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LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Life albums: An overview of my weekly process, Part 3


| Written by Ronnie |

Today's blog post is the third and final part of a mini series, in which I'm sharing an overview of my weekly process when it comes to creating layouts for our family's life album. In the first part, I talked about the process of documenting (ie. taking photos and journaling), selecting photos, and editing photos. In the second post, I ran through my process for exporting photos and creating the individual photo layouts in InDesign. In this third instalment, I'll be writing about the process of printing my photos and assembling them into the album layouts. If you have any questions about what I discuss here, feel free to get in touch via the comments or via email. (Remember you can click each of the images in this post for a larger version.)

1) Printing the JPEG layouts

On Sundays, Rick's parents come over in the afternoon to help look after the boys, and I use the time to prep posts for this blog. Because this is time spent in my studio, I also use the same block of time to print out my JPEG layouts for our family's life album. I used to try to do this during the week while I was looking after the boys during the day, but running up and down the stairs to check if the printer had run out of paper was simply too distracting. I eventually worked out it made more sense to print my JPEG layouts at a time when I would actually be working in my upstairs studio, and that's when I started doing the printing on Sunday afternoons instead.

To print the JPEG layouts, I import the JPEG layout files into Aperture. I then print these JPEG layout files with my Canon Pixma MG6360 onto Kirkland Signature professional glossy photo paper. People always ask me about the Pixma and my personal verdict is that it is awesome. I've been using a Pixma for the last six years and I have been very happy with the product lineup. The MG6360 is awesome because there is a tray for 6x4 paper and a tray for bigger-sized paper like A4 or Letter, which means you can fill up both trays and send different-sized print jobs to the queue and the Pixma will do the rest. The quality of the printing is nothing short of professional standard, in my opinion. 

One thing that I would suggest doing is to increase the contrast slightly at the point of printing to compensate for the fact that the colours in a printed photo are always less vibrant than the colours you see on the screen. 

Also, if you are using a new printer, it will take a few goes to calibrate your printer to get it to print the exact size that you want. When I first acquired the MG6360, I couldn't quite figure out why the photos kept printing out be slightly larger than they were meant to be. It took me awhile to get the print settings just right so that my JPEG layout files printed at the actual size that I set them up to be in InDesign. All I can say is to be patient with this step - you only have to do it once.

2) Assembling the page layouts

Once the photos are printed, I spend some time trimming the 3x4 photo layouts and any insert layouts that I've printed on the bigger-sized A4 paper. From there, the insert layouts go into the corresponding sized page protector (ie. either a 6x12 page protector or an 8x10 page protector.)

As for the 6x4 and the 3x4 photo layouts, I lay them out on my desk to determine how they will go into the Design A page protectors. The process here is pretty simple: I put the title card and the 'this week' summary card in their appropriate spot and then I lay down the rest of the photos in chronological order. I'll then stand back and see if it looks okay. Sometimes, I don't need to change a thing. Other times, I might just need to switch a few photos around to make the layout work better. Sometimes (though this does not happen often), I may decide to reprint a photo in black and white or to add white space around a photo to make the spread less busy.

And that's it. Into the pockets the photo layouts go, and the week is done. The page protectors get put into the 12x12 binder, and the binder goes back on the shelf. (Yay!)

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If you're new to InDesign and would like to find out more, you can have a read of this blog post about how InDesign is different to Photoshop.  You can also watch our mini InDesign video tutorials at anytime and if you're still keen to learn more, we'll be running our online class again later this year.

As always, if you have any questions, just let me know! And if you would like to share any of your own life album layouts, please feel free to leave a link in the comments below.

You can read all the other posts on life albums here.

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