Project Life Blurb Book 2013 | Weeks 1 & 2

I’m quickly catching up on my 2013 Project Life digital album using my new Project Life Blurb Templates.

Week 1

Week 2

Each week starts with a “this week” card (design by Paislee Press) and a 3×4 calendar card (design by paislee press – cropped to 3×4).  I’m using various journaling cards from the Becky Higgins Seafoam kit and various journaling cards designed by Paislee Press.  I’m also incorporating word art from Ali Edwards.  I’m scanning some of the “stuff” like the little love note written in marker above.  I’m loving how fast it is to create my layouts in Blurb Booksmart!

Photobook Class at Big Picture Classes

Big Picture Classes has turned my “Love Is” Photobook Workshop into a self paced class.  Check it out – just in time for Valentines Day!

loveis

Project Life Blurb Templates (Part I)

This is going to be a two part post… this post (part I) is going to be short and sweet and straight to the point.  In part II, I’ll go into more detail about how I do Project Life and what’s working for me.

Short & Sweet… I created an entire collection of Project Life Blurb Booksmart Templates!  These templates work great for creating a digital project life photobook and for me this system is much faster than creating the layouts in photoshop or photoshop elements.  Here’s a little video that shows you how to use the templates with Becky Higgin’s Project Life digital supplies and I’ll also show you all the different template designs included in the set.

Here’s a look at a few project life layouts I created using my blurb templates & Becky Higgin’s Seafoam Project Life Digital kit.

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Easy right?

Here’s what you’ll get with the download:

  • 1 Cover Template  (you can add your title to the spine as well)
  • 37 Inner Page Layout Templates
  • All Templates designed for 12×12 (Square) Blurb Booksmart Photobook
  • Overlay Grid PNG files in black, white, chocolate and gray

Note: These templates will only work with the latest version of Blurb Booksmart.

$10.99

Add to Cart

View Cart

To Order:  Click the “Add to Cart” button and complete the paypal checkout process.  As soon as your order has been successfully completed you’ll receive a link to download the templates (in a .zip file).  Included in the template download are instructions to install & use.  You can read the instructions here.  You can read more about my blurb printing recommendations here.

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Update – Project Life Design “A” blurb templates only

I’ve had a lot of requests to offer only design “A” Project Life Templates (for a lower cost). Here’s what you’ll get with the download: 

  • 2 Inner Page Layout Templates (Design A Only)
  • All Templates designed for 12×12 (Square) Blurb Booksmart Photobook
  • Overlay Grid PNG files in black, white, chocolate and gray

Note: These templates will only work with the latest version of Blurb Booksmart

$2.49

Add to Cart

View Cart

To Order:  Click the “Add to Cart” button and complete the paypal checkout process.  As soon as your order has been successfully completed you’ll receive a link to download the templates (in a .zip file).  Included in the template download are instructions to install & use.  You can read the instructions here.  You can read more about my blurb printing recommendations here.

New Blurb Booksmart Templates: Snapshots & Stories

After creating my own Blurb photobooks I started designing Blurb Booksmart Templates to speed up my workflow.  You can read the full story here.  I am super excited to introduce my first set of templates.  These are going to save you a ton of time!

Snapshots & Stories is a set of Blurb Booksmart templates.  The idea behind this design was to create a BIG set of templates that I could use over and over again to create my family yearbooks.  I take a ton of pictures and I want to include them ALL in my yearly photobook.  Sometimes I want to add titles and text to the pages and sometimes I want just photos on the page.  I wanted the book to be cohesive, simple and clean.  I finished creating the templates then got busy making a big Blurb photobook showing off our summer photos (because that’s when we have the most fun and I didn’t want to bore you with the winter months).  I’ll definitely be using these booksmart templates over and over again for my yearbooks.  The templates are all set up with photo spots and text / title areas.  Download Blurb Booksmart then import the templates – drag and drop your photos and click to add text.  It’s seriously that simple.

Here’s what you’ll get with the download:

  • 1 Cover Template (option for all photos or photos + title) (you can add your title to the spine as well)
  • Title Page Template
  • About Page Template
  • Dedication Page Template
  • 28 Inner Page Layout Templates (56 individual page templates – 28 Left pages and 28 Right pages)
  • All Templates designed for 8×10 (Portrait) Blurb Booksmart Photobook

Note: These templates will only work with the latest version of Blurb Booksmart.

$10.99

Add to Cart

View Cart

To Order:  Click the “Add to Cart” button and complete the paypal checkout process.  As soon as your order has been successfully completed you’ll receive a link to download the templates (in a .zip file).  Included in the template download are instructions to install.  You can read the instructions here.

My Lightroom Workflow for Project Life & Scrapbooking

This past year I finally feel like I’ve gotten into a really good groove with my photo workflow. I take a ton of pictures. I shoot in RAW so every photo needs a little oompf before it’s ready to be printed or used in a photobook. I thought I’d share my workflow.

My File / Folder Structure:
PICTURES (Main Folder on Hard Drive)
>PHOTO-LIBRARY
>>2013-PHOTO-LIBRARY
>>2013-UNORGANIZED
PHOTO-ARCHIVES (folder on External Drive)
>>2012
>>2011
>>etc… all years past

My Workflow (using Lightroom 4):
Import all (import and convert to DNG) to: PICTURES\PHOTO-LIBRARY\2013-UNORGANIZED
Notes: Before I get into my workflow of deleting, rating, etc. I just have to say that I teetered for a long time on whether or not to keep photos of extended family and friends. In the end I use the same criteria below on ALL my photos imported, not just my immediate family. I use it for random shots of playdates, friends, BBQ’s, landscape, etc. I feel good about this.

Round 1: Culling (I’m in the “Previous Import” Folder in Lightroom – check Left Panel or you can work from your Unorganized folder)
1. Quickly go through all photos (I view 1-3 images at a time) and choose to keep or delete. This is a one second per image quick fly through. I hit the “X” key to reject and do not hit or flag anything to choose to keep.
2. View in grid mode (hit “g”) and choose to see only the photos flagged rejected. Do a quick scan to make sure there isn’t something in there by accident. Then go up and choose to delete photos from disk (now they’re gone for good).

Round 2: Multiples / Another Round of Culling
1. Go back through images in grid mode (I like to see about 3 in each row). Mark reject if I see any I want to delete. Pay attention to multiples. Click them and hit “N” to see them all together. Mark the ones I don’t want as rejected. I usually keep no more than 4 of the same shot and sometimes not any. Watch the difference though in multiple vs series. I like to have a series so if there is something slightly off I usually keep it. If the photos are truly the exact same shot, I choose the one I like the most and usually delete the others. I don’t like having two of a totally identical shot.
2. Again,view in grid mode (hit “g”) and choose to see only the photos flagged rejected. Do a quick scan to make sure there isn’t something in there by accident. Then go up and choose to delete photos from disk (now they’re gone for good).

OPTION: If I have a ton of photos from one event then sometimes rather than sorting and deleting as I described above, I’ll go through and choose all my keepers first. Using the pick flag (shortcut P) I quickly go through all the images and hit P for any that I am certain I want to keep. When finished I view only the picked photos and see if I have enough. If I feel like I have a good selection that captures the event then I’m all set. I view the non-picked images, select them all and delete them. Then I go back to my picked images, remove the flag and start organizing with keywords, etc.

Assign Star Rating
Quickly go through all photos (I like to see one image at a time) and rate either 2 Star or 4 Star or leave as is without a rating. Here’s how I determine my ratings (and it takes literally one second to quickly assess and assign).
0 Stars = I like it enough to keep it AND/OR I’m not comfortable deleting the photo for good.
2 Stars = I might want to use it in a photobook OR It’s just a great shot. I like it enough that I want it in my rated album. OR It shows a relationship OR It shows character or a signature expression OR I like the photo enough to take the time to edit it
4 Stars = I really love this picture. Like really, really love it OR I want this to show up in my “best of” album. OR I will most definitely want to include this in a photobook

Note: I often find images that I end up wanting to delete at this point too. If I happen to see an image that just isn’t working for me I go ahead and hit X to reject then at the end of my rating session go back up to the top choose to delete rejected photos from disk.

Keywording
All my rated images (2 star & above) get keywords. You can read up on how Lightroom lets you sync metadata which can help if you’re doing a bunch of photos taken at the same event. I keyword by the following and in this order (which seems to help me when syncing):
• WHERE
• WHAT (I have a huge list of “whats”. I like to get super descriptive, but that’s just me).
• WHO (I keyword everyone in the photo – even friends)
• CAPTIONS – In the metadata area (right panel) if you scroll down there’s a spot for captions. If a picture tells a specific story I can quickly jot it down here (a condensed version). Or if my kiddo said something funny that I want to remember I might jot it down on one of the images taken of her around that same time. I only use captions to tell what keywording cannot and I really don’t caption that often.

All Organized!
So now I consider my photos organized. Here are my next steps:
1. Still in the previous import file (see left panel in Lightroom). View your images in grid mode (g). Go to Attributes at the top and select to view images with 2 Stars or Greater than 2 Stars. Now you’ll have all your rated images. Select all these rated images and drag them to a collection called “NEED TO EDIT”. (this is a collection you’ll need to create).
2. Now, click on the folder called 2012-UNORGANIZED. Select all these images you just organized (make sure all are selected and not just the rated images) and drag them to the folder called 2012-PHOTO-LIBRARY. Here is where the images will reside for good. You’ll know that ALL the images in your 2012-PHOTO-LIBRARY have been rated, keyworded and totally organized. And your “Unorganized” folder is empty waiting for the next time you download your pics from your camera.

EDITING
1. In the last step I added all my Rated images to the “NEED TO EDIT” collection. When I’m in the mood to edit I choose a few images from this collection (highlight the images from within the Need to Edit collection) and I drag them to another collection called “EDITING NOW”. Then I click back to the NEED TO EDIT and hit delete to remove those images from Need to Edit.
2. I edit images from the EDITING NOW collection. Once editing is complete I delete the image from the Editing Now collection.
3. This is how I work on my editing. I typically drag 4-12 pictures into the Editing Now folder at a time. It makes me feel less overwhelmed.

SHARING
Facebook:
I share to facebook from within Lightroom. You can create a publish service (really easy to do as facebook is already set up in Lightroom). If I’m sharing to facebook I usually go in and add a title to each photo within the Metadata panel of Lightroom. The title will carry over when you publish to facebook. Lightroom has some export settings it uses when you share to facebook and LR goes ahead and resizes accordingly. I always choose to sharpen for screen upon export here and my facebook shares always look really good.

Smugmug:
I also publish to smugmug from within LR. I used to keep a blog, but I don’t blog anymore. I still like to participate and share in forums though so I use smugmug as an online photo back up and they make it really easy to grab the right size image to embed/share in a forum.

JPGS for Apple TV, Scrapbooking, Etc.
I use a mac and I love Apple TV. After editing I export all my 2star and above images as 12×16 JPG images into a folder on my hard drive called “JPG PICTURES”. Within that folder I have a folder for each year. So all my edited pictures get exported here as JPG images.

I then import these pictures into iPhoto and keep them organized by event. The keywords I added in LR carry over into iPhoto which is nice.

I use these JPGS for…
1) Sharing pictures w/ friends & family. If my sister is over and wants to see pictures I let her browse through iPhoto. I think the iPhoto interface is easier to navigate for her. I let my kiddo look at all our pics through iphoto too. This gives me piece of mind. I never have to worry that someone is going to accidentally delete my images or erase an edit or somehow corrupt my Lightroom library. I just prefer that I’m the only one accessing the images via Lightroom.

2) Blurb Photobooks. It’s nice to see just my edited pictures, already re-sized and in JPG format. This makes it really easy when I’m working on a blurb photobook.

3) Apple TV. I love that I can view my pictures on the big screen using Apple TV. I just navigate to iPhoto and can quickly play a slideshow on the TV just by choosing an album or event.

BACKUPS
I’m pretty OCD about backups. Here’s what I do.

RAW Images
Current Year is on my hard drive, backed up to my apple time capsule and backed up online to backblaze.
Past year RAW files are on an external drive at home and on a separate EHD I keep in my office.
My backup plan will be changing slightly as I intend to switch to crashplan and backup both my hard drive and external hard drives to crashplan (using their initial backup seed option). I’ll get around to doing that this winter.

JPG Images
All rated/edited JPG images (for all years) are on my hard drive, backed up to time machine, backed up online to smugmug and backed up online to backblaze.

 

I started this workflow in 2012 and it works really well for me. This is the first time I’ve been able to say that I am current in my photo organizing from 2012 through the present day. I’m in the process of going through years of older photos and organizing them in this same way. I have about 3 more years of pictures to go through and then I’ll be totally caught up from 2003 (when I started taking digital pictures) to current. I can’t wait!

Project Life Lightroom Printing Templates

It’s super quick and easy to print your own Project Life collage sheets from Lightroom.  I created a bunch of Project Life Lightroom Templates for printing 4×6 or 3×4 photo collages.
Here’s how they work

  1. Download (and unzip) the Lightroom Templates (CLICK HERE) (created in LR4 but may work in other versions)
  2. Open Lightroom, Select the Print (across the top)
  3. Over on the left pane where it says Template Browser, hover over the Lightroom Templates folder and right click.  Choose “create new folder”.  Name your folder something like Project Life.
  4. Then right click on your new folder and choose Import.
  5. Navigate to the templates in the folder and select them all, then hit ok or import
  6. Now you should see all your new Project Life lightroom printing templates on the left hand side under the template browser in the folder you just created.

Ok, so now the templates are there.  The next thing you need to do is go into Page Setup (bottom left in LR) and set up your page as a 4×6 Landscape, Borderless (minimal expansion if you can choose this option) and of course set it for photo printing.  Now you’re ready to create and print your collages.

I tried to label the project life printing templates according to the finished size you’ll end up using.  I print everything on 4×6 paper and if I plan to use the image in the 3×4 pockets I just print both 3×4′s on one 4×6 and cut it in half.  So, if the template starts with “3×4″ that means it’s intended to be printed and cut in half for the 3×4 pockets.  If it starts with “4×6″ then it’s intended to fit in the 4×6 pockets.  Some templates fill up the entire canvas, others have space left at the bottom because I might want to add my own handwritten journaling right onto the photo after printing.

So here’s a quick look at the template designs included in the Project Life Lightroom Printing Templates.

3×4 Project Life Lightroom Templates (remember they print on a 4×6 and then you cut it in half) The templates with multiple images on one 3×4 side will print grid style with the white space as shown.

1. This is a simple 2-up.  When I use the digital Project Life cards I often make my cards with text in Photoshop then import them into Lightroom so I can easily print two on a page without manually setting up the template in Photoshop.  Printing from LR saves me a ton of time.

 

2. Cut in half and you’ll have 4 images on one 3×4 card.

 

3. Collage in Lightroom

 

4. Collage in Lighroom

 

5. I left some space on the 3×4 card on the right in case I want to handwrite some journaling right on the print.

 

6. When cut in half you get one on the top and one on the bottom.

 

7. Space on the bottom of each 3×4 to jot some handwritten notes.

 

8. Space on the bottom of each 3×4 to jot some handwritten notes.  They will not print with the grid design, that’s just what was showing in LR.  They’ll print white here as no ink will hit the paper.

 

9. I made a varied design here as usually I print a full photo on one 3×4 card.  I kinda like this template on the left for instagram style pictures.  This looks like the square photo will print off center but you gotta keep in mind that your printer is printing borderless and you’ll lose some of the edge.  When I tested this print on my printer (Epson Artisan 730) the square image lined up perfectly.

 

10. Another one where space was left to include my own handwriting.  These don’t look totally symmetrical but when I tested them on my own printer (Epson Artisan 730) the layout printed perfectly on one 4×6 and when trimmed in the center the 3×4 layouts had the same amount of blank space on each side of the photo.

 

4×6 Project Life Lightroom Templates (these were not designed to be cut in half like the templates above)

1. Left some room on the bottom for handwriting

 

2. Left room for even more handwriting

 

3.  Simple two up design with the grid divider in the middle.  The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos go all the way to the edge with just the white divider down the center.

 

4. Collage design with grid. The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

5. Lots of little pictures The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

6. Simple collage (left and right template included) The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

7. Another collage (left and right template included) The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

8. Collage (left and right templates included) The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

9.  And another collage (left and right templates included) The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

10. 6 up bigger 2″-ish photos The white grid you see around the outside is cut off during borderless printing. The photos will go all the way to the edge so only the inside grid is visible.

 

(PS – all these pictures were taken by Skye Johansen - she is fantastic!!)

Hope you like the templates as much as I do.  It’s sooo much quicker for me than creating collages in photoshop.

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