Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project Life | My Monthly Process

This year I’ve been doing Project Life quite sporadically, a week here and a week there, mostly for creative team work.  Some time during October, I decided to do MONTHLY Project Life.  I thought if I did each part of my Project Life process only once during the month, it would save some time.  Also, I already have a habit of picking out photos for my Month In Review or Monthly Favorites blog posts, so why not just do the same thing with Project Life?

Here are the steps that I took to create my monthly Project Life pages.

Step 1:  Picking Out Photos

I already upload my photos a couple of times per week onto my hard drive and into Adobe Lightroom.  So at the end of the month, I just needed to upload any stragglers.  Then I went into Lightroom and created a new Collection called “201310 Oct Faves”, and I made that Collection the “Target Collection”.  After that, I went into my October 2013 folder in Lightroom and started picking out photos.  For every photo that I wanted to include for my October Project Life, I just needed to select that photo by clicking on it in the catalog, then press the letter “b” on my keyboard.  That’s Lightroom’s keyboard shortcut to add that photo immediately into the Target Collection (which I had already set as my “201310 Oct Faves” collection).  You can also CTRL+click on multiple photos and then hit the “b” on the keyboard to put them all into the collection at once.  After I was done selecting all my photos, I clicked on the “201310 Oct Faves” collection on the left, and all 50 of the photos that I had selected showed up in one place.

{Click on above image to see bigger.}


Step 2:  Processing Photos in Lightroom

I process most of my photos in Lightroom, either using Lightroom develop presets, the manual sliders, or Rad Lab from within Lightroom.  (You can see a video of how I process photos using Rab Lab from Lightroom here.)  I hardly ever use Photoshop to process photos anymore.  Since my photo catalog is in Lightroom, it is SO convenient to also process my photos in there.  I do not process every single photo I take.  I only process the photos that I want to scrapbook or blog.  This is why the photo-processing step comes after the photo selection step (Step 1 above).

Step 3:  Create Photo Collages in Lightroom

I had already created a bunch of “print templates” inside the Print Module in Lightroom, just for making photo collages of various sizes and configurations.  I looked at the 50 photos I had picked for October and I decided which ones I wanted to print at 4x6 and which ones as collages.  Then I selected photos and clicked on my print templates to make the collages. 

For example, I knew I wanted to have a bunch of Instagram square photos printed at around 2.5”, so I selected my template called “8.5x11 12up 2.6” Instagrams”.  After I selected my 12 photos and then clicked on the template on the left, Lightroom created my collage instantly.
{Click on above image to see bigger.}

For these two photos, I knew I wanted to print them side by side on a 4x6, so I clicked on my template “4x6: 2up for printing with white border”.
{Click on above image to see bigger.}

After each collage was created, I exported them as jpeg files onto my hard drive, into my “To Print” folder.


Step 4:  Using Photoshop to Journal on Photos

I love using Photoshop to type the date, place, and maybe a short sentence for journaling.  Why?  That way I can embellish the non-photo pockets as I please, and not feel pressured to have journaling in all the non-photo pockets.  I also love to use digital brushes/stamps or overlays, I think they really add to my photos.  I go into my “To Print” folder and open some of the photos/collages in Photoshop.  Then I type away.  Here are some examples.






Step 5:  Printing Photos

I print most of my photos at home, unless it’s a really big batch.  I use the Canon Pixma MG5320 printer (the newer model is MG6320), and I print on Canon Photo Paper Glossy II (both 4x6 and 8.5x11 papers).  For me, printing at home really makes my scrapbooking process more efficient. 

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It took me about 2 hours to do steps 1-5.


Step 6:  Arrange Photos in Page Protector Pockets

I left my photos out overnight to make sure the ink was dry.  I’ve never had any problems with them smearing even if I use them a few minutes afterwards.  But I left them overnight because I was at a good stopping point anyways.  The next day, I spent about 20 minutes arranging the photos into page protector pockets.  When I picked out my photos, I did not limit the number of photos based on pockets.  It did not matter to me whether my October pages would be 4 pages, 6 pages, or if there would be half pages at the end.  I decided that since I’m not doing weekly Project Life, it was perfectly fine to just start and end wherever I happen to be in the album.  This decision is actually the KEY to saving time.  With this method, you do NOT need to spend hours planning out your page configurations and where photos and journaling go, in order to fit into a two-page spread.  With this method. you just begin where you left off, and stop when you run out of photos and journal cards.  EASY!

I ended up with 6 pages, or 3 pages front & back.




Step 7:  Add Journal Cards, Journaling, and Embellishments

Yesterday and today, I spent about a total of about 4 hours adding in journal cards, journaling, and embellishments to complete six Project Life pages for October.  I did it while watching football.  I put up a card table in front of the TV and pulled up my Raskog cart with some of my supplies.  (You can read more about my Raskog cart organization here and here.)

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All in all, my new monthly method saves me some time, because I’m doing each step in a bigger batch, and I don’t have to do this every week.  When I got done with the six pages today, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment!  Here’s a peek at one of my pages.  I will blog all my October pages next week.  :)



  1. Good post! I actually decided to do monthly project life for 2014. Weekly just isn't my thing - although I will finish up 2013 as a weekly album.


  2. Love your process, i actually do it monthly too and i love it, i wont forget the days cause well iphoto tells you what day they were taken :) but its much more convenient for me this way.

    1. Yes, Lightroom tells me the date & time of my photos too! Very convenient. That's why I like to do journaling on my photos in Photoshop before printing them out. Then when I go to my craft room, I don't have to try to remember the date the photos were taken. :)

  3. Really interesting to read your process for how to get from start to finished pages.

  4. I love your process! Thanks for sharing your stoy!

  5. This is awesome! THank you for sharing! I am pretty sure you are aging BACKWARDS! You look beautiful!

  6. Where do you get your preset collages with white boarders??

  7. any advice on how you made your collages in lightroom? or go the font on the photos with photoshop?

  8. I am totally overwhelmed with trying to go through all my photos in LR (new to PL). I downloaded some print templates but can't get the paper settings to hold (grrrrr) to make collages and export them to .jpg. Do you offer your templates at all? Or do you have a tutorial on how to create them?

    1. Hi Angela - the only tutorial I have about creating LR print templates is this post. There's a video even.


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