Project Life is a system for documenting everyday life created by Becky Higgins. I created weekly spreads for my album in 2012 and am continuing again in 2013. Every Sunday, I share an update to my album on the blog (you can see all of them from 2013 so far here). I have created this page to answer some of the questions that come up weekly. Hopefully, you'll find the answer to your question here. :)
How much time do you devote to this project a week?
It varies. I can put together a spread in a half hour or I can spend a bit more time depending on the number of photos I have an if I want to create an insert to share more about a story. I will say this though, I spend more time taking photos of the album and sharing it on my blog each week than I spend acutally working on the album. That should be a good indication of how little time Project Life can take. ;)
How do you tackle this project?
Currently, I work on the album throughout the week. In 2012, I had my weeks run from Sunday to Saturday, but will be switching to Monday to Sunday for 2013. I like the idea of keeping the weekends together and this way I am able to share the following Sunday on the blog and don't have to rush to finish on Saturdays. I will be working primarily from the Seafoam kit in 2013 and I expect that it will help me to simplify the process (as well as help cut back on buying extra stuff) greatly.
What supplies do you use?
- Seafoam core kit
- Design A photo pocket pages
- big variety pack of pocket pages
- Baby kit
- Seafoam album
- Midnight core kit
What tools to you use?
- pen / Zig Millennium 0.1
- corner rounder / Fiskars
- paper trimmer / Rotatrim 15-Inch Professional Cutter
- stamping ink / exclusively black StazOn
- adhesive / Tombow Permanent roller adhesive.
You used to share quotes on each spread. What font is that quote font?
The quote font I used is a free one called BEBAS. I created a free download of all the quote cards that you can access here.
How do you take your photos?
I have a Canon XSi that I use for all of my normal shots. I recently purchased a Canon 35 mm f/2 lens and I shoot with that 95% of the time. I also take a ton of photos with my phone because I always have it with me and it's so much less conspicuous. I'd say this album is about 60% camera photos, 40% phone.
I do very little post processing for my photos. Most are straight out of camera. This is mostly because I have no idea what I am doing with photo editing, but also because I like the look of normally lit shots.
When I do use iPhone photos, I use them in three ways. First, I print them exactly as they were taken. On the spread above you can see three photos right from my phone that were just cropped to the appropriate size (3x4 or 4x6).
I also use my Instagram photos in the album. Above are two examples. In one, I kept the square ratio of the Instagram photo and left a white border when I cropped it down to fit on the 4x6 paper. And in the other, I cropped it in PSE to 3x4 before printing. I use Instagram when the original photo on my phone wasn't that great - dark, grainy, etc - and the instagram filters made the photo more interesting.
And last, I process a few of my iPhone photos using the PictureShow app. This app keeps the same photo ratio - 3x4 - but adds fun filters to make the shots a bit more interesting. Sometimes if an iPhone photo is fine, but needs more "pop", I'll apply a PictureShow filter before emailing it to myself and printing for the album. (The three other photos on the page above were taken with my normal camera.)
How do you print your photos?
I print all my photos at home. I do this because it's convenient and I can play around with custom sizes and when I mess up something, I can just reprint. I have an HP Photosmart 2575 printer that Paul had when we moved in together. I love it. The reviews online are terrible, but I have never had any problems with it and love the photo quality. It's expensive partly because it's so old I think. I always get asked if it goes through ink fast - I don't have anything to compare it to, but I don't have any complaints.
The video above shares how I print 4x6 and 3x4 photos at home.
The video above shares how I print large 12x12 photos in pieces to fit into the pocket pages.
I print exclusively on Office Depot brand semi-gloss paper. It's expensive, but AWESOME and I usually stock up when it's on sale or I have a coupon. I much prefer matte photos over glossy and this paper is perfect. I do think that printing at home is more expensive than printing in a store or online. But to me, it's worth the ease and I appreciate the time I save not going into a store or waiting for a photo order.
As mentioned above, I am including Instagram photos in this book. I talked a bit about the larger sizes, but when I want them small (like to fit in a coin protector page) I print them using the contact sheet printing option in iPhoto. (You can see the video of my process in this post.) I adore having them together in this grid format because I think they make a much better statement than one alone.
Tell me about the inserts.
When something big happens or I have a lot of text and/or photos to include, I usually add an insert to the two page weekly spread.
Usually the text that gets included on inserts comes directly from posts on this blog. I do enough writing here that I don't need to write MORE for the album. In addition to a big pack of Project Life Design A protectors and a variety pack, I went a little bit nuts on amazon and purchased all different sizes of page protectors to add inserts. I have the following sizes :
- We R Memory Keepers 3x3 square
- 20 square coin pocket protectors
- 9 pocket baseball card protectors
- 6 pocket page protectors
I like having different options for adding more photos and text each week. I included my "day in the life" documentation right into this album as an insert and plan on doing Week in the Life the same way this year with a baseball card protector for each day.
How do you photograph the album?
For blog updates, I take pictures off the album on the ground near a window. I avoid direct sunlight, but make sure there is enough natural light to get the colors to come through correctly. I shoot directly above and don't have too much trouble getting decent images.