Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



documenting our summer vacation

My family spent the first couple weeks of our summer in Hawai’i and it was awesome. Everything went so great. We did everything exactly perfect, the kids never fought or complained, and … okay, you know I’m kidding, right? NO, it wasn’t seamless, but yes, we honestly did have such a good time. That trip sure was a welcomed break from our day-to-day life and responsibilities at home and we really did appreciate our time together in one of our favorite places on the planet.

While in Hawai’i, I was pretty intentional about the social media sharing I did. On Facebook and Instagram I shared some photo tips every day. I shared what kind of pictures I was taking, how I was taking them, why I was taking them… that sort of thing. All for the purpose of continually wanting to inspire you in your own quest to document your story. This goes right along with our ongoing hashtag — #BHPhotoTips.


When it comes to documenting a particular trip / excursion / event, I find it beneficial to … wait for it … begin with the end in mind. Yep. Why do I keep bringing this up? Because it greatly affects my documentation. So. Hawai’i. The scrapbooking “end result” I’m was aiming for with this trip (it’s not the same with each trip) was to condense our memories into (4) two-page layouts that will go in our family yearbook.

That’s all?? Yep, that is all. So because I had that goal, I felt from the beginning that I wanted to take fewer pictures. This might go against the grain of how so many others feel about a big trip, but it felt like a solid plan for me. It meant my phone was tucked away most of the time, first of all. It also meant the pictures I would take will be more intentional / meaningful.


Still with me? So get this. I called my goal “The Daily Dozen.” I aimed to have no more than 12 pictures in my camera roll at the end of each day. That’s it. That’s all. I knew I would likely take a few more than that, but I went into this trip with a plan to delete each day… to get to 12. Why limit myself? It’s what I do, friends. It’s a creative challenge … which I tend to always do when it comes to documentation and traveling.

And you know what? That crazy vision / game plan / challenge? It worked. The layouts you see in this post are the final 8 pages I created with the Project Life® App… which I did in the palm of my hand on the flight home at the end of the trip. (Picture me dropping a mic right now.)


The designer cards I used for these 8 pages are from the Everyday Edition of Project Life. I knew I wanted the colors in my photos to take center stage, so I opted for designs that would support — not overwhelm — our photos.

While traveling, and even though I was sharing those things along the way, I let our audience on social media know that I was (obviously) on vacation and not scrolling and engaging with my phone as much. Part of me felt bad for not being responsive when you had great questions and kind things to say, but it’s the whole good-better-best principle that took over my decision to do the BEST thing — which was to BE with my family, soak in our time on the islands, and absorb every minute of that time together.

All that said, we rounded up some of your questions from social media in this blog post so I could actually answer those here. Now that the bags are unpacked, laundry is back on track, and I’ve caught up on some emails and to-do’s, let’s dive into a little post-Hawai’i Q&A, shall we?

Q: Do you use a waterproof case on your phone? If so, which one?

A: You know what? I didn’t use one this time! Shame on me, right? It’s actually one of only two things we forgot (the other thing being our Amazon Echo). But yes, I do have one and have loved using it other times. For great water photo tips, including recommended cases to consider, check out our recent post here.


Q: Are you REALLY deleting each day? Right on the spot? In your phone? And calling it good? Aye yai yai…

A: Absolutely! As I shared on social media, my “documentation goal / challenge” for myself for this particular trip was to limit how many pictures I have in my camera roll at the end of each day. I called it The Daily Dozen, and this is how it panned out: Each day I snapped pictures, of course, but not all day. Not everything. Just a little here, a little there. And I tried to be very intentional. I did get more than 12 pictures each day but only 12 stayed in my camera roll.

Many of those pictures were shared (via iCloud Photo Sharing) with my brother’s family who was traveling with us. Then I deleted. It is NOT easy to eliminate. That’s why I called it a challenge. But I know I’ll never do anything with SO many pictures, so instead of cluttering things up, I eliminated along the way.

How did I decide? Well, there’s a lot that factors into that. Which ones are most visually appealing and beautiful to look at? Which ones tell the specific stories we want to remember? Is there balance? Are there too many similar photos? And then – and only then – I did a quick edit on those 12 pictures with the PicTapGo app. This remained a nightly routine that took about 15 minutes or so. It was my favorite downtime activity at the end of each day.

The point, for me, was to eliminate and have LESS pictures at the end of each day and ultimately less pictures at the end of the trip. I KNEW I wouldn’t be using them all anyway so I simply decluttered, which means I’m less overwhelmed. It was a very good challenge for me as a documenter.


Q: How do you save your pictures? Do you save the pictures on your camera roll after uploading?

A: About monthly, I add the latest batch of photos from my Camera Roll on my phone to Dropbox and that’s where I store and back up ALL of our digital photos. Once they’re in Dropbox, I clear them from my phone. I don’t mind a few hundred pictures on my phone at any given time, but thousands? No thank you.

Q: To get the clear detail in your photos, are you really close up or zooming in? How are your shots so clear??

A: I never use the zoom feature because when you zoom with a camera phone, you’re knocking down the quality / clarity for sure. So I totally get in close, yes. But also … my pictures are really crisp for two main reasons: Phenomenal optics in the camera that’s built into my iPhone 6 Plus. And I am sure to keep my lens clean. It’s amazing how filthy that little piece of glass can get, but think about all the places your phone ends up, right? Clean your lens. Just wipe it off with the inside of your shirt even!


Q: How much of your daily activities were planned at home vs. how much was spontaneous?

A: I think the only thing planned ahead of time was a little snorkeling excursion on Maui that we did with my brother’s family. Otherwise, we literally just showed up and everything we did was spontaneous — both with our extended family on Maui and also on Kaua’i when it was just the 5 of us. We absolutely loved exploring and taking about what we should do the next day. Thanks to some fantastic input from you guys on social media, we learned about some great gems on Kaua’i (since we had never been there before).


Q: What company did you use and would you recommend them for the Nā Pali Coast catamaran trip?

A: We went with Capt Andy’s (because of so many of you! Thank you!) — and we would absolutely recommend them to anyone. Great experience.

Q: Did anyone get sick on the boat?

A: Not from our party. I think there were a couple older ladies that didn’t feel too hot, but they made the mistake of being down “in” the boat instead of being out on the deck where seeing the horizon and getting fresh air absolutely helps. We do have a couple people in our family who get motion sickness and they just took something beforehand to help with that. Prevention is key.



There were some excellent questions regarding the video I made of our trip as well, so guess what? We asked our favorite tech guru (and my brother) Kevin to dedicate an entire “Tech Talk” blog post to this very subject. Have you seen that one yet? Also — Kevin and I are jumping on Facebook Live today, actually — so please join us for that continued discussion! We’ll get that broadcast up on our YouTube channel soon as well.

For other tips on documenting your travels, be sure you check out these videos:

Travel Photography Tips

Tip for Documenting your Summer Memories

Silhouette Photo Tutorial: 7 Tips for Success

And for more resources on visiting Hawaii, check out Visiting Hawaii: The Definitive Guide


7 Responses

  1. Jana T says:

    Great article, thank you for covering so many questions and sharing your layouts! Not that I disagree with your 12 photos a day route for your trip….personally, I take the complexly opposite approach for vacations, using MORE photos than I would in our daily at home routines. Helps keep the memories alive and special. We’ve been to Hawaii three times and those albums are some of the most looked at by my family and friends! Just one more reason why I love scrapbooking — everyone can take the approach that works for them. Please keep up the awesomeness of encouraging people to document life. ❤️

  2. Melissa says:

    Was it easier to delete the photos since you have been to Hawaii before?

  3. Cody Doll says:

    Wow. I love this idea. The fact you thought about documentin the trip before hand was great. I think we all forget, and then once home we are left with the task of how to document and recall all the details.

  4. Becky, this really resonated with me. I host a FB group and I just said in it that I wanted to be more intentional about my photo taking and take fewer pics and someone linked me to this post. Perfect! You said what I had been thinking that if I only think it through in progress and before a trip, I won’t be as overwhelmed later. Great advice! Will be using this going forward.

  5. Linda Walton says:

    Wonderfully informative post as always, Becky. I love that you take us along on your daily journeys, as well as your travels!

    I especially wish to thank you for spelling Hawai’i in it’s native format! Being a lover of language and culture, I make it a point to document what I have learned from the places I visit. Traveling is definitely education at it’s finest!

    Oh, and the fact that my hubby is a native of Hawai’i might have a little something to do with my passion for Hawaiian culture and language! ;-)

    ♥ Linda

  6. Miho says:

    As someone who is unable to only decide on only a dozen photos a day, not to mention edit hours of video that I shot, I usually come home with an insane amount of footage that I don’t know what to do with. I feel like I’ve come to terms with that though because I was able to get pretty nice videos done that include both photo and video in a cool clip that encompassed my whole trip. So far, I’ve tried an automated one for free from magisto.com, as well as a human-edited one from weedit.com for around thirty bucks, the latter of which came out really well.

  7. funlocity says:

    Sounds like a great family vacation! Completely agree with the “tucking away of the phone” ideal and it seems like you had just enough pictures to make a great card anyway!