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Photo Organization & Printing

Hello there!

We’re now into Week 2 of 2014, are you settling in nicely? I certainly am! I’ve been doing quite a bit of planning on my blog posts for the month of January and I’ve written them on my diary. This is something that I’d like to work on this year, more planning to get me organized on my thoughts and what I want to do to make this space more interesting for my readers to drop by regularly and hope they will gain some insights of my Project Life.

I’ve had a lot of people asking me over here, my Instagram and through emails how I organize my photos that I use for my Project Life, do I print from home, what size of photos do I print, what phone apps do I use to edit my photos etc.

So, I’m going to share a few things on my photo organization, photo printing from home and my favorite phone apps that I cannot live without.

Photo Organization

Like the past two years since I started Project Life, I created a special folder to store all the photos I’ve taken every week. They are stored in my external hard disk so they don’t take up memory space of my Mac. In this folder which I’ve named it Project Life 2014, I created another 52 sub-folders which I’ve labeled according to the weeks and dates that run from Monday to Sunday. So, all the photos I’ve taken with my iPhone and DSLR are downloaded and saved in to these folders.

When I’m ready to print my photos for my Project Life, I would go straight to the week and select what I want to print. These sub-folders work really well for me as I can locate the photos very easily without searching all over my hard disk for them. If I have photos taken during an event or vacation, I would create separate folders just for them and date them such as “Ethan’s Birthday_27June2013” or “Phuket Vacation_07-10Dec2013” (not within this Project Life 2014 folder).

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How often do I download my photos from my phone to my hard disk?

I do this at least once a week, usually towards the end of the week when I’m ready to move the photos I’ve taken with my iPhone for the week into the folder that I’ve labeled in my external hard disk.

I use iPhoto to stream/download/import my photos from my phone and DSLR to this photo library. I know iPhotos can do wonders with your photos such as organize them using faces, places and event and create folders to organize the photos but I just use this mainly to import my photos and then I will copy them immediately into my Project Life weekly folders. I don’t use the iPhotos to sort my pictures.

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So, once my pictures are transferred to my Project Life weekly folders, I will delete the pictures from iPhoto to clear space for the next download.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.43.59 PMDo I print from home?

Yes I do and have been doing this for years and years!

I’m currently using my 2nd Canon printer over the span of 5 years and I’ve been a big fan of Canon since I switched from HP. I own a Pixma iP4970 and it produces really great quality prints with brilliant colors. This printer can print up to letter size paper but I usually print on A4 and 4×6 photo papers for my Project Life. I use this to print my Studio Calico digital printable as well before I cut them with my Silhouette Cameo.

If you’re deciding whether to get a regular printer just like mine or a Selphy, which I’ve known a lot of people are deciding which printer to invest, it really depends on what you want to print. If you just want to print photos of 4×6 and smaller, then Selphy will be a good buy. But if you’re like me who wants to print multi images in one sheet of A4 or letter size photo paper or larger image size such as 6×8 or 10×8, then the regular size printer is for you.

You may also decide on a Selphy if you have space constraint. I’m sure you would want the convenience of reaching out to your printer whenever you want to use it. The regular printer size is a lot bigger and if you have limited space on your table, you will find it inconvenient to store it away some place and having to bring it out again when you want to print. Some people may find it a hassle but I’m fine with it. I’ve been doing this for years until recently I bought a shelf which is now parked next to my table, I’m able to connect my Mac to the printer directly and print right away.

I’ll share with you why I prefer a regular printer than a Selphy later in this post. 🙂

Photo Printing

I use only Canon photo paper to print my pictures. I’m not a big fan of glossy photo paper, so print my pictures with Canon Photo Paper Plus Semi-gloss with a satin finish. The prints result on this paper is perfect and I don’t get finger print marks on them and I don’t get the shiny effect when I photograph my Project Life spread.

I buy the A4 size which comes in 20 sheets of photo paper in a pack and the 4×6 size in a pack of 5o sheets. I use the A4 size for multiple prints and the 4×6 size for two 3×4 prints and a full 4×6 prints.


I usually work one week behind on my Project Life, for example I will work on Week 1 on the weekend of Week 2. I will spend about 30 minutes or lesser to print and cut up one week’s worth of photos. My photos are usually downloaded days earlier before I print them so I don’t spend too much time downloading and printing on the same day.

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When you buy a Canon printer, it comes with the Easy-PhotoPrint utility in CD or it can be downloaded in their website under the Support and Download menu.

Once I open up this utility on my Mac, I will be able to select the images I want to print from my folders in my hard disk. What I love about this utility is it allows me to choose different types of print layout. I love to be able to print multi images in an A4 size photo paper. I print 95% of my Project Life photos in the wallet size layout, which can fit up to 9 images in one A4 size sheet.

I can print my landscape and vertical photos all in one sheet of photo paper and cut them with my paper trimmer leaving about 2mm white border around my photos. Each of this wallet size photos measure approximately 2.5″ x 3.5″ without the border.

This is the one of the reasons why I prefer a regular size printer compared to a Selphy. I can save time printing multiple images in one sheet of photo paper in wallet size which fits onto my Project Life card perfectly and allows me to add embellishments on the card as well. 🙂

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I do the same for all my Instagram square images. I select the same 9-photos wallet size layout and print them on an A4 size photo paper. The size of each square image is 2.5″ x 2.5″.

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Sometimes I like to print 3×4 photos, so I just pick two images from my folder and select the Borderless layout that fits two images in one 4×6 photo paper show below. I just cut them up and insert them straight into the 3×4 page protector pocket. It fits perfectly!

If I want to print a single 4×6 image, I just choose the full Borderless or with Border layout and print it on a 4×6 photo paper.

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As I mentioned earlier, the print quality from this printer is brilliant. It’s as close to the actual photo I see on my phone screen. I choose to print with high resolution setting even though it will consume more ink but the result is pretty amazing.


The ink on the paper doesn’t smudge and it completely dries up once it finishes printing. I don’t have to leave them aside to dry before I insert them into my Project Life page protector.


I used to cut up my photos without any borders but I changed my preference to cutting them up with borders for my 2013 Project Life. So, I’m going to continue to leave my photos with a white border. Some how it looks nicer that way. 🙂


If you ask me if printing from home will be expensive because of the ink consumption or sending photos to the photo printing service will be a better option?

Well, I really can’t answer that question. It really depends on your printing frequency and habits. I love to print my pictures in high resolution which takes up a lot of ink but it produce great quality images. I print one spread worth of pictures once a week and once or twice a month on my digital printable that I use on my Project Life. My inks may probably last me between 2-3 months. Sometimes it can last longer. Printing from home is so convenient and it keeps me current on my Project Life because I can print my photos right away once I download them onto my hard disk. It also allows me to have better control of the print layout and size. This is the main reason I’ve been printing from home for years. 🙂

Favorite Photo Apps

Here are some of my favorite phone apps that I use everyday to take photos and edit them.


Camera Awesome – I don’t use my iPhone camera feature but instead I downloaded this app and it makes a whole lot of difference on the clarity and sharpness of my images. Try this, I’ve recommended it to a lot of my friends and they love it!

Snapseed & VSCO Cam – These are the two main photo editing apps I’ve been using for ages. I don’t do a whole lot of editing on my pictures, just a tweak on the brightness, contrast and saturation. I rarely use preset filters unless I want a certain effect on my photos but I hardly do.

PhotoShake – This is one favorite app that I use to make a collage of my weekly Instagram photos. I will pick 16 photos and shake it until I’m happy with the layout of my photos. I use this to wrap up my week of all the photos I’ve taken for the week.


These are my other favorite apps that I use occasionally.

PicTapGo – This is developed by Totally Rad! If you’re a fan of filters and prefers a quick fix to your photos, this is a great go-to app. Just pick your photo, tap on the filter and it’s good to go! 🙂

TimerCam – I love to use this self-timer cam when I need to take a selfie photo. Just set your phone on a flat surface and take a shot of yourself at your table at your work place, while you’re doing the dishes and laundry, working on your project at your scrap room, on work trip if you’re alone and no one to snap a picture of you etc.

Over – Sometimes I like to add text on my photo, I’ll use this fabulous app. It has all my favorite fonts and I love how easy it is to change the font colors, sizes etc.

Flipagram – Another favorite app of mine! I love using this app to make slide show of my photos taken throughout the month or I compile my whole year favorite photos and make it into a year in review/memories.

So, this is quite a post isn’t it? I hope you’re still with me and not falling asleep halfway through the post. *laugh* I hope you’ve enjoyed reading how I organize my photos for my Project Life, my photo printing process and some of my favorite phone apps that I use on a daily basis.

The reviews that I made today on my photo organization, photo printing from home and phone apps are from my personal experiences and my own preferences. You may find some of the tips will help to make it work better for you but some of you have your own system, process and preference. Whichever it is, just make sure you’re comfortable with adopting the system and process that works well for you and enables you to stay organized, improves the workflow of your Project Life and enjoying it all at the same time. For those who are embarking on Project Life for the first time this year, just move along and you’ll find your momentum in no time within a couple of weeks or months. You’ll learn through your experience and you’ll get better eventually. We’ve been through this when we first started Project Life so we understand it can be overwhelming from the start but keep in mind that, the simpler your process the easier you’ll stay current.

I’ll be back soon on my next post on organization of my Project Life kits.

Have a great week ahead! 🙂

  • pamelaJanuary 9, 2014 - 2:50 am

    Love your review 🙂 I’m thinking of switching over from Selphy to a regular printer. Even though printing at home is a bit more expensive, I love the convenience of it and it’s easier to keep up with PLs. On to a fabulous 2014!

  • AshleyJanuary 9, 2014 - 2:55 am

    What great timing with this post. I’m starting my foray into Project Life this month and was recently gifted the Canon Pixma that I wanted. With this tutorial, I’m golden. Thanks!

  • Betsy SkagenJanuary 9, 2014 - 3:38 am

    I don’t do project lif, and an already set with printers, but you provide a lot of valuable information. I’m going to check out which of these apps are available on android.

  • MaeJanuary 9, 2014 - 8:24 am

    Leena, thanks so much for sharing! Your PL is awesome! Always inspired by u. 😀 Looking forward to see your 2014 PL. Have a great week too!

  • Linda in AusJanuary 9, 2014 - 9:43 pm

    Yay i love my Canon printer as well and had to get a new one late last year, i still got a Canon as i love them so much. I even bought one for Caitlin to take up to Port hedland.
    Thanks for the great informative post i always print at home and very similar to what you do. I appreciate all of the time it must have taken to write this post, thanks Leena.

  • MichelleJanuary 9, 2014 - 10:30 pm

    This is just what I needed… Thank you so much for an in-depth look at your process. I wasn’t falling asleep at the end of your post I was thrilled to read it from top to bottom…lol. Thank you-thank you-thank you 🙂

  • AriannaJanuary 9, 2014 - 11:15 pm

    I’m a fan of your blog and this was a lovely post!
    Exactly what I needed!
    I’m about to start my scrapbook for Europe and I am planning to print out my pictures (for ease of choosing sizes, etc), I am also using a Canon printer (MX722) which prints very nice pictures.
    My question is about fading. Have you experienced any fading in your years of printing photos? It would break my heart to open up this scrapbook 20yrs from now and have half the pictures faded.

    I am not using Canon photo paper (I will be using store brand paper – Staples and Costco (Kirkland) both of which have great reviews, but no info about fading)

    Would I be better off sending these photos to the photolab?

  • maraJanuary 10, 2014 - 5:06 am

    Leena, thanks a million for this post! I was just searching my favorite blogs 2 nights ago for a post just like this! I just started PL this year and am trying to see what other PLers use (printers, photo paper, fun gadgets!). I have an HP and I just don’t love it so I am on the lookout for a Canon printer. I just find all your PL pics on here and IG so inspirational! thank you!

  • Kirstie MacGowanJanuary 10, 2014 - 7:41 am

    Thanks for this awesome post. I have the same printer and have never even thought about using the wallet or 3×4 border less options in the canon program.

    This will make my printing MUCH more enjoyable which will make all the difference with my motivation!

  • AnnJanuary 10, 2014 - 4:17 pm

    thank you so much for these calendars – I will use them for sure for my own organisation. Also, I have found your free journalling cards, which I love – thank you so much for sharing your talents!

  • AnitaPJanuary 10, 2014 - 11:53 pm

    Great post! Thanks so much for sharing your process. Very helpful! 🙂

  • angelica dominguezJanuary 11, 2014 - 1:48 am

    Does anyone know where I can get the Canon printer? I’m ready to purchase one – but I don’t know where to get this printer or a similar printer.

  • AngelineJanuary 12, 2014 - 8:44 pm

    It’s a long read, but I’m sure I’ve learnt a lot, especially because I’ve been thinking (for the longest time) whether or not I should get a printer! Thanks for the advice, I’ll get them once I graduate this year (because my table really has no space now & I wanna invest in a better printer).

  • Kim HJanuary 13, 2014 - 12:46 am

    Leena I absolutely L-O-V-E your PL style!! Such an inspiration. I am starting PL for the first time this year and I’m definitely going to incorporate some of the things you talked about to make my process simpler. Thanks for the great post!!

    @Angelica Dominguez…I have a Canon Pixma MG5320 and I got mine from Amazon. They normally have some pretty good prices and if you have Prime you get free 2-day shipping. Hope this helps. 🙂

  • FindingnanaJanuary 13, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Hi Angelica,
    The model I’m using is no longer in production. You may want to get something similar. Which country do you reside in?

  • Donna GibsonJanuary 13, 2014 - 12:05 pm

    Leena, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to write such a detailed and informative post!

  • MeaganJanuary 20, 2014 - 10:44 am

    Thanks so very much for taking the time to do this post, I really needed it 🙂 answers lots of my questions hehe

  • TraceyFebruary 10, 2014 - 8:11 am

    Thanks so much for doing this Leena – this has been a huge help!

  • JennaMarch 11, 2014 - 11:18 am

    Be careful with inks and at home printing! Longevity is usually 10 years or less!

  • Ceci V.May 6, 2014 - 12:09 am

    Came here after your comment on Instagram about printing 2x2s just to find out that A4 is not sold in the USA, darn it! I guess I will have to do it with letter size.

    Thanks for this post Leena!

  • DhiniMay 23, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Hoi Findingnana… I make it with this too but my pictures not square. How do you that?
    I want to print pictures with square result

    Thak you for your answering

  • FindingnanaMay 25, 2014 - 8:22 pm

    Hi Dhini,
    You can use phone apps such as Snapseed, Picframe etc to crop your photos into square format.

  • DhiniJune 7, 2014 - 5:18 am

    But my another pictures I make with DSLR camera and I must the photos in my smartphone to edit square
    Snapsneed sometimes doen’t work for my smartphone

  • JulieJune 29, 2015 - 3:20 pm

    Great tips.:)

    Just curious, is the ink on the printer you mentioned pigment or dye based?

    I’ve got an HP printer & the black is pigment/archival ink but the coloured ones are dye based.

    I keep worrying about water damage if I print my pictures on my printer.

  • Kimberly KerrSeptember 20, 2015 - 11:04 pm

    Thanks for this excellent post. I have been struggling for years with this. Im years behind too…lol…..but going forward I’m going to do what u suggest. Thx again.

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