Today I am pleased to have Brandi Nielsen as my Feedback Friday guest.
She’s not going to love that I’m making a big deal out of her. She’s just happy to help answer your questions. But yes – I am compelled to put a darling, giant picture of Brandi here so that you can put a face with the name. Brandi is my dear friend and she is also my Project Manager. She handles all sorts of miscellaneous tasks – including managing several inboxes and responding to questions on facebook. She is specifically one of the reasons that I’m able to stay focused on everything I have going on, because she is doing so much of what I used to squeeze into my life. Brandi is sharp + proactive + hyper-organized + talented + a very fast learner. She is a Project Lifer. In fact, the first time Brandi completed a Project Life album, it was a full year’s worth of pictures and she was done in 2 days.
Today, for the first time in her entire life – she wrote a blog post.
Today’s focus is all about Project Life on Shutterfly. Many of you are using this method (I personally love it), and many of you know about it, but may not be interested at this time. No problem. Do what works for you so that you’ll do it (memory-keeping, that is). I’ve done some Shutterfly Q&A in the past (very helpful information in this post) but I think it’s a good time to address more questions that have come our way lately. So I’ve asked Brandi to answer your recent questions. She has way more experience with Shutterfly than I do, actually – having made many books on their site already.
Here she goes!
Do you have an estimated arrival date of the proofing PDF feature that you mentioned here?
Great news! It is already available. When you are in the customize mode go to the top of the page & click on “book.” Next click on “export PDF.” This will download a copy of your book to your computer for easier proofing. Keep in mind that you will not be able to print the book from here as there will be a Shutterfly watermark on each page. This is simply designed for easier proofing of your pages.
Any chance that text boxes could feature “bullets” and “numbered lists” (similar to the features that MS Word and other editors offer)? I’m interested in writing highlights this year instead of full sentence journal entries.
That is a great suggestion. The best way to encourage Shutterfly to implement your suggestions is to email them. In the meantime a suggestion would be to use the number “stickers” provided in the embellishments section or use an asterisk* in place of the “bullet”.
On this layout I had quite a few comments I wanted to make about each picture. I just added some numbers and put my journaling to the side. So easy!
I love all of the patterned backgrounds in the Clementine edition but am concerned that text might be hard to read against them. Unfortunately Shutterfly doesn’t offer an easy way to add a background to a textbox. Can you suggest how to make the text stand out against the backgrounds?
Yo’re right; some of the backgrounds might make the text hard to read. One way I get around this is by going in the “embellishments” section & use a tab of some sort to add text to. Here is an example of a page I did.
Could you please add some digital journaling cards (technically ”stickers” in Shutterfly) that can be rotated horizontally?
In the mean time there is a basic white grid journaling card available. Click on “embellishments.” At the bottom of the page on the left it reads “get more stickers.” Click on that. Next, Click on “Categories” + the “page ribbons.” There you will find a basic white grid journaling card.
Can I use Shutterfly on my iPad?
There is a free Shutterfly app for the iPad. However, you cannot create a photo book from the app. Here are the things you can do using the Shutterfly app.
The hardest part will be trying to go back and get the past 5 years into Project Life as well. Any suggestions on back-tracking like that?
What a great question! This is actually something I am in the process of doing. I have always made “just” a family album. That’s it. No individual kids albums. It just seemed like too much for me. But once I started playing around with Shutterfly & realized how quick & simple it was I could not resist!
There are so many ways to back track & this will be left up to each individual to determine what works best for them. I personally do a month-at-a-glance for each child. They get more details in our family albums but this gives them a good idea of their childhood without sending them away from home with too much.
First I collect my pictures. I have 3 kids. Let’s say I am doing 2010. On my desktop I create folders: “Matt Jr. 2010,” “Ava 2010,” & “Whitney 2010.” (I already have all of my pictures on discs separated by month & year). So I put the 2010 disc in & open “January.” Every picture that has Matt Jr. in it goes into his folder (the good, bad, ugly – this is not my sorting phase). I do the same with both girls as I go through each month. Keep in mind that in each child’s main folder I have sub categories with each month to keep the pictures organized.
Once I have gone through each month I am ready to begin my book. I begin with Matt Jr. (our oldest). After starting a new book I upload all the pictures from his “January” folder. Once they have uploaded I determine what pictures I want to get rid of right out of the gate. I then have a good idea of how many pictures I want to try & fit on my page. First I will try & find a layout that will work with that number of pictures. If I am unable to find one I go back & determine what other pictures Matt Jr. can live without. Remember this is just a review of the month – not a detailed log.
Once I have found a layout that works I quickly add the pictures & journaling & I am done! I have a philosophy to not over-think the process. These are meant to be quick & simple. I usually spend a little more time on my family albums – adding more detail, etc.
With this process I have been able to complete 6 books so far, each one taking about two hours! That’s it.
As a side note: I make a few books at a time & have them sit in my account until a sale comes around. No point in paying full price. They are ready & waiting. I figure if my kids have gone this long without an individual album there is no harm in waiting a little longer!
Might there ever be a time where there are more color choices?
As I mentioned before, we would love to have all of our designs available on Shutterfly. Be sure to contact Shutterfly directly & let them know you are interested in seeing more of Project Life from Becky Higgins.
I am a little concerned about the graininess of my uploaded pics from my iPhone 4S.
Our family spent a week last summer in California. The thought of carrying my dSLR all over the place did not sound fun. I decided to use my phone to capture all our memories. The quality is awesome. These are the pictures I took with my camera that week.
I’m curious if your designs on Shutterfly will change from year to year? Or if more will be added as new designs come out for each year?
It would be awesome to see all of our editions on Shutterfly. To increase those chances, we encourage you to contact Shutterfly directly.
I haven’t been able to find the layout that looks like the original format (Design A). I can’t seem to locate it.
To be honest with you that took me awhile to figure out too! No worries. On the left hand side you will see tabs labeled “layouts,” “Backgrounds,” “embellishments” & “Idea Pages.” Click on “Idea Pages.” Design A will be the first layout you see. Click on that and it will be added to your page.
Are there any plans to allow for printing single pages?
Shutterfly currently offers printing of 12 x 12 pages. These are pages you can create on their website, found here.
If you are looking to print a 12 x 12 page you have already created on your home computer I personally recommend Persnickety Prints. I created my family 2011 album using Project Life’s digital elements and printed them through this company. The printing quality was fabulous & I would recommend them to anyone & everyone. Also, as an added bonus, I have yet to find a better price on 12 x 12 prints!
Maybe I am trying to get too “digital scrappy” but sometimes I just want a strip of paper that is not offered as an element. However when I select a paper to try and adjust the size with icon buttons it just wants to replace the entire paper selection.
You cannot use “background” paper as an embellishment. However, you can find more strips of paper when you click on “embellishments” then “get more stickers.”
If you are really wanting to get more “digital scrappy” then I highly recommend using our digital elements offered through Jessica Sprague.com. This will allow you all the creative freedom you choose without the mess being spread over your kitchen table!
What to use in place of title cards for date, etc.?
There are endless ways to incorporate dates & titles to your pages. For me personally, at the top of each of my layouts I add the month & year.
You can also add text directly on to a picture which is a fun way to mix it up.
Another way is to add an embellishment or journaling card to the page & fit the text right on top of that. Really the possibilities are endless.
How can I use pages from both Clementine and Turquoise? Can I mix them?
Great question! Yes. If you want paper from another edition click on “backgrounds” then “get more backgrounds” then add the papers you wish. Do the same thing with the “embellishments” & “idea pages.”
Just curious as to why there is a charge (25 cents) for some of the clip art and backgrounds. I know 25 cents is a very small amount of money, but I suppose it could add up over the course of a 100 page book.
Shutterfly has what they call, their “Storytelling collection.” Here is what Shutterfly had to say about their collection:
“The Storytelling Collection is a collection of premium designs, guided styles and more options for all of life’s occasions, including Travel, Baby and Wedding. Just look for styles with the Storytelling Collection icon. Storytelling Collection styles are only available in All New Custom Path. Storytelling Collection styles and design elements have a “S” icon.”
There are a handful of items from this collection. The rest of the items can be added to your book, free of charge. Even better is that none of the Project Life items are in the storytelling collection and so you will not be charged extra for using them.
I am in Australia. Can we use Shutterfly to make albums? I have looked up shipping and was wondering if there are discount coupons for international?
Yes, Shutterfly ships internationally so you can create your own book. From time to time Shutterfly will do a promotion that offers free shipping. It should be noted that these discounts do not apply to their international orders. You are still eligible for there other promotions that give discounts off the actual book, so be on the lookout for those. Here is what it will cost you if you live abroad to ship a 12×12 book. This is the shipping cost for a 8.5 x 11 book.
For the digital Project Life on Shutterfly is there any way we can default set all of our pages to have the same background? I am not a traditional scrapbooker and don’t like a busy/colorful look. I prefer a clean, simple background like all grey or white or a simple small pattern. I want all of my pages to have the same background, but it is a little time consuming to change each page’s background. Is this an option?
Yes. When you are in your custom path, go to the top of the page. Click on “pages” then “duplicate page.” This will allow you to create the same page for each page in the book. You then can change the layouts as you choose.
Why does my page show warning symbols when I have not moved anything around? Will it still print okay?
(I actually added this question myself because I am asked this all the time!) You will notice that 2 of my samples above have the warning signs on them. If you go to the top of the page & click on “preview” you will be able to see exactly what your page will look like when it is printed. My guess is Shutterfly is being cautious & encouraging you to make sure it is not closer to the edge than you want. From my experience, the “preview” mode has been right on & I have yet to have something cut off my page when I have received my book.
Whew! See what I mean? We loooove Brandi, and I’m sure this is very helpful to many of you. Thank you so much for sharing your time + experience + know-how with us, Brandi.