Thursday, March 28, 2013

Project Life: My Approach to Each Week

Over the past year, my approach to tackling Project Life has gone from me scrambling to find things to fill each page, to a more methodical time saving plan. Most of last year included me using a photo processing company to print my pictures. By the time the photos arrived, I had to go back and remember where each photo went, which took even more time. Soon my process of getting each week done was to use index cards with photo file name for each pocket. It helped, but it really was not helping me get Project Life completed any faster. I knew I had to come up with a different process if I was going to keep up to date with Project Life this year.

Part of my decision to use a photo processor was my failing home printer. For Christmas, we got a new Epson Artisan printer, but with the delayed release of the Seafoam kit, I started 2013 behind. I was intrigued by Liz Tamanaha's approach making mock ups in PhotoShop. Our new MacBooks don't have PhotoShop yet, so I have had to improvise. That is where PicMonkey comes in!

First, I start by bringing up iPhoto. When I upload my photos I separate by different events for easier viewing, but for working on Project Life I filter my photos by the "Last 12 Months" option. I take a look at what photos I have to work with for the week despite which category or event they are part of.

Next, I bring up the PicMonkey collage builder and open any photos I may want to use for that week's spread.

I then work on making the collage template look like the photo pockets I have available for that week. For the particular week shown, I was working with Design E and Design A. The process includes unlocking the proportions at the bottom and changing the dimensions to 3400X1700 and just use the sample photos to help create new boxes and edit the existing ones.

Once you have the boxes the size and shape that you need, you can start adding photos. The nice thing about PicMonkey is how easy you can drag and switch photos and its ability to resize to fit each box. I spend a little bit of time playing with my photos for the week.

Once I like how all the photos are arranged I take a screenshot. I could always save the file, but since I am only using these as a reference, I don't need a good file quality. Screenshots on my mac are saved right to my desktop and easy to pull up when I am sending my photos to print. Once my photos are printed and in the album, I normally just delete the screenshot from my desktop.

Before saving/taking a screenshot, I use the free "papers" PicMonkey has to save the space for anything I will add extra, like weekly title cards, journaling cards, or scraps from the week. The above photo is what I ended up with for week 12. The number and dates on that first pocket are not how it will look in my completed spread. You can see more weeks below.

Most of the time I work on my album through out the week but one or two weeks behind. I like to do all my printing all at once if I am printing at home. For example, I get 6 3x4 sized photos per sheet when printing at home. So I will print a few weeks' worth of 3x4's all at once. And the same idea for other sized photos.

Hopefully, that was easy to understand and follow. And maybe it gave you a new way to maximize your time and make planning and completing Project Life more efficient. Maybe one of these days, I post a video of me putting the week together. To see a video showing how I resize and arrange my collage templates click here. It has no audio or commentary. It follows the general directions listed above.

My other Project Life related posts can be found here.

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