mail yesterday. This still feels like a huge accomplishment for me considering all the intense, disabling, moment to moment mental health struggles I face as well as other obstacles within this project. And it took some courage for me to open the package my zine was in—I was afraid that since this was my first time doing this, I’d done things wrong and had possibly made a mess of the printed zine.

Clouds zine test print – front cover

I was thankful I opened it up and took a look at it. It was so rewarding and refreshing to actually hold in my hands and look through my Clouds zine test print.

Clouds zine – interior pages

I was relieved that to me it seemed to have turned out reasonably well. There are a few small adjustments I may need to make and it was so fulfilling to see that—in my opinion—I was definitely on the right track with my ideas, layout, sizing and use of the desktop publishing software.

Clouds zine – interior pages, sunset ICM (intentional camera movement) motion blur image

Part of my excitement for this project is for the meaning and importance it has to me as I’ve captured images of clouds over the years as a way to appreciate nature and my surroundings and to cope. And it’s also my hope that somehow, maybe this printed project could be an inspiration, encouragement, possibly help provide a moment of peace, some mindful, restful moments or in some way be beneficial to those who see this zine.

Clouds zine – interior pages, thunderstorm with lightning

I was thrilled to see that, from my perspective, the front cover, spine and back cover layout seemed to work out alright. I had come up with the idea of trying to do a wraparound type of cloud image. This process took some careful consideration and work to get the layout to show what I had in mind. I had to divide the front and back cover into separate images and also figure out what portion of my image to use for the spine image so that it would all seamlessly blend together.

Clouds zine test print – front and back cover

While this does feel a bit vulnerable it’s also exciting for me to get to share a small part of this project with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas about this project—feel free to share with me in the comments.

Photo Project: Clouds—Celebrating a Milestone

As a way to cope with the intense, moment-to-moment mental health struggles I face as a result of surviving trauma, one thing I naturally began doing was noticing, focusing on and capturing the captivating clouds that I would see when out and about or while at home in our yard. I’ve spent years taking cloud photos and eventually realized I had built up quite the collection of cloud photos.

I found the clouds I saw and worked to capture to be so interesting. Seeing and taking note of what was visible in the sky helped me to cope through some very intense and difficult moments. I would study the details, the colors, the shapes, the darkness and the light and how they interacted with each other, and I often could notice that the clouds seemed to tell me a story.

Heart-shaped cloud – seen from my yard at sunset

Sometimes when I was out and about, overwhelmed by anxiety, as my husband was driving I would look up at the clouds and find something to focus on which had a calming effect for me and sometimes I would capture what I saw.

Sometimes when I didn’t know how to survive I would walk outside our home and look up, across the surrounding fields where the clouds would often draw my attention, giving me something to focus on in addition to the severe mental health struggles and effects of trauma I was battling. At sunset I would focus on the motion of the clouds and how they would change colors as the sun moved lower in the sky. Somehow, mindfully focusing on the clouds seemed to give me a little spark of hope, provided a tiny bit of peace and helped me survive many intense moments. And often I was so mesmerized by what I saw that I tried to take pictures of the clouds around me.

Clouds – seen from my yard at sunset

I didn’t set out with the intention of this being a photo project—it just seemed to naturally happen. After noticing this ongoing trend of capturing clouds I decided it would be nice to put the images into a sort of collection. And I’d been inspired by other photographers to not just leave digital images sitting on my hard drive, my website or my social media accounts. I noticed a strong desire to work toward putting into print what had turned into a photo project. I felt that a printed version of this project would have an element that couldn’t be achieved on a screen. I decided to work toward making a Clouds zine because I wanted this to be in print form but I also wanted it to be affordable. Though I would love to be able to, I know I don’t have the means to purchase expensive photo books and I didn’t want the cost to be a big barrier for anyone else who may want to have a copy.

Some of my cloud prints I used for the layout process of this project

There have been many different stages to this project which have taken me a lot of time over the past several months. This is an unfamiliar process for me. I knew I wanted to work with actual prints as much as possible. First, I had to go through over 2,000 photos and decide which images to potentially include in the final print of the project. Then I prepared the images for print as what we see on a screen is not quite what the image will look like in print due to the nature of screens being backlit. I was so excited to order and receive approximately 140 prints of images I was strongly considering including in the printed zine. I used the prints to help determine if I needed to make any edits to the images and for the layout and page sequencing process. It was so satisfying and fulfilling to get to see and hold the prints in my hands as I worked on this part of the process.

Some of my cloud prints I used for the layout process of this project

I faced many battles throughout this long process: the intense, debilitating daily struggles I face, finding time and energy to work on this project as I often needed to focus on my own survival and therapy process along with trying to care for myself and my family, trying to teach myself how to use desktop publishing software I’d never worked with before, and the difficulty of working through problems I had saving my zine in PDF format. And—like other experiences in my life—this project is showing me that I can do difficult and challenging things that can feel impossible. It has been a challenging, discouraging, enjoyable, rewarding and growing experience for me.

Some of my cloud prints I used for the layout process of this project

On Wednesday evening I reached a milestone in this project I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to achieve. I managed to get to the point in this project where I was able to order a test print of some of the Clouds images in zine format before eventually progressing with the full zine print. It felt like a huge accomplishment and a true victory to see my test print zine on the webpage of the printing company and to click the mouse to place the order. I considered this an accomplishment and victory for myself and hopefully for others as well with the hope it may be of benefit to others in some way. While I am doing this for myself I also have you in mind while working on this project.

In an effort to be kind and gentle with myself I wrote a little “Note to Self” for this occasion: You worked so hard to reach this milestone that seemed unattainable due to the many painful, debilitating, intense, devastating and overwhelming circumstances you constantly experience each moment. Maybe it’s important to acknowledge reaching this milestone and celebrate the fact that time after time you overcame battles that seemed too overpowering. This photo project has been a blessing to you and may it somehow be a gift of encouragement, hope, peace or some other benefit for others.

Cloud abstract – ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) image of sunset clouds taken from my home

Resting where you landed

Nikon FE, Nikon 35mm f/2

When you’ve been knocked to the ground by painful circumstances outside your control sometimes it’s necessary to rest where you landed in order to care for yourself.

Captured just as I found it.

The process of making this film photo, developing the film myself at home, scanning the negative with my DSLR and converting the negative to a positive is a challenging, sometimes overwhelming, somewhat unpredictable, very rewarding, learning, growing, healing, intriguing, satisfying and therapeutic process that helps me to learn not only about film photography but also myself and my healing process in a healthy way. I am thankful for this opportunity that I can’t really explain with words.


Nikon FE
Nikon 35mm f/2
Fuji Superia xtra 400
Image taken Fall 2020
Developed at home, Unicolor
Negative scanned with DSLR
Converted to positive with Negative Lab Pro



I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Gravel dust

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Off in the distance the ordinary clouds of dirt become a beautiful sight when highlighted by the golden light of the setting sun.


Another of many images I’ve taken from the passenger seat on a drive home from one of my neurofeedback appointments. I never know how these images will turn out as we’re driving down one of the highways or the interstate we travel. This process of making photos of my surroundings really is helpful and calming for me.


I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Hidden beauty

These old, leaded glass windows in our home are fascinating to me. They are rainbow-makers: when the sunlight shines through them they cast rainbows throughout the house. A reminder of the hope of God’s faithfulness in the middle of the darkness.


I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Fight or flight

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Fight or flight: On the outside you look ok, maybe even calm. And on the inside is the opposite—terror, chaos, anxiety, the unspeakable, panic, fear, disturbing sensations and more…and it all makes sense. You do what you can, appreciate your surroundings and what you notice in creation. The beauty of this flying flock just above the trees on a background of clouds helps provide some peace and calming as you try to ground yourself in this present moment.


Another of many images I’ve taken from the passenger seat on a drive home from one of my neurofeedback appointments. I never know how these images will turn out as we’re driving down one of the highways or the interstate we travel. This process of making photos of my surroundings really is helpful and calming for me.


I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Weary and worn

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4

…and trying to soak up the light in order to survive


I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Looking for light from the passenger seat

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Even in the unknown, even in the middle of the intense and painful moments…trying to keep watching and looking for light


Another of many images I’ve taken from the passenger seat on a drive home from one of my neurofeedback appointments. I never know how these images will turn out as we’re driving down one of the highways we travel. This process of making photos of my surroundings really is helpful and calming for me.



I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.

Light in the hallway

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4


I decided to share some of the photos and writing I’ve shared over on my Flickr account. If you’re interested in seeing more of those images you can check them out here.