If you’ve missed the first lesson in the family yearbook series, click here to catch up!
So, by now, you have already combined and organized all of your photos, right? Doesn’t it feel good? I love it when everything is neat and backed up! It makes me much less anxious about losing all of my important files, and it makes it easier to create the photobooks. Speaking of those family yearbooks, let’s get started on the next lesson!
The first thing you will need to do is transfer your photos to your iPad or iPhone. (If you are on Android, do a google search for how to transfer images from your computer, since each device seems to be different. You can also use dropbox on all devices.) You’ll want to work in chunks here, since you probably can’t fit a whole year of photos on your device. I usually transfer three months at a time, depending on the number of photos in each month. For instance, July had a ton of pictures this year because we took two major trips. I only transferred one month then.
To transfer your photos from a computer, open iTunes and click on your device. On the left hand side, click PHOTOS and then click sync. Choose the folder (for me it was the 2015 folder) and then below choose the option “Selected folders”. This is where you can choose a few months at a time. Also, as a side note – if you have subfolders within your monthly folders (which I do for events or trips that have a large number of photos, like our NYC trip or my daughters birthdays), you will need to bring them out to the same level as the monthly folders. iTunes won’t recognize the subfolders when it transfers – and having smaller, more manageable folders of photos (think 4-5 photobook pages per folder of photos, max) will make it easier to scroll through and decide on photos when you are putting your pages together. The number of photos in each folder will be displayed on the right hand side of the box when you select it.
After your files have synced, head to the App Store and download the Project Life app, if you haven’t already. And Android users, no worries – bookmark this page and come back next month because that’s when the Project Life App launches for Android.
It is a paid app ($2.29) but trust me – it will be the best $2.29 you ever spent. Once the app is downloaded, open it up, and watch the welcome video if you would like. It will then prompt you to start making a page. Click on it but then choose close to go back to the home screen.
The little notes tell you what each tab is, but here’s a quick summary:
- Orange: Make a Collage. This tab allows you to put pictures and Project Life cards together and make a collage that you can print at home or at a photo printing center. I love this tab for printing my instagram pictures, because I can collage a 4×4″ photo and two 2×2″ photos, and print them on a 4×6″. If you do physical Project Life (with an actually book, page protectors, real cards, etc) or any other pocket style scrapbooking, like the Instagram albums from We R Memory Keepers, this tab is sure to come in handy.
- Blue: Make a Page. This is the tab we will be using the most. It’s where you create all of your pages that will eventually make up your photo book, so we will talk more about this one later when we start creating our first page.
- Green: Get Info. This tab is where you find FAQs, contact info for any problems or comments that you want to send along, and a little welcome video. It also gives you the option to turn off those little captions (the help text).
- Yellow: My Library. This tab is used quite frequently as well – it’s kind of like the File Explorer for the app. It shows the pages you are working on, the pages that you completed, the kits you own, and the kits that are available to buy. We’ll talk also talk about this tab more later on.
There are also a couple of other options on the homepage, including a Holiday Cards tab at the top of the app (it was new for Christmas, and is currently showing Valentine’s Day cards, but I’m not sure if it’s a permanent addition to the app), and at the bottom (on the iPad app) is the option to order prints. (Note: I have never used this option, but my sister is a photographer and she uses the same printer that the app uses, so I know it’s high quality. I just print as a book through Shutterfly because they have great deals and I want them bound as a book.)
Before we get started, look through the kits (in the My Library tab) that come with the app. The kit comes free with the Strawberry, Midnight, and Kraft editions, as well as set of School Themed Cards. If you don’t want to use one of the included kits, look through the ones available for purchase – I have purchased a ton of them, which range in price from $1.19-$2.29 (Canadian prices, US prices are a little less).
I use a new kit for every book, and I use the same kit for the entire book. You can use several kits and match them to the occasion or season, if you like… I just prefer the coherence of one kit through the entire book. There are a few things I look for when choosing a kit. The first is the feel of the overall kit – I love the vintage style kits, but they just don’t suit my loud and crazy kids. I tend to choose brighter colored kits – I’ve done Strawberry, Kraft, Azure, Dazzle, Happy, Kiwi, and am currently using Playful for my 2015 book. I think Kiwi was my favorite so far!
I also tend to look at the number of cards in the kit. Some of the kits like the mini kits and value kits don’t have enough cards to make it through a whole book without repeating cards, so I tend to buy full kits. The only smaller kit I have used for a book is the Dazzle Kit (which was created by Jen from Tatertots & Jello, btw), because I didn’t have a whole ton of a pictures and was really in love with the kit.
Now let’s talk about the money here… People are used to getting a free app and kind of balk at having to buy in app purchases, but here’s why I’m okay with it: How much does scrapbooking cost? Forget about any other type of scrapbooking, how much would making a physical Project Life album cost? And how long would it take? Here in Canada, it would cost around 50$+ plus photo printing, and would take quite a while to compile. I don’t mind paying a one time app fee of $2.29, and $2.29 for a full kit ($1.19 for the smaller kits).
I also purchase all of the extra layouts ($1.19 for 10 layouts, and there are 5 extra packs) because I love having all of the extra options. All of these options are a one time purchase, and they stay in your app for you to use over and over, as many times as you want – which is also one way which makes it better than physical scrapbooking products. You can also transfer all of your products between devices by choosing “Restore Previous Purchase” in any of the add-on items.
So this weeks homework is to decide on a kit (or kits) that you want to use in photobook. Think about the feel of your book, the colors you want to use, and how many cards you will use. When viewing the kits on your device, you can see all of the cards available in the kits, but you can also view them on your computer by visiting the Becky Higgins website. This shows every kit available through all three forms of Project Life, so follow the guide to find the kits that are available on the app.
And if you want to really get ahead of the game, play around with the layouts and get a feel for the app. You can also click the images above to download the planner that I use with my photobooks to lay out the pages. To download, click the image and a PDF will open. It prints on legal sized paper, so make sure to set your printer to legal (or let your PDF viewer shrink it down to letter size, which will be the default setting when you try to print). I print it double sided (I just print the first side, then feed it back through the printer when I print the second side.) I’ll talk more about how I use it next week.
Next week, I’ll be back with more details, tips, and tricks for using the app to it’s full capability. I am so excited to get into the real meat with you – next week is going to be the most fun lesson, so don’t miss it!