going digital with project life for 2014

project life 2014 - going digital ==> tracy-larsen.com/blog

i’m doing it. i’m going completely digital with project life for 2014. and i’m so excited about it!

why digital you ask?

well, for me it comes down to a few good reasons…

1.  digital is faster + easier for me to complete my weekly pages. life is busy and i want to document it. so it’s all about getting it done. by going digital, i can drop photos into my weekly digital templates and be done. when i used a physical album i had to order my photos for printing, drive to costco to pick them up, sort through the photos, cut down some of them for 3×4 pockets and then print out my journaling cards. it turned into quite a process for me. so going digital is the way for me.

2.  space + book size. i’ve done project life for the past two years and each year i need two 12×12 albums to fit it all in. these albums take up space. and looking forward, i have no idea where i would keep two big albums for each year – on top of all of the other photo projects that i want to complete.

3.  design.  i love the clean + simple look of a hard cover photo book. i love how it looks like a real book that you would buy in a bookstore. i love the idea of documenting my family in our very own book format. sleek. slim. all lined up on a shelf. i’m giddy just thinking about what it will be like to have all of these project life books looking so pretty all together on my shelf…

4.  i can use my simply white photo templates to continue to keep my design clean + simple while adding the photos that tell our stories.

5.  i can make more photo books.  i can print extra copies of our project life photo books and give one to each of the boys one day if they would like their own. and if something should ever happen to these photo books (eek!!!), i could always get a new one printed.

6.  the security of backing up our family story. i can now back up our whole entire project life album in more than one place. (please tell me you have your photos + project life pages backed up!)

7.  i got a taste of digital project life when i did december daily 2013 using project life digital templates and completely fell in love with the whole process. the end.


i set up a few things to help simplify my whole process for this year…

i created 52 folders (weeks 1 – 52) in my pictures file on my computer to hold my photos + weekly page files.

project life 2014 - going digital ==> tracy-larsen.com/blog

i printed out my weekly design a planning pages and put them into a 3-ring notebook. even though i’m going digital, i still need paper + pencil to plan it all out. download a free copy of this printable planning page here.

project life design A planning templates printable ==> tracy-laresn.com/blog

i added week numbers to my calendar so that i always know what week i’m working on because for me project life is always a work in progress. in ical you can add the week numbers through the ical preferences, but for some reason i couldn’t figure it out. and i like my numbers showing up in my monthly calender format. so i found a link to this week numbers calendar and just loaded that right into my ical. that saved me the whole long process of typing in each week number one by one! (i’m a mac girl, so i’m not sure about the process for any other system, but i’m sure you can google it.) i like to start my weeks on mondays so i don’t break up the weekends.

project life 2014 - going digital ==> tracy-larsen.com/blog

i created weekly collections for project life in lightroom. i use lightroom to manage and edit my photos. (i also use photoshop for photo editing too.) when i import my photos onto my computer, i name them with the date. then as i’m editing photos, i can just drag + drop them over to these weekly collections. when i’m ready to put my project life pages together, instead of searching through all of the photos i have taken that month, all i need to do is click on the weekly collections and i can see all of the photos that i wanted to use for that week. to do this in lightroom, go to the collections panel and choose “create collection set.” (think of this as the big folder to hold all the other little folders. i called this “2014 project life.”) then to add the individual week collections click on the collection set you just created, then right click and choose “create collection” from the pop-up menu.

project life 2014 - going digital ==> tracy-larsen.com/blog

my plan is…

1.  to create weekly digital project life pages and keep all of my files on my computer backed up in the cloud and on an external hard drive. you can never back-up to too many places! i would be devastated if i did all of this work and then lost it all before i could get it printed at the end of the year.

2.  to upload copies of my weekly pages to a folder on my ipad so i can digitally “flip” through the pages of our project life photo book as the year progresses. (i’ll be waiting until the end of the year to print the entire photo book.) i did this for my digital december daily pages and it was so easy! i just emailed the .jpg files to myself, saved them on my ipad, created a new album on my ipad and copied + pasted the files into this new album. when i saved new pictures it did not add them to the end of the album in chronological order, so i just tapped on the photo to copy + paste it into the right place in the album. the best part about this? i can flip through my project life pages from anywhere – as long as i have my ipad with me.

project life 2014 - going digital ==> tracy-larsen.com/blogwhen i started this project, i used cathy zielske’s life basics no. 01 template set for my weekly page templates. but the corner’s in cathy’s templates are not perfectly squared, although they are pretty close. because i couldn’t find exactly what i wanted, i made them my own page templates and now sell them in my shop! so, now i am using my simply white life pages 12×12 page templates. these page designs have a nice amount of white space around the edge of the page and also have squared corners on the photos inside of each template. i have lots of different page layout designs and i’m always adding more as i create them for my own design needs.

simply white life pages 12x12 digital page templates for project life, pocket scrapbooking and digital memory keeping  >>>  hellotracylarsen.comsimply white life pages 12x12 digital page templates for project life, pocket scrapbooking and digital memory keeping  >>>  hellotracylarsen.com

 now, waiting until the end of the year to get all of the pages together and our project life photo book ordered is not going to be easy, but i know it will be worth it when i’m holding my first book in my hands.

how are you doing project life in 2014?

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Shari - I am sooooo excited that you are going digital with Project Life this year. I am planning to start PL and want to do digital as well. I LOVE all of your simple photo templates so very anxious to see how you use those! :)

Shirsha - I am still on the fence about going digital for PL. I went with the physical version in 2013 and while I did manage to get it all into one album, it’s become super big & super heavy. If I were to do this properly, I would need 2 albums. I am already struggling with space. I will likely never have a room to “craft” or display all these albums, especially as they add up over the years. Loved your post, though. One question for you (and it probably sounds silly!) – how would you do inserts in the digital version? Just add them as full pages?

Casey - Woohoo! I’m a huge fan of digital project life… you won’t regret it! And what an AWESOME idea about saving jpgs to your ipad so you can flip through the album any time. I am SO going to try it! That’s the only downfall of digital… waiting all year to ‘see’ it. But the sleek, matching, easily-duplicated albums on the shelf make it all worth it. :)

Erin - Project Life is so much work so I definitely understand the choice you made!

I don’t think could ever bother with it – I think 52 or 365 photography projects & then getting the photos printed in a photo book is the best option for me :)

Erin // http://www.erinoxnam.com/

Liza - These are such great tips, Tracy. You make it seems so simple. I’m going to have to give it a try. I have a question. Are these going into albums or a printed book?

Meghan Flinn - I did PL digitally for 2013 and my son’s baby book and loved it! I might go for a physical book when my son is older so I can have him write on some of the cards, but otherwise digital is so much easier for me. I love your idea of putting the pages on your iPad to flip through during the year! Do you know where you plan to print the book.

Kimberly - I’m going to try digital this year as well! I’m a bit nervous since I’m not a PSE pro. I do think (hope) it will save me some time, though. I look forward to seeing what you do with PL this year as I love the look of your layouts and use of white space. I would love if you could post a tutorial of how you made the 3×4 png files for your title page. Creating png files is a process that continues to stump me.

Sheri - Welcome to the world of digital project life!! :) I have been doing it digitially since 2009. I now have 4 books on my bookshelf and will soon be adding 2013!! Trust me, you’ll love having that nice “slim” book sitting on your bookcase!!!

I look forward to following along on your digital journey. I have loved your simple design approach! :) I am already in awe of your organization!! I need to be better at that for 2014 :)

Melissa - Super excited to see your digital layouts this year. I just started 2014 by going digital too, and I’m also using the Cathy Z templates, so you’ll be great inspiration for me! :) Yay!

Chrystal - Yay! I did digital pl in 2013 and just sent my book to be printed. I cannot wait to see the finished product! I’m so glad you are going digital n
Because I love your design style and I’ve been looking for digital pl inspiration. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Regina - After reading this I am so tempted to do digital. Simple and clean. I feel the same way about the album size. Where to store and how bulky it is. Also for the last two years I have only made it through 6 months of the two years. What a downer. After reading this and looking at Casey’s and Sheri’s blogs I am 80% tempted. I can’t wait to see more from you Tracy and the others for inspiration.

Yolanda - I have tried traditional PL and it just didn’t work for me. I realy hated cutting photos and I found the entire album unwieldy to work with. I have been tempted to try it again with the smaller 6×8 albums I see, but know in the end that I’d probably get annoyed with the same things that annoyed me the first time.

For 2013, I created a digital family album using Blurb, organized by season instead of weeks or months, because I ebb and flow in my picture taking (and because I started it in June). This year, I would like to tell something closer to weekly stories, but I haven’t seen the exact digital PL solution that has the simplicity I’m looking for (clean lines, white space, non-rounded corners, text + photos and little else).

What I so wish someone would come up with (and if they have, I would LOVE for someone to send me a link) is a way to modify the Print templates or Book templates to work with Project Life from within Lightroom. It would make it so much easier and fast.

Joanne C. - Tracey,
Im so glad you jumped into the digital bandwagon. This will be my 3rd year doing digital and I love it. It’s true, its very hard to wait until the next year to see the result, but seeing that book at the beginning of the year is worth it.

I wanted to share a tip on how to add the weeks into your ical.

Go to system preferences, Date and Time, and click on the checkbox to “add week numbers”. However, since the calendar starts on Sunday and for PL we work on Monday thru Sunday, you should change that there too. Make it so that your week starts on Monday instead of Sunday. I think you might have to do this also on the Ical preferences too, but it should work fine.
THe only bad thing is that it doesn’t work on the iphone calendar so those have to be added manually.

Hope it helps!

michelle - I’m totally with you on the simplicity of going digital. However, I’m sticking with the old fashioned method for now. There is something about it that I love. But the idea of beautiful photo books at the end of the year is super tempting.

fiona - hooray for digital! that’s how i’ve done it the last 2 years and it really is so fast. i love the tip about saving the jpgs on my ipad so we can flip through the album! that’s been one of my least favourite things about digital…waiting until the end of the year. those templates look good too. i like the extra white space on them! i look forward to following your process!

Daisy - I do a hybrid version, I send off my photos to be developed at Mpix but I print the journaling cards at home, then put it all in a pocket page and binder. The main reason I didn’t go completely digital (even though my non-project life scrapbooks are completely digital) is that I love flipping through pages to see how the year went. I like your method of putting pages on your ipad, I might try that! Where do you plan to print your book at the end of the year, have you decided yet?

Liza Lake - Wow, Tracy. I was so excited to see your post this morning. I’ve been wanting to start doing digital scrapbook pages for our family photos and I think I’ll take the New Year – and your wonderful guidance – as a motivator to finally get started. I was able to find all the project life digital stuff online and plan to download the starter kit to play around with. Thank you so much for sharing all your work and guidance. You are ever inspiring girl!

Susan - I did the week thing in physical version for PL for 2013 and am just finishing it up. I have loved the whole process…love working with paper…love the result, etc. BUT IT IS SUCH A TIME COMMITMENT! I am with you…editing the photos, uploading them to Costco, running to Costco to pick them up (and always another $100 of merchandise I didn’t need but bought because I was there! LOL!) was so darned time consuming. And I did two huge volumes for 2013…they take up so much room…and you’re right…they are so heavy!
I really didn’t want to go digital because I love working with paper but after reading your post and checking out some of the links I got excited about it again. I am going to do it digitally, too…and am very inspired by your simplicity and clean look. I think I can do that and it won’t take quite so much time!!! I love the CZ templates for the reasons you say. I think I can do this!
And I will get my paper fix doing an album for my third grandson who was born a few months ago…
And still make cards.

Thanks so much for the inspiration! I needed this!
Did you make your 2014 cards? Love that grey….

Back from the Weekend | The Everyday and Beyond - […] posts to read if you’re going digital on Project Life: Tracy Larsen & Cathy […]

Heather - Question- Your title page is squares and not 4×6, can the project life digital designs be stretched to fit those square dimensions or did you just create some of your own?

Project Life 2014 – Title Page | sabrinahblog - […] of the printing and the cutting, which is why next year I’m probably going to go digital. Tracy Larsen has some great tips on how to go digital and it also includes a free digital starter kit, worth […]

tracy - Hi Heather! The page itself is a square 12×12, but the images inside are basically 4×6 and 3×4. Are you referring to the digital project life products needing to be stretched to fit? All of the project life cards have rounded corners, so yes, you would need to stretch or enlarge the cards to make them fit in the squared spaces.

Jessica - Tracy! Thank you so much for this post. I am tentatively doing digital for 2014. I have a couple of reservations about it – one of which was the ability to look through the album throughout the year. Your iPad tip is the best! I just uploaded my two pages for week 1 and love it so much.

(One other interesting solution I read about somewhere was printing out quarterly paperback books, so you can look at them before your big yearly book is finished. Then you can save the quarterly books for your kids or other family members.)

Veronika - great post! think i will start my project life digital too… I was wondering about flipping through your pages on the ipad! How do the square pages fit the ipad´s screen? Isn´t it really tiny if you want to have the whole page on your screen?
Please tell me I am wrong as I would LOVE to have my pictures with me on my ipad and not having to wait until I print everything!

Jessica - Hey. I just figured out how to move images around in an album without copying and pasting! In the album, push “select,” and then simply drag and drop.

tracy - I love the idea of quarterly soft cover books! I might have to try that… :)

tracy - Hi Veronika, The square pages will show up just fine on an iPad screen. You can always pinch to open and enlarge the image if you need to see it closer on your iPad screen. Test out a 12×12 image and upload it to see what it will look like.

tracy - Jessica, Where do you find “select”? I love a good shortcut!

Veronika - Thanks for your answer, Tracy! I asked because I didn´t have the ipad, i was only planning to buy one and so I couldn t test it myself. But now I am a proud owner of a brand-new ipad and have my first layouts on it – it´s great, you´re right!

veronika - sorry, it´s me again. Another question. Do you edit your pictures (and if so – how? do you use filters and effects? And do you try to follow this editing style all year or do you see each page as a new layout?
Some pf my pages look great with unedited pictures, but others don´t. Now I am not sure if I like the whole year to have the same style or if I can have some pages edited and some not? What do you think?

so, i did it – project life. » Angie Warren - […] totally LOVE it. I was inspired by Tracy’s article on her choice to do Digital Project Life, found here. She encouraged me to just start this week. Not to feel overwhelmed or guilty or whatever about […]

kelly polizzi - this has so inspired me to start one. wish there was somewhere that told you what to do and where to go. I’m scared once i figure out where to download the digital project life, that im not going to know how to incorporate your templates. Do you have a step by step post or instructions somewhere on this?

kelly polizzi - i think what im really trying to figure out is, how to put the templates into a book. which company do you use? are they easy?

kelly polizzi - do you happen to have those number cards for sale or know where i might find some like that? Hope you’ll be sharing in 2015

Dianne Keddy - I am on the fence about going totally digital. I absolutely love the crisp clean look. I guess my big concern is the actual printing of the book. What printing services do you recommend once you have completed your project.

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