Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

August 5, 2011

Week In The Life 2011 | The Photos

week in the life | bringing it together : the photos

Working through my photos from Week In The Life I’m reminded once again that this is a really big project.

Actually, it’s really only as big as you want to make it. There are so many options:

  • Some of you did Week In The Life on your blog this year – documenting with words and photos. You are most likely done with the project and have moved on to new things. Not printing anything definitely simplifies the process.
  • Some of you are doing your album all digitally and are likely going through the process of working with some templates (or creating your own) and are getting all the photos and words together. Some of you might even already be done with that process and have uploaded a photobook to a printer or printed at home.
  • Some of you have uploaded all your photos from the week to a photo developer and are patiently waiting for them to arrive home. When they get to your house you will do any number of things to create your album in a more traditional scrapbook style.
  • Some of you might be doing a combination of things (like me) – I just finished printing out all my pages and photos here at home and will start the process of cutting out the ones I want to use in the divided baseball card page protector later tonight.

I’ve said all along that there’s no right or wrong way to participate in this project. There’s also no right or wrong way to bring all your content together.

Here’s a look at where I’m at right now:

week in the life | bringing it together : the photos

Today I finished printing all the photos I’ll be using.

In my case that means I printed out the digital layered template pages – technically the first and the last page for each day – and the photos that will be added to the divided page protectors.

Sometimes people have a hard time choosing which photos to use (especially if you took a ton). My suggestion to you, and what I do, is pick the ones you feel tell the most complete story of your week. You can always create other layouts with the photos you don’t use if you really have a desire to work with everything. I never have an intention of using all the photos I take and I’m pretty quick at picking which ones to use. Make a decision and move on so you can get this project done.

week in the life | bringing it together : the photos

I used these templates this year for the spreads + this template for the photos that will go in the middle page protector.

I laid them all out on the floor so I could take a couple photos of the whole group and see it all come together before placing the individual pages in the album. I’m using a Vanilla 8.5×11 album from We Are Memory Keepers.

week in the life | bringing it together : the photos

Here’s a look at what the pages look like after placing them in the album (with only a receipt inside the page protector at this point).

You might be able to see a bit of my Daily Sheet on the first page of my spread. I scanned in the first page of the Daily Sheet and placed it behind my photo on the template and scaled back the opacity to 45%. You’ll be able to see it better on the examples at the bottom of this post.

week in the life | bringing it together : the photos

These pages (made using this template) will be cut up and the photos will be added inside my divided page protectors along with some embellishments and other things collected over the course of the week.

Here’s a look at that template in Photoshop before I printed it out:

I simply “turned off” the layers that included the tabs and the words and just used the rectangle shapes for all the photos.

And now I’m cutting them out.

And placing them inside the front and back of the page protectors for each day.


This year I’m printing here at home testing out an Epson Photo Stylus R2000 printer and Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper in Luster. Love this printer. Super happy with the quality of the prints after I messed around a bit with what I was seeing on the screen and what was coming out of the printer. I’ve always found that each printer I use takes a bit of getting used to as I find that sweet spot between what I see on the screen and the actual photo.

It did take me a bit to figure out the page set-up settings to get the correct margins around the page. You could simplify this by having the photos/content go to the edge of the page but I was determined to keep those margins. What I’ve found to work for me (printing the 8.5×11) on my Epson Stylus Photo R2000 is to select (1) Center (2) No fit to media – scale set at 100%  and (3) select US Letter Sheet Feeder Borderless (retain size). PLEASE NOTE | Your settings may be totally different depending on your printer and it’s likely you’ll want to do some test printing before embarking on this project at home.

Last year I uploaded all these pages and photos to for printing. They do a great job.


Here’s a look at my spreads, without the divided page protector inserts, that I printed here at home (click to view larger):

You might notice that I filled in the white space on the second page of the spread (compared to the original template). As I was working with my text and images I found that there were lots of times where I had very little to say and maybe just wanted to include the time. For that reason, and because I just liked how it looked, I decided to adjust the sizes of the photo spots (on the template) and have the time and journaling be on top of the photos.

I think it’s good to remember that templates are great as a guide – make them work for you and the way you want to tell your stories.

Next I’ll be working on adding some of the words to journaling cards and putting together a few embellishments to go inside those pocket pages.


  • 1.
    Lisa W. said…

    Gosh you do GOOD work!!!

  • 2.
    AbbyS said…

    I think is your best WITL album yet!! Love the simplicity, the organization of it…yet is still very creative. Man, you ROCK!!!

  • 3.
    anneberit said…

    Really love the changes you did to the template; adding the words to the photos

  • 4.
    Karen S. said…

    Thanks for posting this right as we head into the weekend. You’ve inspired me to get to work!! Love the way your album is coming together!!

  • 5.
    Sheila said…

    I’m 49 years old but I still wanna be YOU when I grow up. lol I love your work and the way you look at your life and document it. I really enjoy your website. Thanks.

    • ….
      Damiane Lucas said…

      Hey Sheila,

      I’m 49, and I LOVE Ali’s work, too! She’s “soooo” amazing. As for me, I’m really struggling with technology. We didn’t grow up with these digital toys, right?

      Let me know if you have a blog, so I can visit it.

  • 6.
    Susie Leggett said…

    WOW. Ali this looks incredible. Can’t wait to see it all together. You are definitely right about this being a big project. I just got my photos back from the lab this week and am work on journaling and putting it all together in my album. This is my first year doing witl and am loving it. Super excited to get it all finished up and share.

    I love how you scanned and added your daily sheets in the background. Very cool.

  • 7.
    Christina said…

    I am so glad I waited to put my album together. I love the idea of writing on the photos instead of in the columns. Sometimes just by changing a little thing like that make the template look completely different. Thanks for your simplicity (my word for the year). I am so glad you shared this with us. You have inspired me once again.

  • 8.
    Babz510 said…

    Stunning! I love it! I enlarged the photos spaces too on the templates and added the text right on top, loving how its looking.

    • ….
      Babz510 said…

      P.S. I now have total printer envy too! ;-)

  • 9.
    dawn said…

    This looks great Ali, love seeing which pictures you choose and seeing my favorites in there. My favorite though for the whole week is the large one of Simon on his bike, he looks so happy and proud. What a great week you picked for this time and he will always remember the happy moments of riding his bike.

    I have printed out Mon/Tues pictures so far and am looking them over and writing. So far I’m leaning towards a more artsy journal to put them in.

    Have a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing this with us so fast, love seeing it come together.

  • 10.
    Erika Beckwith said…

    Ali – I love what you have done so far and your approach for putting the album together. I am still playing around with the templates trying to get them right before sending them to the lab to get printed. I can’t wait to see your finished project.

  • 11.
    Stacy said…

    Heh. I am in the category of “have uploaded the pictures to the developer and are patiently awaiting their arrival.” I got that checked off my to-do list on Tuesday and felt pretty good about the project. But now – having seen the deal in it’s ENTIRETY – I’m in an OMG-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into mode right now. I will be fine once I sit down and get a plan in place, but seeing all your photos printed out like that….ALL those photos (not just little icons in my “WITL” folder)….that is one heck of a project, isn’t it?

  • 12.
    Mrs. V said…

    Your album is coming together so nicely. I am having fun exploring with Elements for the first time and using your Layered Templates Grid 1 and 2 w/ daily tabs and sentiment tabs. Originally, I chose to not use this template because I did not necessarily like the two times and journal spots together. Now that I have seen how the template does not have to be exactly as it was, I can see how it would have been really nice.

    I appreciate that you included the video of you using the template. That and one that you included previously have been the most helpful of anything else as I am familiarizing myself with Elements.

    With your grid templates, is it possible to manipulate the grid lines, or are those set?

  • 13.
    PattiP said…

    This is my first year doing Week in the Life. I’ve felt a bit intimidated by it in the past. A friend prompted me to join her, and I’m so glad I did. We are both moms of grown children so there is not as much going on in our lives right now to document. We decided to keep it super simple, doing 8×8 pages, and just a title page and a photo collage page for each day. We made our own templates, using some of your brushes and overlays, and both of us got our pages done and sent to the printer by the middle of this week.

    It helped having someone else I knew doing it – we would remind each other to take photos, or to document things. I loved using the Momento app to make a quick note.

    This is now on my list of annual projects!

  • 14.
    Sally said…

    Hi Ali, Do you have any links to bloggers who have done “week-in-the-life” on their BLOG? I’ve thought about doing this, but am still wondering about how to approach it. ~Sally

    • ….
      Elsi said…

      Sally, I posted photos and some narrative on my blog at I’m also going to create an album, but I found that the blog was a good place to hold my thoughts as the week was going on.

  • 15.
    Tracey Caudle said…

    Love it!!!

  • 16.
    Stacey K said…

    Awesome idea of having the printout time line scanned & in there. I am so going to do that. I love how fast this is coming together for me. I have nearly finished all the main pages / photos & I only started last night. You make this big project so do-able for time poor & digital skills poor people like me.

  • 17.
    Christine said…

    Love how your album is coming together. I have started to work on the larger left-side templates. I like the look of what you did on the right side. I really love using your templates! The video tutorial was very helpful. Plan on finishing this weekend and I can’t wait to see how you use the 9 pocket dividers. I have a new wireless printer but I plan on uploading to Scrapbook Pictures for printing. They look like they do a fabulous job with prints.

  • 18.
    Drinoleto said…

    You’re amazing!!

  • 19.
    Nicole said…

    Wow Ali! You never cease to amaze me. :) Your layouts are awesome, as usual, and I especially love how you scanned in your daily sheet for the background of your first page. What a great idea!

    This was the first Week in the Life that I actually followed through with! I used your templates from last year and managed to get them completed and uploaded to Persnickety Prints on Thursday. I should have everything early next week! Can not wait to slip everything into the page protectors and look at it over and over.

    I’m excited to see how the rest of your album comes together! Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration.

  • 20.
    kelly said…

    this looks awesome, ali!!!

  • 21.
    Heidi said…

    Ali, Ditto to many above — this looks awesome! Love how this is coming together. So love this. I’m getting inspired to put my content together in the next few weeks, and I think I will try uploading my pictures elsewhere this year. Last year I did them at home but we just recently moved and me & our printer are disagreeing on the color suddenly. And still wondering if you are flashdriving the videos you took of the week??
    Heidi in Ontario

  • 22.
    La'son said…

    Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to get mine finished. Thanks for sharing. Love your photos.

  • 23.
    Christine said…

    You do amazing work, Ali! Wish I could be more like you :)

  • 24.
    diane said…

    sigh…wish id done it this way…next year lol

  • 25.
    char said…

    Wow it looks great! I’m thinking of using your template for my travel album too. It’s so versatile.

  • 26.
    Rossella said…

    As always amazed by the simplicity and the beauty of it all.

  • 27.
    Damiane Lucas said…

    Hi Ali,

    Can you give us a tutorial on how to put your time worksheets behind the large photo? I can scan my sheets, but then what? How do I get them behind the large photo in the template?

    I really love your work. Beautiful!!!

    • ….
      Toni said…

      Hi Damiane. Try this – hopefully it will work.
      Open both your template and the scanned timeline.
      Click on the background layer (in the layers palette) of the witl template then drag your scanned timeline onto the page and it should be positioned above the background and therefore behind the photo. Otherwise once you have dragged it onto your page you could drag it down the list in the layers box on the side. Then you should just be able to scale it and reduce opacity if you want to (in the layers palette)
      Hope this helps and works for you. :)

  • 28.
    g. said…

    This is really really lovely!

  • 29.
    Toni said…

    Awesome Ali!! Love the photos and the new ideas for your layoust. You do such a great job! So glad I haven’t finished yet either as you have given me some more inspiration. Really motivated now :)

  • 30.
    inci said…

    hello Ali

    Can you show on video how you did the journalng on your 1st page. I can not manage to do it. Thanks

  • 31.
    Jo said…

    Ali you are so inspiring, I’m going to dive right in today. I’d prefer to upload the flattened templates to a photo developer, but I’m not sure as here in the UK they don’t offer 8.5 by 11 print size. Has anyone here in the UK any suggestions?

  • 32.
    jennifer said…

    I didn’t participate this time but expect to do it later in the year. Your project looks fabulous and I agree that it might be your best {design} WITL yet. Love the time element. Thanks for the inspiration…

  • 33.
    Sue said…

    Well I have the photos printed, the journaling pretty well finished, and even have a design idea, but this ole dinosaur knows very little about technology so I will be using the dark ages method of paper and glue. I am so impressed but overwhelmed by the digi approach. I hope my WITL is even half as nice as all of yours! This is my first time and I am anxious to pull it together!

    • ….
      Mary in IL said…

      I hear what you are saying. I watched the tutorials and it might as well have been in a foreign language ’cause I didn’t have a clue. Oh well, paper and glue still work for me too.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Any which way you accomplish this project is totally awesome – paper, glue, computer, etc – it’s all a means to an end. It’s a not a competition, it’s not a better than or less than, it’s simply a chance to tell the story of a week in your life from your perspective :) . Embrace what you have!

  • 34.

    Your photos are just amazing lately, you have gotten so good! I want to know the secret because I feel like my photos have been the same for the last few years and they are not so great lately. Especially indoors at night, just can’t get that right even with ISO bumped up high! LOVE how you do this project. Next year I am using the templates! or if I do it again this year! I have been doing it once a year for sure~

    • ….
      Julia L. said…

      I shoot on AV and use a 50mm 1.8/f lens and get amazing shots in low light without a flash. I often use the lowest aperture, 1.8 f-stop, and get a nice blur or bokeh (like if Christmas lights are in the background). Great for all of the up close coffee mug, flower and portrait shots indoors. You’ll be amazed how different your photos will look. Look up f-stop or depth of field for more info.

  • 35.
    debbi g. said…

    Ali! This looks the journaling on the photos. Leaves room for more :)
    How do you get such beautiful pictures? I know these are the best but do you have windows everywhere? Actually, you carry lighting with you, right? haha..The photo of your husband waking up your son looks so perfect. I’d hve to go in first, open the shades, turn on all the lights in the hallway and it still wouldn’t look so good…haha

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • 36.
    Roberta said…

    Just so lovely…thanks Ali…it’s been a tremendous help having you document your process and how you have adapted your layouts as you insert your photos and stories onto your pages. I’m using the divided inserts that hold the 4×6 photos for some of my days because that’s the size I had printed for some of my photos via the traditional developer method…I’m just not happy with my Epson printer…perhaps it’s my paper…I was using photo matt and just felt like the ink wasn’t setting “hard” enough. Have a wonderful weekend. Fondly, Roberta

  • 37.

    Ali, this is fantastic! How you pull it altogether just amazes me, as I agonize so much. Which pictures, which size? I have the most trouble with selecting (eliminating!) photos. No problem w/journaling tho. Re: Epson printers—love, love, love them! I don’t have one of the newer ones, but still having great success w/my older ones, all photo versions. Mostly I use Epson papers, especially Lustre, but lately have been using Ilford Smooth Pearl for 4×6. Wonderful color reproduction.

  • 38.
    Christine said…

    I always love your style! I didn’t do nearly as many photos and followed last year’s format loosely, but now I am inspired to try the digital templates for next year. Love the times on the pages.

  • 39.
    Denise Laborde said…

    It looks wonderful already Ali! Great, great job :)

  • 40.
    cinback said…

    Thanks for sharing your printing advice. I have an Epson R2400 and my pics don’t print out the same size as I make them on the screen. I will try your ‘center’ and ‘no fit to media’ suggestion, but can you also share how you retained your borders?

  • 41.
    Claire said…

    Amazing as always Ali, and you make the whole technical bit sound so easy. I am thinking it must have taken you years to get so good making everything do what you want it to do on the computer. Baby steps I guess…

  • 42.

    Totally AWESOME. Love how you used your Daily Sheet as a design element.

  • 43.
    Lori said…

    I’ve been so anxious to see your album come together – love the simplicity. I’m so glad I purchased the digital templates you designed – it has really saved me time and loves great too!

  • 44.
    Deb J said…

    Your pages are so great. You do such a great job with this and I always wish I had more going in my life so that mine could look as good as yours.

  • 45.
    Amanda D said…

    I absolutely LOVE this. It’s beautiful! What a great way to finish off your week – what a treasure for your family. I think you’ve inspired me to do a similar project of my own.

  • 46.
    Mandi said…

    This one might be my favorite one yet. I’m loving it so far.

  • 47.
    Denise said…

    Ali- I followed your WITL project for a few years, but never really chose to do it myself. This year, I started Becky’s Project Life and have found myself more captivated with documenting the everyday part of life- not just the special moments. My sister and her new husband came to visit this past week and I had so many pictures and memories to document and didn’t know how to start! Your WITL templates were an answer to prayer!

    My sister & her husband hopped on the plane at 3pm, and 3 hours later I have all the pictures inserted and am halfway done the comments. I am very much looking forward to getting them all done, printing them out and giving it to them as a gift!


  • 48.
    Eveline said…

    I printed of my daily pictures every evening on my Pogo printer and stuck them in my book along with some journaling. Loved the project and am in the middle of sharing it on my blog and Flickr.

  • 49.
    Kathy said…

    looks fantastic…………..thanks again for running this project it is definately more inspiring when everyone is doing it together. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  • 50.
    Michelle said…

    Thanks again for hosting this. I had such a fun time documenting and taking photos. Now that I’m done school I can sit down this week and put it all together. Looking forward to next year… I’ll be on vacation so I’ll lots of photos to take and lots of stories to tell!

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