Project Life 2012 | My Process

Yesterday I talked a little bit about how I was able to document all of 2011 using the Project Life format, even though I started in March. I had a lot of trial and error and I wasted a lot of time digging back through photos and sorting through the mess in my iPhoto library looking for pictures to use in my Project Life layouts.

I knew there had to be a better way, and that if I was going to keep up with this project I’d have to find it. I needed layouts to come together quickly and easily, or I’d be sunk. Some weeks I have time to play around and I want to spend that time working on my layout, not locating pictures in a disorganized mess! Other weeks I need to get the layout done in a few minutes here and a few minutes there – again, no time to waste looking for the pictures!

Last summer I took the Finding Photo Freedom class from Stacy Julian at Big Picture Classes. I still stand by my assertion that it was the best money I have ever spent on my scrapbooking/photography. I currently have over 10,000 photos spanning 60+ years and I can locate any one photo in less than 30 seconds. Seriously.

iPhoto Organization

It was all of the photo organization from that class that gave me the inspiration to organize my Project Life Workflow. I use iPhoto ’09, but any program that allows you to use keywords on your photos will work for this. In iPhoto you can enable keywords by clicking View > Keywords. To keyword photos you can hover over any photo and see “add keywords” underneath the picture. Click there to open the keyword text box.


Several times a week I plug-in my phone and/or my camera and import all of the pictures I have taken since I last plugged in. Sometimes it’s only a couple of pictures, other times, hundreds. It just depends on the week.

Once the import is complete I get to work. I always take a few minutes to keyword each set of pictures right after they are imported, that way they are done and I don’t have to worry about it. I use lots of keywords, but there are 2 that I want to focus on today – Project Life and ProjLifeComplete.

As I scroll through the recently imported photos, any that I think I might like to use in my Project Life layout I tag with Project Life. Simple, right?

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 12.08.55 PM

See the Project Life keyword?

Smart Albums

I also created a Smart Album called (can you guess?) Project Life. Smart Albums are quite possibly the best things ever for photo organization because they allow you to set parameters for what photos they display. My album grabs any picture that I tag with the keyword Project Life, which makes it so easy to find the pictures that I want to include every week.

In Photoshop I click on my Photos folder, and then the Project Life Smart Album. All of these photos are ones that I have keyworded throughout the week for this project.

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 12.10.57 PM

After I complete my layout I need to get those photos OUT of my Smart Album to make room for the next week’s photos. I created a second keyword, ProjLifeComplete for this. Any photo tagged with this keyword is excluded from the Smart Album, regardless of what other keywords are there. As soon as I finish a Project Life layout, I go back to iPhoto and add the keyword ProjLifeComplete to the photos that I used.

Here’s my Smart Album set-up – you can create your own Smart Album by clicking File > New Smart Album, and setting whatever parameters you’d like.

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 12.09.39 PM

It’s this one little thing that takes me 15-20 minutes per week that saves me hours when I go back to make each layout. So, even if you feel behind, this one little trick could make all the difference if you choose to pursue Project Life for your albums. If you are already doing Project Life how do you organize it?

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins

Project Life is the creation of Becky Higgins. You can find the Digital Edition here.

Project Life Posts | 2012 | 2011


3 thoughts on “Project Life 2012 | My Process

  1. Joy says:

    Thanks you so much for this post. Very very handy. My iPhoto library is a mess.

  2. […] Project Life is the creation of Becky Higgins. You can see my process for Project Life here. […]

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