Last month I wrote about my dilemma in wanting to speed up my scrapbooking process, despite taking way too many photos. I promised I would let you know how I went with my “Get it Done” philosophy. To be honest (and those who know me won’t be surprised to hear this), it’s been a bit of a struggle. There are just so many photos, and honestly, many of them are good enough to go in the album. But since the goal is completing an album, I need to cull drastically, and that is what is taking far too much time.

What I need is an efficient, productive workflow. A workflow is just the sequence of processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion. The idea is that there are a series of steps, completed in a set order, where each step depends on and follows the completion of the previous step. It is a pattern that can be repeated each time you face that particular task, and enables the work to be completed in the shortest time with the least effort.

All my photos are in Memory Manager. Because there are so many photos, I created a separate Memory Vault called Galapagos Trip. I have categories for each place we stayed, and tags for the day trips and outings we went on. My plan for the StoryBook is to scrap each day’s activity, so that I have a chronological record of the trip, but within each day to focus on the different animals we photographed. To narrow down the photos to a manageable number, here’s what I have been doing. I have been experimenting with a couple of different work flows which I will share with you. If you are a crazy photoholic like me, I’d love to hear what your system is and how it is working for you.

Plan A

  1. I have already made a backup of all the images. (More than one, actually).
  2. Working on a single day’s photos at a time, I scroll through them one by one.
  3. Any photos which are bad – because they are blurry, or the subject is half out of the frame, or the light is terrible gets instantly deleted. (The quickest way to delete an image from MM4 is to hit the delete key on your keyboard).
  4. Photos which are repetitive get deleted. I often used the motor drive on my camera, which means I regularly have 3, 4 or more virtually identical photos.
  5. The best photos get a 3-star rating. I try not to overthink here. If it’s a good photo, it gets 3 stars. If there’s only one photo of something important, it gets 3 stars too – it is not just about the photography, but also telling the story.
  6. Displaying only the 3 stars and above photos, I then go through them again, and try to 5-star only the best ones. This is where I have to be strict with myself, because there are still more “best” photos than I want to include in the book. I try to choose photos that each tell something different about the day, the place, the animal etc.
  7. Finally, I choose the layout (usually a Blueprint) and then pick from the 5-star photos the ones that suit the layout.
Plan A is systematic and thorough, which I like, but is still taking far too long. I have to be quicker, more ruthless, less perfect. So I have come up with Plan B.

Plan B

  1. I still start by deleting the bad photos. I don’t need them taking up space on my computer.
  2. Working in the Media Library View, I add tags to every photo, according to the subject of the photo – animals, birds, people, places.
  3. Clicking on each tag, and still in Media Library View, I try to quickly scan my images and choose 5-6 photos per StoryBook page, and give those 5 stars.
  4. Once I have been through each tag for that day, I watch a slideshow of the 5 star images, to check the full screen view, and make sure I haven’t accidentally picked any ‘duds’.

Plan B is certainly quicker, but there’s a risk the “best” photos might not get chosen. It goes against the grain, but I have to be satisfied with that. Finishing the book in a reasonable time, so that I can print it and hold it in my hands, is the goal. If I have left out great shots, I can use them later for a calendar, or page prints, or other projects.

Meanwhile, here are the first few pages that I have completed. (Click the first image for the slideshow view).  These were the easy pages, taken in the city of Guayaquil, in Ecuador, before we reached the Galapagos Islands. Not nearly as many photos to choose from! If you have any tips for me, I’d love to hear them!









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23 Responses to Blog: What’s a Workflow?

  1. Cindy Rold says:

    In Plan B, instead of tagging all the photos, I put them in an album by day or subject and work with them that way. It’s much easier for me to see them that way and group like photos with like and not have to take the time to tag.

    • Shelley says:

      That works too Cindy. And you have the advantage of being able to move the photos around within the album. I tag whole groups of photos at once, so it doesn’t take all that long.

  2. Vicki Webb says:

    Thanks for the workflow tip and thanks to Phyllis for the tip that you can move photos in the album. I use the albums to plan my storybooks, and move a few photos at a time. I’m so excited to learn that you can rearrange the albums! I learn something new every time I visit this site!

  3. SuzanneSeward says:

    Hi Shelley; I appreciate your description for Workflow. I feel motivated by your blog, but I realize I should upgrade my MM3 to 4, and then learn how to use it. That should probably be my goal this year. I don’t take nearly as many photos as you do, which are beautiful, so it is a little easier for me to tweak and organize them as I go along. My area that needs tweeking is getting the albums done which your blog has helped with ideas. I love your Plan A and Plan B. Also, I love the font you used for “Shelly’s Scribbles”. Can you share which one it is? I’m a fontaholic. But I don’t have many that I really like. I look forward to your next “motivational” blog. -Suzanne

    • Shelley says:

      Definitely worth upgrading to MM4 Suzanne – they have made a ton of improvements! Glad you found my blog helpful 🙂
      That font is called Saginaw. Currently my favourite!

      • SuzanneSeward says:

        Thanks Shelley. I discover I have Saginaw . . . there was a reason I like it! 🙂 Thanks for the positive input about MM4. I am currently at CM Workshop working on my digital album from 2012 (I need to catch up August to end of year) and was going to talk to my consultant about MM4. As always you are very helpful. _Suzanne

  4. Lori Kohl says:

    Shelly, when I win the lottery and get rich I want to come travel with you, learn to take fabulous photos like you and then move in and be your digital scrapooking student! Maybe if I rub sholders with you your talents will rub off on me. 😉 You have a gift, luck you.

  5. Carolyn says:

    I marvel that you have so many good photographs that you have to throw out some of the 5 star ones! At least your journaling is complete for the days you wrote your magnificent blog.

  6. Fay Wilde says:

    You are so organized Shelly! All of your pictures are stunning. You have a great eye for perfect pictures. Enjoyed your scribbles. You are doing great.Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Tracie Henkel says:

    Shelley, thanks for sharing Plan A and Plan B. I love your method of using 3 and 5 stars; that will help me a lot. I’m overwhelmed with photos for the year because I did the Project 365, plus took a few trips. I tried to keep up, and then my husband and I had the crazy idea to sell our house and move! I kept taking a photo each day, but organization flew out the door.

    You’re right: This is the time to let go of perfection and be thankful that no matter which photos I choose, I’ll be happy to have a *printed album* instead of lots of great photos on my hard drive.

  8. Liz Propst says:

    Wonderful…and I love the quote…Oh the places you will go!!

  9. Tina Bruderer says:

    i know the feeling

  10. Glenna says:

    Great pages. I love your thinking. I don’t have as many photos as you do, but I was having a problem doing our trip to Denmark and Sweden. I finally broke them up into two separate Storybooks because I had over 600 photos for each country. I am waiting for my Denmark book to be delivered now. I am working on my Sweden book and have selected over 300 photos, but have to cull that down more. I have used the Blueprint book that was a bonus for me and I love it and added some pages with many photos to get more photos in the book. I am hoping to do the Sweden book during the Virtual Crop.

  11. Vicki says:

    I like the work flow procedure, that sounds like it will save time. When do you go in and tweek the photo? I think I spent way too much time going through all my photos of our last vacation and made them perfect with color and cropping, and then chose which ones to use for the page. I would guess at least half my time was spent going through all the photos and sorting and tagging. I also like the idea it doesn’t have to be perfect…..simply excellent!!

    • Shelley says:

      Good question Vicki. You can spend way too much time tweaking, can’t you?! Editing the photos is the last thing I do, after I have narrowed down the selection. I don’t do a lot of photo editing, often just the Auto-Fix. I never crop in Memory Manager. And SBC4 has cool photo editing too, so if a photo doesn’t look right I might work on it there, once it’s on the page.

  12. judychronicles judychronicles says:

    I feel your pain. That is the most difficult thing about digital photos…the cull. I so want to use them all. Your hints are very helpful. Judy

  13. Phyllis Offenkrantz says:

    Beautiful pages!

    I like using the album feature of MM to arrange the photos I want to put in my books. That way, I can look at photos side by side even if they weren’t taken one right after another. Since you can move photos around easily in the album, it makes it easy to check and see which is the best photo of a topic or scene.

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