That's a question we are often asked by both new and seasoned Scrapbookers, so I thought I'd share with you the steps I go through to prepare and then create a page.
I remember when I first began scrapbooking some twelve years ago and the style then was to take your photos to the paper and choose those that went with the photos. Then place the photos in a "Z" shape across the pages. I quickly got bored with that and realised that all my pages were looking the same except for different papers.
Hope this has been helpful for you and maybe caused you to look at the prep work of a layout a little differently too. If you have any questions, please get in touch and I'll do my best to answer them.