Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

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tips for creating your project life photo book

You guys! Photo books are almost HERE!! We are SO excited that soon we will be able to offer photo books directly through the Project Life® App. They are positively the most gorgeous quality you’ve ever seen! Not only is it one of the most significant and beautiful and meaningful things you could make, but they are incredibly simple to create … and it all happens in the palm of your hand. Here are some pointers worth sharing so your photo book experience is easy breezy!

Most of the information in this post applies to all of the photo books created in the Project Life App, but some is specific to our Hard Cover books. For more detailed information about our Soft Cover Photo Books, check out THIS blog post.

Double (and triple) check your pages

Make sure to take a close and thorough look at all of the pages you plan to include in your book. It is so important that you are 100% certain that everything is as you want it to be on each individual page BEFORE starting a photo book. Be extra careful to look at:

* spelling

* photo placement / cropping

* font style / size / color (For example, you may want this consistent throughout the book; it’s just a personal preference.)

* template corners round or square (based on your preference)

Organize your Pages

Create a folder within the Project Life App for each photo book you are working on to help you get your pages organized and in order before you create your book. A few things to consider:

1) The pages within your folders are not copies of the pages in your library (completed pages), so if you delete something from your library it will be deleted from your folder, too.

2) Name and number your pages in a way that will make it easy for you to keep them in order. Some examples of helpful file names would be Week 01 Left, Week 01 Right, Disney 10, Disney 11, 2016 Christmas 04, 2016 Christmas 05, etc. Note: If you are exporting and storing your pages in Dropbox or Google Photos, don’t forget to name your files there, too.

3) If you want to include full page photos in your book, add them in the Collage section of the app (the orange section) and then add the “completed collage” to your folder and name/number your file as you do all of the others. Note that full page photos are not “full bleed.” They will have the same margins around them as the pages created with the page templates.

Another note about adding pages from the collage section – if you have digital pages (created on your computer) or complete Project Life App pages that were exported and saved somewhere like Dropbox, you can bring them into the app through the collage section so you can include them in your photo book, too!! When you add images to your photo book that were created in the collage section — whether a photo or a page — you will be asked if you are adding a “completed page” or a “full page photo.” Simply tap the appropriate choice to ensure even margins on your pages.

Create your Photo Book

Now that you’ve got your pages created and organized in the Project Life App, it’s time to create your photo book! It’s super easy and intuitive, but here are a few things that are helpful to know as you dive in:

1) Know your size! Before you even start adding pages to your book, you will be prompted to choose your photo book size — 8×8, 10×10, or 12×12. So begin with the end in mind and decide what size feels right for your project before you even get into the app to make your book! This can’t be changed once you’ve started adding pages to your book, but if you change your mind and need to start over, it’s actually super simple . . . especially if your pages are well labeled and organized. *wink* 

Here are the exact measurements in case that’s an important factor in terms of your bookshelf dimensions, for example.

2) The Faux Leather cover option allows for text on the front cover and spine. That text is available in 4 colors (white, black, silver, or gold). The font is clean + simple and will be all caps and the same size + in the same location (centered) on all covers. In other words, you can choose one of those 4 colors, but there are no other choices when adding a title to a photo book with the faux leather cover. Keeping it classy and keeping it SIMPLE.

By the way, your faux leather color options are black, navy, red (those 3 shown above), chartreuse green, brown, and turquoise.

3) The other cover option is the Custom Photo Cover and it is exactly that — CUSTOM!! You can make it your own by adding any photo, a scanned image (or scanned fabric / patterned paper / etc.), a snapshot, or scanned image of your child’s artwork, etc. The sky is the limit! Note that the photo will wrap the entire front cover and spine, but the back of the book will remain white. Text can be added to both the front cover and spine in any neutral color (black, white, grey, brown, tan) and in any font that is available in the app. You can also adjust the size of the text on both the cover and spine just like you can when creating your pages.

Shown here, the white book cover came together like this: I hand-wrote “the first twenty years” on a piece of cardstock with a Sharpie marker. I scanned it, saved it to my camera roll, then in the Project Life App / making a photo book, I added that as the custom image for my book cover. So easy and so custom!

One other note on the custom photo cover is that your image will be cropped to fit the specifications for our covers, so be sure to pay close attention to the blue crop guidelines on the page in the app where you create your cover. Be sure you have plenty of space around the edges when choosing an image in the first place before you even get to the app photo book.

4) Once you’ve chosen your cover, it cannot be edited, so be sure to double check your spelling and design choices. Of course it’s easy to start over on the cover if you want to change it, but it’s even better to get it right the first time. Of course you don’t have to add text to the cover or spine if you choose not to.

5) If you created a folder for all of the pages you want to include in your photo book, make sure you choose that folder when you start adding pages. To do that, select “Pages” and then tap on the plus (+) to start adding your pages. At the top of the page you’ll see “Show” and next to that it will name the folder you are working in. To change folders, simply tap on the folder name and you’ll see a pop up showing all of your folders or the choice to show All Completed 12×12 Pages.

6) All photo books must include a minimum of 20 app pages / sides. The maximum number of app pages / sides is 60. All book pages are printed double-sided.

one app page = one side of a book page

In other words, 30 pages = 60 sides in the book. At this time we’re not able to offer more than 60 app pages per book in order to maintain the integrity of the binding and the quality / longevity of the book. This has to do with our choice to make these books lay flat . . . a feature I know you’re going to LOVE.

To further explain the 60-page limit … this is directly related to the plastic hinged part of the lay-flat paper. Due to its width, you can only make the book block so thick before the pages do not lay flat when open. A paper without this plastic hinge would not encounter this hurtle but would also not lay flat when open. We have chosen the lay-flat option so that our photo books are a premium product, making this the highest quality photo book and something you’ll love for years and generations to come.

Here is a visual comparison of a book with 10 pages (20 sides) and 30 pages (60 sides). You will notice that the binding is still the same thickness (about 1/2″ thick), regardless of how many pages are bound into the spine.

7) Know the order of your pages ahead of time. You likely covered this when you organized and named / labeled your pages, but if not, take the time to do that before you start adding pages to your book. Remember to include the title page as your first page and your last page at the very end. It just makes things go much smoother when you go to make your photo book. Trust us on this one.

8) One of the easiest ways to make sure you add your pages in order is to number them in the file names and then when you select the folder of pages to work with in creating your book, tap “sort” in the upper right corner and choose to sort them by page name.

9) As you’re adding your pages, you do have the option of reordering your pages by moving them forward or backward (or removing them) in your book. Tap and hold a page to see those options.

10) If you are using an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or newer and have enabled 3D Touch (in settings: General > Accessibility > 3D Touch), you can tap and view your pages in a larger size as you are adding them to your photo book. When you tap the + to add a page, it will bring up your folder of completed pages. From there, tap and hold to engage the 3D Touch feature and the image will enlarge. When using 3D Touch, you can also slide the enlarged image up to edit. Once you make your edits and tap the “X” to close it, you’ll be brought right back to the photo book creator so you can continue choosing your pages.

11) Once you’ve added all of your pages, tap “Photo Book Orders” in the upper left corner to go back to the main page to see the “Place Order” button. You’ll then have the opportunity to review your book — page by page — to make sure things are just right before entering your payment information. Please note that you cannot edit your pages (content or order) as you review your book. In order to do that (there’s always a work-around!) you will have to go back to the screen where you add pages to your book, delete the page that needs to be edited or changed, and then add the new / updated page. To get the page into the proper spot in your book, use the “move forward / move back” feature to adjust the placement.

We certainly want you to have the best experience possible when ordering a photo book through the Project Life App. This may seem like a lot of information, but when you actually go in the app to make a photo book, it’s really simple + intuitive + incredibly fun! We just wanted to lay out some tips and pointers in this blog post so you felt completely informed before you dive in. We know that making a photo book is a big deal and we want your investment and your experience to be top notch.

You are going to freak out over the quality of these books — seriously. To understand more about the pricing of photo books in comparison to printing app pages and putting them in an album, we will share that post on launch day. Should you ever have questions about anything to do with the app, the green “?” is always on the home screen of the app and when you tap there you can ask us anything and we’re standing by, ready to help!


38 Responses

  1. Monica says:

    So confused – but I’ll take the time tonight to research this. I have tons of books I’d love to make.

    Can’t wait.

  2. Stacey says:

    Funny question but is the page material comparable to say a shutterfly photo book? Are they actually glossy paper or are they thicker (obviously they aren’t the super thick/rigid) like the cardstock/poster board thickness?

  3. Melissa says:

    So excited for these!!!! I know what I’m doing for my son’s 21st birthday now in July–his first 21 years. Flat books are exactly what he needs in his home. And I’m going to make his wife a family recipe book for her birthday! Yeah!!

  4. Amanda says:

    Before l get too excited. ….just wondering if you ship photo books to Australia through the App? ???

  5. Whitney Brewer says:

    Oh my gosh. I can’t even contain my excitement. I have 2016 ALL done and ready just waiting to be a gorgeous photo book. CAN’T WAIT! This is better than Christmas!

  6. Heidi says:

    So excited to try this publisher! Question: Is this considered an ‘in app purchase’? or does the book have to be paid on a credit card? Also can you let us know what the shipping cost is to USA and Canada? Thanks!! :D Can’t wait to see them and use them for my clients!

  7. Zalaine says:

    Hey guys, my pages are scattered over 3 devices but are all in my Camera Roll. Can/how can I copy them to PL app or can I upload my pages directly from Camera Roll to photo book option? TIA zalaine

    • Jodie Ruth says:

      Zalaine, you have two options – export as editable backups from two of the devices and upload to somewhere like dropbox, then download and bring them into the app on the device you want to order from. Or the easy option, save as JPG on those two devices, transfer them to the device you want to order from (air drop, dropbox, however you want to do it) and put them into the 12×12 collage and proceed as above.

  8. Ashley says:

    So exciting!!! Thanks for the tips and sneak peaks at the books! I’m so looking forward to creating my book next week! Big congrats to you and your amazing team for this effort! Your hard work on making these phot books a reality shows! Thank you!!!

  9. Trish Barnes says:

    Thank you so much for making PL my favorite AP. Now you have made it even better, I can make my books right in the AP. You are the best!

  10. Heather says:

    Are these pages thicker than the thick pages on Shutterfly? I have been waiting for these books for over a year and I was so excited until I read the page limit. I have made many books on Shutterfly with LAY FLAT PAGES and my books are over 50 pages front and back (over 100 total pages). What is the difference? It doesn’t make sense to do a book for the 52 weeks if I can’t fit all the weeks in one book. Will this change in future updates?

    • Peg says:

      The 30 page (60 actual pages) would cover the 52 weeks desired, right? So there IS enough room, if I understand it right!

  11. Melanie says:

    I agree with Heather, I was so excited when I saw that we can order photo books through the app, but what does it help us when we are so limited on pages. I saw your video about the yearbook and loved it, so I started my own and followed your guidelines, 2 pages per week or even more for special events and holidays. Now I can not find any 8×8 albums here in Canada, not even the stores I looked up through your website have them. So I looked into Photo books and it is actually cheaper, you just have to save them as picture and upload them. But it would be so much easier to go through the app.

    Let me know when there are add on pages available, for next year 😉.

  12. Outi says:

    Hi Becky!

    Are the photo books available internationally? I just ordered my PL app book from my country. It has 60 pages and contains my whole year of 2016. I did one page per week plus some extra pages from my two trips to USA and from Christmas. But it is SO expensive! Let’s see how it turns out.


  13. Excited to see the quality and everything! Bummed I couldn’t use it this year and wish I’d known about the 60 page limit sooner but hopefully I’ll be able to switch from my printer to this for 2017

  14. Suzanna says:

    When I create photo books I always shrink the size of my app layouts so that nothing is cut off in the margins. Will this be done automatically?

  15. Diane Owen says:

    How will this work with digital life

  16. KS says:

    So so happy with this new feature but definitely need more than 60 pages… definitely!

  17. Cyndi says:

    Are 6×8 books not available?

  18. Christina says:

    Quick question … the 12″ x 12″ album only measures 11 3/4″ high, is that correct?

  19. Katy B. says:

    Long time customer and fan here – the quality does look fantastic, though I’m a little bummed by the page limit. I’ve been holding out for the photo book option for my 2015 book only to find out that it won’t hold the entire year. May I make a suggestion? I understand that quality is very important (of course) and your company isn’t going to offer a subpar printing or binding because you want to make sure only a super quality product has your name on it. But perhaps giving the choice for lay-flat pages or regularly binding pages can alleviate those frustrations? I personally don’t care a great deal about lay-flat and don’t pay the extra when I’ve ordered photo books from other companies. From what I’m understanding, the lay-flat feature is what is limiting the book size. Perhaps giving customers the option for regular binding (larger page count) or lay-flat (smaller page count) would be worth considering? :)

    • Stacey Snellenbarger says:

      I completely agree about the number of page limitations. I have well over 30 pages and I am not even done with half of my 2016 book. I would really love for them to be in one book. i do not care about a Lay Flat option and always decline this option when ordering from other sites. If i may make a suggestion to have this as optional for customers to buy? My most important requirement is for the pages to fit in one book. If this is not an option, i will continue to have to buy the printed pages and put in protectors.

      Is there an option to make a 10×10 page (printed on a page before the book) instead of just 8×8 and 12×12?

    • wendy says:

      My guess is that the lay-flat was almost a necessity. The app puts the images so close to the edge that you cannot print them in a traditionally-bound book without major adjustments to the margins. It sounds like the app is making a small adjustment for the lay-flat process (as shown by the thin white border around a full page image), but adjusting for a stitched book is much more difficult, as it would eliminate the white border on the binding sides.

      What is the actual size of the pages themselves? I see that you’ve posted the dimensions of the bound book, but not the pages themselves.

      Finally, as a feature request, a custom back cover would be super important to me. A personal thing… I think a plain white back cover really detracts from the custom cover front.

  20. Alana says:

    Another customer begging for more pages. I don’t care about the lay-flat option.

  21. Crystal Edwards says:

    Thank you for making this possible in the app. I got the app about a year ago and I’ve been hooked since. I want to make a photo book for a lady who has been like a member of the family and runs a child play center for children aged birth to six years old. I’ve taken my children there from the start and now my youngest child is going to be too old to go to the center. We have many memories there and the lady that runs the center is going to retire soon. This is going to be the perfect gift

  22. Steph H. says:

    Can’t wait to check out this new feature!

  23. kelly polizzi says:

    is this something you can do on your computer or is it only possible to make one of these books via iphone?

  24. Megan says:

    I was actually just thinking of what I wanted to do with all my pages. However, I have pages on my phone and iPad and cannot figure out how to get them on 1 library. Also, $100 bucks for a 12X12 book! Seems like a lot to me!

  25. Kari Kendle says:

    I didn’t see a price for these books? Did I miss where that was? I see Megan writes $100.00 for a 12 x 12, that seems high to me as well. Will there be specials or discounts ? If the price is not competitive others will purchase from someone else. I would rather purchase from you but the rate needs to be at least the same as others that are offered- lots of people on budget these days.

  26. Melissa Gooch says:

    I think everything is covered except for the cost. Could you go over this with us or where would we find it?

    Melissa Gooch

  27. Tracy Hovanic says:

    Also asking……what are the prices? Understand they will vary based on size and number of pages, but a rough estimate would be nice. Like,
    8×8 / 15 pages – $?.?? 8×8 / 30 pages = $?.??
    10×10/ 15 pages – $?.?? 10×10 / 30 pages = $?.??
    12×12 / 15 pages – $?.?? 12×12 / 30 pages = $?.??
    And price difference based on cover option.

    Thank you,
    Tracy Hovanic

  28. Leslie says:

    I’m wishing you will have 6×6 books soon? I do all our vacations in 6×6….

  29. Tricia says:

    So looking forward to trying this out!!!

  30. Lisa says:

    The pricing was just published today in this blog post- http://beckyhiggins.com/photo-books-vs-prints/

  31. Vicki says:

    What exciting news! Project Life App has changed everything for me. I am able to get my pages together so quickly and actually get them printed, but now photo books too, all in one shop! Love it!!!!! Thank you :-)

  32. Sue Walsh says:

    So many questions for you to answer here Becky! I too love using your app on a daily basis, tried having pages printed here ( in Australia) and was not at all happy with the quality . Add to that I couldn’t purchase the plastic sleeves to protect my pages😱😱 A book would be the way to go IF this is available to us here and at a cost that doesn’t break the bank! Looking forward to reading more about this service 😊

  33. Rachel L says:

    Personally I would rather see excellent quality than a lower price. I have heaps of options for cheap photo books but they look cheap. I want to order once and KNOW the quality will be amazing. Sick of wasting time and money with companies that don’t value quality. I’m more than happy to pay more if I know it will be absolutely perfect. Especially for gifts, and sending directly to relatives overseas where I can’t check the quality before giving the gift to them.

    If I want to save money I’ll use one of the many other photo book options out there.

  34. Sonia Angus says:

    I am hesitant to make my own custom cover. I don’t like the idea of a white back. I am afraid of the book getting dirty. Is it a glossy type? If it is then dust can be easily wiped off with a cloth. Let me know as I am ready to order my first photobook.
    Thank you