Monday, March 5, 2012

Project Life Blog Hop - March Edition

Welcome to the Project Life Blog Hop for March (my first blog hop, but this is actually the second one for the year), I'm so excited to be joining in!!
Huge thanks to Jill for organising this blog hop!!

I think like most of the ladies (and if there are any guys) that do Project Life, I LOVE it! For me, it's like  I found a part of me that was missing (only I actually, never realised it was missing). I LOVE that I now that somewhere to keep all the little things that my daughter brings home from school (the certificates, drawings etc). I LOVE having somewhere to put all the flyers/posters from the events that we go to. And most importantly, I LOVE actually having photos printed and in an album, instead of just in folders on the computer!!

I just want to apologize in case this blog post doesn't go live at the right time, I'm hoping that I have worked out the time difference correctly!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE reading posts about how everyone else puts together their weekly (sometimes monthly or fortnightly spreads - that's the AWESOME thing about Project Life, it can be whatever you want it to be!) So that's what I have decided to share today, how I go about getting everything ready to put into my album (up to the photo printing stage).

The Basics:

  • I'm not taking a photo a day - instead just a weekly overview. Some weeks I have photos from everyday, and then some other weeks it's actually only a couple of days that are represented by photos. It's more about the stories, that I want to preserve.
  • My weeks run from Monday - Sunday. I know that a lot of other Project Lifer's do weekly spreads from Sunday - Saturday, but I have always thought of a week beginning on a Monday, and so it made sense for me to have my album this way.
  • I usually set aside some time on Monday or Tuesday when my daughter is at school, and go and print my photos ( I don't like the quality of photos that I get from printing at home, and a new printers isn't on the cards any time soon).

Camera's I Use:
I have a few of different cameras that I use:

  • Most photos are taken with my little point and shoot; OLYMPUS VG-140. For it's price it's not a bad little camera, and it's small enough that I am able to take it everywhere with me.
  • I also often use my DSLR - OLYMPUS E520. I would love to use this camera more, but with two littlies, one of whom thinks it's funny to run away all the time, it's just not practical lugging it around everywhere with me.
  • I also use my iPhone (well more often, my husband's iPhone, as I only have a 3G, and he has a 4S).
  • The last of the cameras that I usually regularly is my Fujifilm INSTAX mini 7s - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this camera! My parents were nice enough to buy it for me, while they were on an overseas holiday, as at the time they were very difficult (and expensive) to get in Australia. I didn't use it very much at first, as the film is also very expensive in Australia (about $20 for a box of 10 film), but I found a cheap store on eBay that sells the film, and at only about $7 a box, it was a bargain!

Photo Storage and Editing:
I download photos from my camera(s) every couple of days, or if I know if there is a photo that I *have* to use, I will do it straight away.
Any photos that I think (or know) I want to include in my layouts, I keep in a separate folder on desktop, which contains only Project Life weekly photos  - these photos are also located in another folder on my computer, according to month, in my 'family photos' folder. I know it might seem silly to keep some photos on my computer in two different places, but it's usually only around 10 photos a week, and it makes it so much easier to organise my albums, and deciding what photos to print. At the end of the year, I will probably just make sure that the PL folders are backed up on my external hard drive,and delete them off my desktop.

I edit my photos with Picasa (and occasionally with Picnik, if there's something that Picasa can't do). I have tried Photo Shop many times, and unfortunately I just haven't been able to master it. So, for now Picasa does everything that I need, and it's so easy to use, so I will just keep using that for now.

Some of my favourite functions/edits in Picasa include:

  • MAKING COLLAGES - any size, and with any number of photos you want to include.

I always make my collages in Picasa, and then print them with the rest of my photos, this way I only pay for the standard sized print, instead of having to pay extra for having made, a collage on the photo printing machines.

  • BOOST - I use this edit on almost every single one of my photos, it really helps to make the colours 'pop'. Occasionally a photo will look better without it, but that's usally only photos of my kids (who are both naturally fair), taken in direct sunlight. I only ever use a small amount, the default is the halfway marker on the slider, but that's often too much and will throw the colour balance out.

  • CROP - I always crop my photos in Picasa, before printing them. It takes literally two seconds to do, but saves so much time when printing (those photo printing machines are slow, hey!!) Sometimes when I get my photo back, the printers have cropped them a tiny bit more than I said (I guess it's due to a slight variation in paper sizes), but it's never enough to worry me, unless it's cropped some words off, in which case I will just move the words over, and reprint next week.
  • TEXT - I love adding text to my photos, means that I free up more space for extra photos (and with two small kids, I am always looking for ways to fit in extra photos).

    Obviously a lot of these edits can also be done in other photo editing programs, just become familiar with the one that you use.

    Photo Printing:
    In general I don't print my photos at home, unless it's something small for the little 3x4 pockets (a movie poster/dvd cover).
    I print most of my photos in-store at Officeworks, unless I have to go to the local shopping centre and then I will print at Kmart. If you're in Australia check out the Kmart online printing webpgae, as many stores have the option for you to upload your photos from home, and then pick them up from a nominated store, later that same day.

    It really is just a case of trial and error in finding a who you like to print your photos. I always used to print at a major department store (in Australia), but was finding that my photos were always coming out dark, yet, I know people who print at this same department store, but in different suburbs, and they have no problems.

    Sorry, it was such a long post.
    Hopefully next month, I will be able to share how I go about putting my layouts together.

    Your next stop in the blog hop is: Natalie @

    If you get lost along the way, you can see the entire list below:


    1. Thanks for sharing your process. I have yet to try picassa. I love how you organize your photos by week, very clever!

    2. Tamara, thank you so much for sharing your process! I also use Picasa, but have never really played around with all the different options - I had no idea it could do some of the things you mentioned - I've just always been in a hurry to get them printed! lol! I, too, am trying to learn PSE, but again...I'm an impatient person. I'm going to go play with Picasa today - I love the idea of adding text to the photo!

    3. Great post Tamara, an excellent overview of your process. We both do nearly everything the same - I use PSE for my photos, have never had any luck with Picasa.

      I print all of my photos at my local Big W and they always look great, this week went to a different Big W and the photos are too dark. Just have to stick to what works.

      Thanks for sharing.

    4. Excellent post! Thanks so much for sharing your process. I used to use Picasa but got away from it to use Picnik...only to hear that Picnik is going away next month. It was a sad discovery for me, but seeing what you do in Picasa makes me want to try it again (until I have the time to learn Photoshop).

      Can't wait to see more of your layouts!

    5. Thanks for sharing your process. I've been interested in using Picassa - so nice to see how someone else does it!

    6. Great information and ideas! Thanks.

      Hope to see you for the April blog hop :)