March 24, 2017

Pocket Scrapbooking - Dealing with the Photos

I've been working away on my Project Life for 2016 and it's been fun so far, except for the photos.  And by that I mean the editing, sizing and ordering of the photos.  

I apparently take a LOT of photos - the sheer number I have to work with is smothering.  So in an effort to deal with the problem, I'm drastically reducing the amount of photos I take.  I read this post on Becky Higgins' blog in early January and it offered a great solution.  While I can't do much about the number of photos I've taken in the past, Becky's "daily delete" concept is helping me keep the photos I'm taking now at a manageable level.  I may not take photos every day but when I do take them, I review them as soon as possible and delete ones that aren't part of the story, are duplicates or just aren't great photos.  For example, my husband and I went out to dinner and a hockey game recently and I took 12 photos that night - I photographed the outside of the restaurant, the inside of the restaurant, the menu (to note exactly what we ordered), our drinks, our dinner, and the action during the game.  I don't need all 12 photos for my pocket life pages of that night; I think I'd use 2-3 pockets at most.  So I deleted the photos of everything but the inside of the restaurant (we'd never been there before and I liked the decor), our food (after noting what we ordered in the file name) and one shot of the hockey game.  Those three photos convey the essence of that night.

I'm trying to be more intentional about what I photograph as well.  Our phones and cameras make it so easy now to take too many photos.  I'm being more selective about not only the photos I print but the ones I even keep on my camera roll on my phone or on my camera - just because I took the photo, I don't have to scrap it or even keep it.

I posted a photo of one of my pocket pages on Instagram and mentioned that I was frustrated by the photo part of the process.  I discovered that I'm not alone in the whole "how do I deal with the photos" issue and received several helpful comments that I'd like to pass along here.

Someone suggested that I try the Project Life app because of the ease of photo sizing.  I can manipulate the photos virtually until I'm satisfied with the look.  While that might be something I try in the future, right now the app doesn't appeal to me.  I've already invested money into physical products that I want to use.  In addition, I enjoy the physical nature of the process - sorting through embellishments, adding stamps, cutting labels, etc.  Some people recommended a hybrid approach: set up and print pages using the app and then add "real" embellishmentsAgain, I'm not sure that this is for me but it's something to consider for the future.

I was also having difficulty deciding which photos to print as 4x6 and which photos to print 3x4.  The common solution offered was to print the vertical photos as 3x4 and the horizontal ones as 4x6.  I also take and print photos in squares but I've been adding these to the 4x6 cards and that is working out just fine.

Another tip was to try to get into a routine with the photo processing and I've been doing much better with this.  I have a Canon Selphy and another larger photo printer but I intend to order prints from an outside processor to be more cost effective.  I've been editing, sizing and ordering photos at the end of each month so far this year.  I can stay with this habit, I won't be confronted with a multiple-month backlog of photos at the end of 2017.  I file the printed photos in a photo box, separating months and important events with index cards or paper scraps.

Overall, I'm trying not to spend too much time agonizing over the photo decisions.  I just pick a size and move on; this isn't not rocket science.  I can always reprint one or two photos at home if necessary.

Since I just implemented all these changes this year, I do have many more photos from the past than I need for my pocket pages.  I'm not stressing about these either.  The leftover photos can be used for other projects like layouts and mini albums or for "testing" techniques - I will practice stamping or writing directly on them so I don't waste the photo I really want to use.

So that's what I've learned so far - do you have any photo tips to share?  Please leave me a comment if you have any suggestions.   


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post because I come at the photo thing from entirely the other angle. I don't take enough photos! So often growing up I heard "save your film for something special" that I still have to make an effort to take pictures. I loathe ordering prints too and I need to do that this week. I had been printing at home with a selphy but I think the pictures I printed maybe five years ago that way are starting to fade. Not good.

  2. Thanks for sharing your photo process, it's something that I have been overwhelmed by lately. I have tried sorting and deleting some while listening to my husband read to our youngest and that seems to be a good way to tackle it - consistently spending 15-20 minutes a few nights a week. I think I also need to embrace pocket scrapbooking for the everyday life things that I want to document. Life is moving too fast these days and the fleeting things that I want to record are better suited to a 4x6 card than a big layout.

  3. A great post with a wealth of information. I am attempting the daily purge of my phone but I alayz print in-house. I have been toying with the idea of Project Life as I think it might suit our life as retirees - more ordinary daily moments than big events.

  4. WAY TO GO on what changes you've made for yourself!!

    I use the PL app to make collages then upload them to Shutterfly & print as 4x6s. This helps me get the ones I want in 3x4 super easily & increases the number of pictures I get for my buck.