Did you know that last Saturday was National/International Scrapbooking Day? To celebrate, the 2013 Project Life Creative Team shared their favourite tips and layouts in this video which you can see on Becky’s blog. I can’t bear to watch my bit (seriously do not like seeing myself on camera), but I loved seeing the other lovely ladies! Apparently I have an Australian accent, but I’ll let you be the judge. Anyway, as the video clip was due just a week after I came out of the hospital with Edward, I had neither time nor headspace to actually share a useful tip. So to make up for it, I thought I’d share ten (actually, eleven) tips in this post about how to keep Project Life stress-free, easy and, therefore, fun!
1) Just do it. Try not to over-think the process, or the final result. Remember that if you really don’t like a spread, you can always re-do it later on. Chances are, a few weeks down the track, you’ll probably forget about whatever qualms you had about a certain page or layout and instead, you’ll simply be thankful for the fact that you actually documented your precious memories.
2) Keep it simple. You don’t have to use a multitude of embellishments to make your pages special. The whole point of Becky’s core kits (and mini kits) is to take the work out of it for you. Choose your favourite photos from the week, choose the cards from the kit(s) you have that work best with the colours in your photos, do some journalling (by hand or digitally), print your photos (and cards if you’re working digitally), and slip them into the pockets! At the end of the day, all you really need are images and words. Isn’t that what memory keeping is all about?
3) Allocate time each week to work on the previous week’s layout. This is one of the best ways to turn your Project Life efforts into a weekly habit! Work out how much time you take approximately to complete one week’s layout from beginning to end. Then try to schedule in that amount of time during the week. Maybe it’s when you have a day off from university, or maybe it’s during the evening when the kids are asleep, or maybe it’s over the weekend sometime when your partner is at home to help with the children. If you don’t have one big block of time, then you could try scheduling two smaller blocks of time. For me, I use Monday evenings to select photos, edit them where necessary and add my journalling/text directly onto the photos. I also layout any inserts I plan to include during that time. On Wednesday evenings, I print out the photos and slip them into the page protectors. This way, I only have to focus on one part of the entire process at a time, and therefore more inclined to dive into it.
4) Don’t stress about nailing your ‘style.’ Rest assured it will evolve over time. In fact, I don’t think it’s realistic to develop a ‘perfect’ style and expect it to always remain the same. Your style will change as you change, as you learn different techniques and as your photography style changes. I’ve only been doing Project Life for over a year, and I’ve noticed that my pages now look and feel quite different to when I first started. But I’m okay with that, because I know that my style a year ago was a true reflection of me at the time. In fact, I like the fact that my pages looked different back then – it makes me feel all the more nostalgic for that period in my life and our family’s life. I’m sure that in a year’s time, my style will be different to what it looks like now, and that’s good too.
5) Don’t compare your layouts to other people’s layouts. Sometimes there can be a fine line between being inspired by other people’s work and having it negatively impact on your confidence in your own memory keeping efforts. Be inspired, for sure, but don’t let it leave you feeling bad about what you’re doing. Remember, your style is your own, and should be a reflection of who you are.
6) Don’t worry too much about taking ‘perfect’ photos. A photo doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ in a technical sense for it to be a powerful photo. Some of my favourite photos are blurry and out of focus. Focus instead on capture the moment. After all, it’s those moments that will tell the story in years to come.
7) Use your phone camera and don’t feel bad about it. I know I say this a lot, but my iPhone camera is my favourite camera, over and above my DSLR. It’s the one I have with me all the time, which means it’s the one that allows me to capture moments as they happen. Plus, the quality is great, and all the wonderful apps available mean you can have your favourite photos processed/edited even before they hit your computer. I’m not saying don’t use your DLSR, but what I am saying is that you shouldn’t feel like your layouts are somehow inferior if most of your photos are taken with your phone camera.
8) Don’t feel bound by the 12×12 weekly layouts. If you find that week by week layouts aren’t working for you, or if it’s simply not realistic at this stage of your life to be creating a spread every week, then change it to make it suit you! For example, you could do monthly layouts instead, or you could do two weeks per spread. You could even do a one week layout this week, and a two week layout the next week. The whole point of Project Life is that it’s extremely flexible. Also, if you find that the 12×12 size is too overwhelming for you, then consider smaller options. For example, you could use one of Becky’s mini albums or you could look into a 6×8 album (I like these by Simple Stories).
9) If in doubt, use inserts! If you find that for one particular week, you have so many photos that it’s become an obstacle to even start because you have no idea which photos you’re going to include or exclude (because you just love them all), then consider throwing them into a simple collage template and printing these out as inserts. That way, you can include as many as you want and you don’t have to be stumped by the seemingly all-too-difficult task of selecting photos.
10) ‘Double up’ to catch up. If you’ve fallen behind for a few weeks or a few months and you are wanting to catch up, you could try one of two different approaches. The first one is to break it up by doing all the photo selection for those weeks/months in one go, all the editing in one go, all the journaling in one go, and then all the printing in one go (and so on and so forth). Or you could just ‘double up’ on your current weeks. So for example, if you’re behind for four weeks, you could for the next four weeks simply plan to do the current week as well as one of the weeks that you missed out on. That way, the workload is spread out and you don’t have to think of the catching up as this monumental task that you have to set aside a whole weekend to tackle. This is the approach I took to catch up on the first thirteen weeks of 2012 (since I only started PL in May), and it worked beautifully.
11) Be encouraged by your efforts, rather than dwelling on what you haven’t done. I think this is the most important tip of all: don’t give yourself a hard time about what you haven’t recorded, but instead, celebrate what you do manage to document. We all live busy lives and the reality is that it’s impossible to document every special moment that occurs. Instead, focus on living in the present and when you are able to capture something on camera or in writing, be happy and encouraged!
Supplies used: Becky Higgins Design A page protector; Becky Higgins 8×10 vertical page protector; Kodak 210gsm glossy premium photo paper. All photos printed on the Canon MG6360 Pixma using genuine Canon ink.
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Other posts you might be interested in reading:
My weekly Project Life process from beginning to end
Tips on taking photos for Project Life
What you need to get started with Project Life
You can read all my Project Life posts here.
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Project Life is a system created by Becky Higgins that is designed to simplify your efforts to document life and help get your photos into a book. To learn more about the product and how to get started, click here.
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