I like to use a large piece of card stock for the base, then matte it before adding the photos. I like that my photos look anchored to the page. However, it also means that I use more paper. So I cut out the inside of the 12 X 12, and can get an 8 1/2 X 11 out of it plus some. Voila! More paper for matting the photos, lettering or whatever!