I am going to preface this with: I’m not a “traditional” Project Lifer in the sense that I don’t do the weekly format of daily life. For me, it is easier to adopt a more flexible approach. And by that I mean that I basically scrapbook whatever the heck I feel like. I do occasional daily life layouts, some monthly summaries, event-based layouts, and spreads about me. I have also done my son’s baby album in Project Life format (work in progress but I am close to finishing). For every page I follow roughly the same process:
- Consolidate & back up my photos. This is important because I use photos from 3 sources- my DSLR, my phone, and my husband’s phone. Having them compiled and backed up to one place simplifies things and saves a ton of time. Since we take 98% of our photos with our phones, the easiest way I have found to do this is to use wireless backup apps through Google Photos & our MyCloud Western Digital external hard drive. I like redundancy when it comes to preserving memories so it’s worth it to me to have two backups for our family photos & videos. For the occasional times I use my DSLR, I hook up my memory card to the computer and they get uploaded via to the hard drive and Google Photos through desktop apps. To get more ideas about how this works, read more about the way I back up and consolidate my photos.
- Write things down. I have an awful memory (one of the fun side effects of having a sleep disorder) so I keep a simple spreadsheet to jot down all the spreads I want to do, with some details of specific pictures or journaling notes I want to include. I also keep notes of specific pictures/videos I want to take. I don’t plan the template that I will use ahead of time because I find it easier to do that as I go. When the mood strikes to crank out a few layouts, I have my list handy to pick whichever ones I feel like working on.
- Pick out the photos/videos I want to use, and choose a template to suit the photos. Once I know which layout I’m working on, I pick out all the photos I want to use, drag all the photos into Photoshop and quickly evaluate how many vertical/horizontal photos I have, and I pick a Project Life template accordingly. This is the center of my designing strategy. I don’t plan around Project Life cards or templates; I plan around my photos. Some people like to stick to the same template for every spread because for THEM that’s the simplest method. Because PHOTOS are my priority, I prefer the flexibility of choosing the templates & cards to suit the pictures. Sometimes if a template doesn’t suit my needs, I alter it. I have several pages that use modified templates. I also try to group photos by color scheme, theme, or alike scenery. This makes the page flow and more cohesive. For example, to document over 30-40 pictures of a family beach trip, I grouped all the photos that were primarily neutrals into a 2-page spread, and used the other ones that had splashes of color into another 2-page spread. I also L-O-O-O-VE inserting videos. Getting videos off of my phone/computer and into my albums has been one of the biggest memory-keeping game-changers for me, so of course while I am picking templates I have to make sure I have enough spots for the videos as well. For a tutorial on how to make a QRC out of your home videos, read here.
4. Plug the photos/videos in and pick out journaling/title cards. I journal/label/document as much as I want- sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. For the QRCs, there are a few free cards that are offered online, but usually I have to modify PL cards to make them work. I am anxiously waiting for Becky Higgins to work her magic and hook us up with a kit of QRC cards- that would be awesome!
5. Fill in any blanks with coordinating Project Life cards. Once I have the pictures, videos, journaling, and titles plugged in, I then have the flexibility to pick whichever decorative cards I want to fill in the blanks. I tend to stick with neutral tones of PL cards because of personal preference. I feel like colorful Project Life cards make my pages too busy and distract my eye from the photos, which I want to be the real focus. I primarily use Becky Higgins’ cards, but there are many other fabulous free & paid resources out there as well.
And that’s it!