The Rusty Lens » Photography and Lifestyle Blog

Masthead header

My Project Life System | How I print my photos

project life systemThanks to Project Life I am caught up on printing photos for the first time in ten years.

And it was so easy. How easy? I set aside 2-3 hours this week and I finished 5 months of photos. And now my family has a gorgeous album of photos and journaling to pour through.

Let me share more about my system because it took me awhile to figure out what worked for me. For about two years I just bought more stuff thinking that it would just magically happen. I came from the old world of scrapbooking and I just didn’t have time for it anymore and now I had double the children.

I start in Lightroom where I have my photos organized by month. I use the collection feature to make a gallery of images from the month I want to print. I am highly selective. This is where you will save or lose the most amount of time right here. I don’t print all the photos. I print the ones that tell our story. I print the ones that refresh my memories. I do include my favorites, but I don’t just pick a photo because it’s pretty. I also try not to pick many in a series, I try and pick the one that represents it best. If I do grab a series I will likely shrink it down so it doesn’t take a ton of space. I allow for four two-page spreads for each month. Sometimes I will use less, and sometimes there will be special events like a birthday or trip that deserve their own spread. For January 2017 I used six spreads as we did a cross country road trip and I wanted to include more of the travel photos. I am going to voice my inner Pirates of the Carribean, these aren’t rules they are merely guidelines. You do you.

create collection in lightroom for project life

collection project life

After I have a collection I rate my photos. A typical spread for me consists of 7-8 4×6 size photos or spots and 8 3×4 photos spots. I stick to the Project Life A protector design because it works well for a number of horizontal photos I have. I will rate the photos I want larger higher and give them more attention. Then I will break up the other photos which I usually put two to a 3×4 slot which makes them 2×3 inches. I use premade templates that I designed to work with my system, but also my printer. My printer has an offset so you will see my templates are not perfectly centered (or else I would offer them to you). I insert them into the print templates and hit the print button and save them to a foldergallery selection project life

I then go to my digital card section and find appropriate ones for the photos I’m working with. I see how much “design” space I have, or room for journaling, select the cards and add them to the collection I’m working with. I add them to the right templates and print them to a folder as well.

journal cards for project life

print screen for project life

I open all the saved files in Photoshop. For two reasons. One, I can add text to them, but I also have an action that resizes everything and sends it to my printer as a 4×6 and then closes the files that have printed. When my journaling cards open I can add a text box and include my journaling. I love handwritten journaling, however, mine is barely legible so it makes a distraction.
title card for project life

If you’re a visual person, I create a quick and rough video of my process.

Project Life via LR from The Rusty Lens on Vimeo.

I print using a Canon Pixma  5520 Printer which I don’t think is available, but there are many comparable ones and Kirkland 4×6 Photo Paper, it’s a quality I like, but it’s also very economical which I love. I like to print at home so I can make changes and work on a spread all at once. But you could easily send your prints off to a lab of your choice.

project life print your photos

I use a Fiskars paper trimmer, and make the cuts that are necessary and then slide them in.DSC_6095z

If I have any remaining spots I look for something to fill them, or else. Bam. Done. 21 photos for this spread while maintaining plenty of white space and avoiding the look of just a photo album. DSC_6101z

On the following pages I will add more detailed journaling about our month and the events and appointments we had.

Are you new to this and want to get started? The best recommendation I have is to start with Becky Higgin’s Project life Core Kit. It is a binder, page protectors, and a core kit of cards.

This is how I started and it definitely helped me get a better grasp of it.

The only downside to the project life core kits is that you get lots of duplicate cards, so if you don’t think you will use the cards repeatedly then you have a few options. You can buy the digital version. My favorite collections are the everyday edition and the Project 52 Fresh edition. Follow Becky Higgins, the creator of Project life and keep your eye out for sales!

I have also signed up for a monthly kit over at The Lily Pad so that I get monthly or seasonal cards and refresh my stash without spending a ton of money or creating clutter in my home.

project life with lightroom

(Visited 493 times, 1 visits today)



  • July 2, 2017 - 6:40 am

    Gretchen Willis - Hey. When you say you go to your digital card section what does that mean? Are those the templates you designed? Or is it something else you purchased?ReplyCancel

    • July 5, 2017 - 8:25 pm

      admin - The “digital card section” is in my Lightroom catalog where I keep all my digital version cards so I can look through them easily to pick them for print.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *