organising project life

In my last post I said that I was several months behind in my Project Life album for 2012. I tried to keep up, but once I got a little bit behind it became easier and easier not to do anything, and the photos built up and up.

If I was less of a perfectionist, I’d probably say something like, “stuff it, I’m just going to grab a few of the most memorable photos from each month and make a couple of spreads for each month and be done with it in a day or two”.

Alas, I am not that person. I feel like my album is half full with the style I went with at the start of the year (note I never got around to posting Part 2 of that post . . .) so it would look weird to suddenly do a truncated version for the rest of the year.

So I’ve made a start at sorting, organising and editing the rest of my photos from July to December.

It’s become a four-stage process.

I met a fellow Aussie Project Lifer, @Kelmscott_Girl, on Twitter a few days ago, and her post on catching up had some great ideas about keeping your photos under control.  I also recently discovered that I can create folders in iPhoto (on my Mac), which has made the sorting process a lot easier. (Yeah, I know, I’ve been using Macs most of my life and I didn’t know about folders . . . )

So, on to what I’ve been doing.

Stage 1 is simply sorting out which photos I might want to use. I create a smart album in iPhoto for all the photos I took in the month. Then I made a copy of that album as a normal album, so I can delete the photos as I transfer them into their subject album (this is probably not necessary, but you can’t delete photos out of a smart album and I like to be able to see which photos I’ve allocated and which ones I haven’t used).

I create standard albums for each month:

  • Little photos (for the Design F summary page – like the card below)
  • Random photos (with one or two photos per event)
  • Photos of the boy doing random stuff (same)

Then I create individual albums for events or things that will have one or two pages devoted to them.

I make a folder for the month and put all these albums in it to keep the side bar tidy and so I don’t get lost.

Stage 2 is to decide which photos I will actually use, and which page protector design will work with them. Here is where I’ll work out the structure of the month, because the design I choose for one set of photos will, to some degree, determine which photos I can use on the next page. For example, I can’t follow a right hand Design A page (the 6×4 landscapes) with a page of portrait-oriented photos on the left on the next spread.

I write this all down with basic page designs so I know where to put the photos when I get them printed. Then I export the photos into equivalent folders into my Project Life folder ready to edit.

Stage 3 is editing in Photoshop Elements. This could be simply tweaking the levels or cropping and resizing, or it could be creating photo montages, or making hybrid journal cards like this one (from the Little Photos album).

A word about the hybrid journal cards. They seemed like a great idea when I started doing them, but they take more time than I thought they would. I’m not totally sure whether it’s any easier than cutting out the photo and hand writing the card. But I kind of committed to the style this year, so I want to stick with it to the end. It also means I have A LOT of my Project Life kit left because I’ve done so much work with the digital kit.

The final stage is to print the photos and put them into the physical album, filling in any journalling cards that I haven’t already done on the computer. This is where I tend to procrastinate, as I’m not good at journalling. I use a date stamper for the dates, as this came with the original Project Life kit in 2010, but I’ve decided to stop using it after this year. It’s easier to hand write the dates.

After all that, as of today, I’ve got July ready for printing, I’ve sorted and organised August and September and I’ve culled October, November and half of December.

My approach isn’t as simple as I’d like it to be, so I’m hoping to streamline it in 2013. Also I don’t intend to get six months behind again, so I won’t need to be doing six months at once!

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