Tutorial Tuesday | PART 4: Use Products from TDP to Scrap on Your Phone

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to to share an update to our “phone scrapping” series that ran here on the blog back in 2016. There are a bunch of new features and capabilities in the Project Life app nowadays, compared to when we ran the first three parts of our series — so we figured it was time to update you!

If you missed the first 3 parts of this series… you can find them here:

  • PART 1: transferring your own digital products into the Project Life app
  • PART 2: adding text to your own pocket cards imported into the app
  • PART 3: creating non-pocket style pages using the app in combination w/ photo editing software

The Project Life App has been an integral part of me being able to catch up on 7 years’ worth of pictures and memories in only 2 years’ time. The Project Life App has continued to grow and add some really cool features, which I’m going to talk about today.

When I first started using the Project Life App, I was very pregnant with baby #2. I still hadn’t done my first son’s baby book, or any of the thousands of pictures I took of him in his first 3 years, or any of the photos from the years before him. I hated that I had gotten so far behind on scrapbooking our family’s memories. Once I realized how easy it was to use the Project Life App, however, I told myself I would use it just to catch up on the early years of our marriage, and then I’d go back to my pretty Photoshop layouts for my son’s baby book. Well… as I began to crank out pages quicker than I EVER would in Photoshop alone… I realized I had found my saving grace for scrapbooking. In all honesty, I felt a little guilty buying kits in the Project Life App when my computer was FULL of beautiful digital kits… and I wanted to use them… but it was just easier to stay in the app. That is… until the Project Life App began adding new features. 🙂

For reference, I use my Samsung Galaxy 9 phone for the majority of my scrapping. We Android users often refer to ourselves as the ‘red-headed stepchildren’ of the app world (our updates always come 1-2 months later than the iPhone updates, for the Project Life App). But the new updates have been totally WORTH THE WAIT!

FREE FORM TEXT

The first feature I’m going to talk about is “Free Form Text“. Free Form Text allows you to add a text box to any pocket or picture. Prior to the update that included Free Form Text… when using TDP products in the PL app you would need to use another app (like Rhonna or Pixel Lab) to journal on your cards or photos (this previous method was covered in the 2nd part of our blog series, found here). Then you’d have to save the new card that included text to your gallery, go back into the PL app, and add it to the layout as a photo. Free Form Text eliminates those extra steps. I remember totally geeking out about this update last May. I could FINALLY use all my beautiful digital kits from The Digital Press! Free Form Text is an add-on in the app, but in my opinion it is a great feature for only $2.99.

Check it out…


[ examples above were made in the Project Life App using Rachel Etrog’s March Stuff Journal Cards ]

Now, there are some limitations to the Free Form Text feature. The text box will not wrap to the confines of the journal card (or photo), so you will have to hit the “enter” key to go to the next line. If you have a large amount of journaling, it may take some tweaking to get it just right.

ADD YOUR OWN FONTS

The next feature that totally changed my app-scrapping game was the  “Add Your Own Fonts” (Font File Installation) feature. You can add ANY font to your Project Life pages, and you are no longer relegated to using the fonts available in the app. This feature — plus the Free Form Text — means you can add titles in beautiful script fonts, add dingbats to your photos, etc… the possibilities are endless! Like Free Form Text, this feature is an add-on to the app and it’s a bit more expensive at $4.99, but still very worth it, in my opinion! The ease of not having to switch apps and add extra steps to the process when making a page are priceless to me.

[ examples above were made in the Project Life App using Rachel Etrog’s A Boy Life Journal Cards, Papers, & Karla Noel’s Touch Font ]

The majority of the time, I download fonts through my desktop, unzip & install, then copy to my Dropbox Fonts folder. I love app-scrapping, but sometimes I just need a bigger screen to see what I’m doing. 99% of the time, I’m installing fonts from my Dropbox. You can find lots of cute fonts at The Digital Press HERE.

PicTapGo

The newest feature that I’m going to tell you about is “PicTapGo“. This app has been available for iOS users for a long time, but it just recently became available to Android users in August 2018. It became integrated into the Project Life App in early September. It is a great photo-editing app and I almost always lighten/brighten my photos using the “Brightside” filter (usually turned down to 50-ish% depending on the photo). Remember, when scrapping on your phone, your photos may look bright enough, but because your phone screen is back-lit, they will often print darker than what they appear on your screen. You can turn your screen brightness down on your phone while you’re working, or simply lighten your photos. It’s another great addition to the Project Life App — and at $2.99 as an add-on feature, it’s another upgrade that I think is worth it to have a better photo-editing system integrated directly in the app. I tell you, I will pay for the ease of NOT having to leave the app to complete my layouts!

[ the journal card on the example layout shown above is from the Meow Journal Cards set by Dunia Designs ]

The edit is a subtle difference on this particular photo, above, but you get the point!

Another cool tool in PicTapGo is the rotate function. I love using patterned papers in my digital pockets, but sometimes I find that I want to tweak them a little (for instance: turning striped papers on a 45 degree angle to get a different look, etc.). Here’s a look…

[ this example layout, above, uses papers from the TDP Designer Collaboration collection Control ]

Pretty easy, right? I also made the title card (top left) using Free Form Text. It’s actually the letter “I” (two of them), rotated and stacked on top of each other (clever, right?!). Yet another reason to download the Free Form Text option.

One quick reminder — you should always back up your pages from the app. Don’t rely on the app as a way of storing your completed layouts (I learned this the hard way one time… but never again, you guys!). How to do this? Well, for myself… as soon as I’m done with a page, I export a “social sharing” copy to my phone gallery, and a 12×12 size to my Dropbox. I recommend always exporting at least the 12×12 size, even if you plan on printing at 8×8 or 10×10 — because at least you have the option to print at a bigger size later, if needed (if you save at 8×8 and decide later to print larger, you will lose quality and it’s not recommended; better to save the larger size, just in case!).

I hope this post helps you see the possibilities of using the Project Life app with your TDP goodies. If you are completely new to the Project Life app, be sure to check out the original post in the series here. The third post in the series is also a really fantastic resource, and talks about using the Project Life App and Photoshop or PSE together (which is probably my favorite way to scrap now!). I love the clean lines of pocket style layouts, with some embellishments added later to give it that little something extra.

Be sure to post your layouts that use TDP products along with the Project Life app in the gallery! We’d love to see what you come up with!

Happy Scrapping!


About the Author  Ashley is a member of The Digital Press creative team. She lives in Utah with her husband, 2 young boys, and 1 lazy (but lovable) pup. She works full-time at a busy medical clinic. She has been scrapbooking since childhood… scrapbooking digitally for 10 years… and most recently (& obsessively) app-scrapping on her phone. 

Friday Favorites | ninigoesdigi

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our designer feature series here on The Digital Press blog in 2019 — Friday Favorites! This year, we are learning a bit more about each of our fantastic designers by having them share some of their favorite things with us each week (so much fun!).

This week, the spotlight is on the fantastic Nini Lee of ninigoesdigi!  This is actually Nini’s third feature here on the blog (you can find her most recent feature article from July 2018 HERE… and/or her Foodie Friday article from February 2018 HERE w/ yummy food ideas/recipes).

This time around, in order to learn even more about Nini, we asked her to share one (or more) of her favorite things with us… and this is what she had to say…


“One of my favorite things is actually an iPhone app I use to be able to take better pictures. Last year, I realized how few pictures I actually took with my big camera… but I was taking a lot of pictures with my iPhone. But I felt a little disappointed that I couldn’t take more creative pictures with just my iPhone. That all changed, however, when fellow TDP designer Laura Passage told me about this app — Camera+2! It is a paid app ($2.99), but I don’t think that is too pricey and it is well worth it!

Here’s a look at the app info/logo (so you’ll have an easier time finding it, if you decide to go give it a look in the App Store)…

It didn’t take long for me to start playing with it… and while I still don’t think I’m using it to its full capabilities yet, I do enjoy the macro feature a lot! It has been a very useful companion on my walks as I like to snapshot things on my path so that I have an interesting shot to upload to Instagram, LOL (and of course, some material to scrapbook, too!).

Here are a few shots I took with it. What do you think?

In the second photo, the bokeh was originally a mistake(!). Before you touch the screen to adjust where to focus, it can sometimes appear blurry… but this time, I decided it was beautiful and took the shot!

The normal camera on your iPhone will automatically focus on a face or something in the picture… but with this app, you have more options to choose where to focus, which is so great! I try to update my Instagram feed regularly, so you can follow me there and discover Japan through my lens!

Although I’m sure there are other camera apps out there that are very nice, I am really liking this one! If you know of any other camera apps that I should check out, I’d love to hear about them, as well!”


This app sounds fantastic… I’m definitely going to check it out! I’m always looking for ways to improve my iPhone photography.

For those of you who aren’t already as familiar with Nini’s design work, she creates such colorful products! I love her kits. They are jam-packed with fantastic papers and elements. Her work is visually-compelling and her products practically scrap themselves!

Here is a sampling of some of the items you’ll find in the ninigoesdigi shop here at The Digital Press…

And to give you just a glimpse at her designs in action and demonstrate the beautiful pages you can create with them… here’s a look at just a few of my favorite projects from the gallery at TDP, which is always full of beauties from Nini’s shop!

Aren’t those layouts fantastic?!

Hopefully, today’s Friday Favorites article has given you even more insight into Nini’s personal style (and again, if you want to know even more about her — scroll up and use the links to her previous features here on TDP’s blog, where’s there’s lots of good stuff!).

And the best news of all?! …during Nini’s upcoming feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code when purchasing her digital goodies (this code/sale will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 4/4). Don’t miss it!

[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = N1NI-2OFF . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = N1NI-5OFF ]


Amy

About the Author  Amy lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their 13-year-old boy/girl twins. Their 22-year-old daughter has recently finished up graduate school at Clemson and is starting her first full-time job! She has been scrapbooking since the early 1990s, but discovered digital scrapbooking in 2005 when her twins were born… and has primarily scrapped digitally since that time. She is passionate about telling her family’s stories and documenting their life together. She is also a huge reader (mostly literary fiction), a pop culture junkie, and LOVES all things beauty & makeup!

Tutorial Tuesday | Two Pages From One

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I am excited to share with you a method for quickly creating a 2-page spread by making a second complimentary page from a page you have previously created and saved as a layered file (such as a PSD file in Photoshop).

Often, we all scrapbook pages randomly… which leaves lots of holes in our chronological gathering of pages. When we decide to compile and print a book, however, these holes really become obvious and we are left with a collection of random pages that likely don’t look as pleasing when printed side by side in a book. When it comes time to print an album, we might wish to create a second page to go next to our first page (thus creating a 2-page spread), so that when a book is opened the two consecutive pages flow nicely together.

But… what if we don’t even remember what digital kit we used to create that first page? It could take hours to sift through our digital stash to locate the right kit. This is when my technique may come in handy. Read on and see….


Basically, when I open up the layered file of a scrapbook page I’ve already created in the past, it is almost like opening up a mini kit to scrapbook with (but in this case, the shadows are already applied and maybe even clusters are already created). All of the papers and elements I used the first time are available in that layered file. Let me walk you through the process of using them to create a second page.

First, open the original layered file you want to use to create a second matching page (if working in Photoshop or a similar program, it will likely be a PSD or TIF file). For this tutorial I will be using a page I created using Laura Passage’s collection On The Daily, featuring my darling grandson…

Next, you’ll create a new project making sure your color mode is the same as the original (mine was created in RGB 8 bit color). You will also want to match the width, height, and resolution of the original page…

From the menu bar along the top, select Window > Arrange > 2-up Vertical. This will place your original layered page and your new transparent page side by side in Photoshop…

Next, click on your original layered page to make it active. Your layers palette should be visible on the right. Select one of the papers from your original page to use as the background paper for your new page (if you want to use the same background paper as the original, you may need to ‘unlock’ the paper by clicking on the word “Background” in the layers palette and allow it to be renamed; for example as “Layer 0”). Once you’ve selected a paper to use, simply click on it in the layered image and drag it over and drop it onto the new blank page next to it. Re-center the paper onto the new page as needed.

Now you can probably guess how the rest of the process goes: you will continue to select items off of the original layered page and drag-drop them onto the new page.

Another fun trick — you can select multiple items at one time and drag them to your new page together, as-is. For instance… suppose you really like a cluster you created on the original page, and you want to use it again on the new page. Well, you can select all those items together on the original page and then drag them to the new page to create that same cluster. If you want to make sure they stay together you can even “link” those layers together after dropping them onto your new page (in the layers palette you will find all the cluster items highlighted from the recent drag and drop; you can right-click the mouse and select “link layers” from the menu, and these items will now be linked together and move as a unit wherever you preposition them on the page). You can also resize the cluster items together at one time, keeping the cluster proportions the same since they are linked.

As I previously mentioned, another of the great things about this process is that the shadows you applied to the original pieces will follow over to the new page, too. This saves you a step in the time it takes to create the second matching page.

Once you are satisfied with the basic design of the page, it is time to add your photos…

Take a quick look at the page to decide if you need to add any last items or any journaling.

And… as easy as that… you have a page that nicely compliments the original!

I hope you can use some of these ideas to create some matching 2-page spreads complete your scrapbooking albums, too.


About the Author  Tiffany is a creative team member at The Digital Press and has been scrapping for over 25 years. She resides with her family in Idaho, but dreams of warmer climates. Family will likely keep her in Idaho so vacations will have to do. Her scrapbook subjects include her husband, four children, one grandson and two dogs – as well as whoever and whatever will stay put for the snap of the camera. Other things that keep her busy include teaching fitness classes at the gym and working as a hospice/home health nurse. 

Hybrid How-To | Selfie Shots in Mini Frames

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series on The Digital Press blog! Today I am here to show you how fun and easy it is to add selfie shots into cute little mini frames on your physical scrapbooking layouts. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m adding mine into a Traveler’s Notebook spread (so you can see how tiny they can be!)…

Before we dive into the details of this process, though, let me introduce myself! I’m Wendy Morris-Saponaro, and I’m a “seasoned” hybrid memory-keeper and super excited to be on the creative team here at The Digital Press as a hybrid artist. I’ve been a scrapbooker for about 20 years in creating for many scrapbooking manufacturer companies… from Prima Marketing to several online scrapbooking companies. Yes, long long time… within the past few years with the changes in the scrapbooking industry, I’ve leaned more to hybrid scrapbooking (using digital supplies to create physical paper layouts/projects)… and typically in the Traveler’s Notebook format. I never see my addiction ending anytime soon. HA!


First, let’s take a selfie… get ready, smile, pose….

You know you are as guilty as myself in grabbing your phone, which is pretty much always glued in your hand, to snap that necessary selfie before picking up the fork and knife, jumping on this-or-that ride, or standing in front of a landmark sign… right? My husband would have his fair share on comments for my selfie shots that consist of about 20 takes before I pick only one from the batch that I like. Ha!

Let’s dive into a few ways that you can use your never-ending stream of phone camera selfies and incorporate them into your next digital or hybrid scrapbook layout…

Browse Through All Those Selfies

You might be amazed at how many selfie photos are sitting on your phone that you are planning to scrapbook but never print out. In selecting my photos, I browsed through my iPhone (i.e. “solo” selfie, selfies with others, etc.). The auto Selfies folder on the iPhone is a great jumpstart to see what is sorted there to select photos.

I use an Epson XP-6000 printer, and I just arranged my chosen photos in a collage format on a 4×6 photo sheet in the Epson app… and then printed out my top three choices. Don’t be afraid to use duplicate photos if they are your favorites. Just do you! Ha!

Also, to add, my two-page layout is a Traveler’s Notebook-sized spread, so I was focusing on selfies that would fit a vertical style for the flow of layout. You could easily adapt to a horizontal format, however, if that is your preference.

Frame it Up

I’ll give you a helpful clue… you’ll want to look for a collection over at The Digital Press that has photo frames in the kit…

I chose the GRL PWR Kit from ninigoesdigi for my layout. The photo frames in the package of elements from the kit were just perfect for framing my selfie photos. I used the Cricut Design Space software to re-size the photo frames to a mini version. Then, I used my Canon printer and Cricut Explore Air 2 to “print and cut” the frames to the perfect size for my photos, as shown here…

When you choose to print your digital papers, elements, and journal cards, the awesome thing is that you can re-size things to a preference for the size of your project.

As a hybrid artist, I love this ability to customize the digital elements to the size needed for my project!

As you can see, above, I grabbed up some of the items from the elements pack in the kit to print and add as fun bits here and there.

Compliments that Pack the Punch

As you will usually find in 99.9% of my layouts, I use stamping as a compliment to “telling the story” around my photos. I have MANY stamps (no shame in that)! HA! I used some stamps to compliment around the theme of ‘girl power’ in my layout, as shown in the next couple of images…

Also, as a fun touch, I love the ombre effect to the paper in the GRL PWR Kit …and the letters “GRL PWR” (shown below) were already in the ombre effect in the elements pack. I wanted that bold effect of the letters as the title…

Then, I accented the title with stamped phrases and wording here and there.

I also used a ticket stub stamp…

…and I even added bits of patterned paper from the GRL PWR Kit to some of the ticket stubs as accents and to add variety.

Here’s a look at the overall effect on the right side page of my finished layout…

Isn’t it a fun project?

I challenge YOU to look through your phone and grab up a few selfies to scrapbook, also — either in digital or a hybrid format. Share with me your thoughts in the comments section of this post after trying out my tips for inspiration.


About the Author  Wendy has a strong passion for the arts, lots of creative spirit, and is fearless in working with new products and techniques. During the day, she works full-time as an Audit Manager. Wendy and her family live on the Gulf coast of emerald waters in Navarre, Florida. Her husband is from Italy and is an amazing Executive Chef at an Italian restaurant in Navarre. Her daughter is a Yorkie named Principessa. Wendy has over 20 years of experience in the scrapbooking industry. She has been published several times in print and online scrapbook magazines, and has designed for several manufacturer’s creative teams. Wendy is currently designing for The Digital Press as a hybrid artist.

Friday Favorites | Calista’s Stuff

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our designer feature series on The Digital Press blog in 2019 — Friday Favorites! This year, as you know, we’ve been learning a bit more about each of our amazingly-talented designers by having them share some of their favorite things with us each week.

This week, the spotlight is on the creative designer behind Calista’s Stuff… Meta Wulandari! You may remember Meta from her previous features here on the blog (you can find her first feature from May 2017 HERE …her Foodie Friday article with delicious recipes from March 2018 HERE …and her most recent feature from July 2018 HERE).

This time around, in order to learn even more about Meta, we asked her to share one of her favorite things with our readers… and here’s what she had to say!


“Since I have a baby, I like to sometimes add a cute touch to my photos. The way I do that is to make the photo of my baby look like a comic. My favorite app that helps me do that easily is called MomentCam Cartoons & Stickers. In this app you just need to have a photo with a face, and the app does the rest!

Here’s a look at how this app works…

In the image above, going counter clockwise from top left, shows… (A) the app interface, (B) adding a face photo, (C) customizing the face features, and (D) choosing a theme.

You can easily change the shape of the face shape, change the hair style, add accessories like glasses… and more! There are dozens of themes you can choose to find one that best suits the project you’re working on.

Here’s an example layout that I created using this app…

You can then save the images and use them in your own projects.”


I’m thinking that Meta’s favorite thing could easily become one of mine, too!

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to take a look at Meta’s digital collections, she has a very distinct style — including design elements that feature brilliant watercolors, vibrant patterns, fun hand-drawn elements, and something I can really appreciate… masculine patterns and designs!

Here is a sampling of some of the items you’ll find in the Calista’s Stuff shop at the Digital Press

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a peek at these fantastic projects that were made with Calista’s Stuff products…

 

Can you see why Meta is one of my favorite designers? Whether you are looking for colorful papers, realistic hand-drawn elements, or splashes of color, Calista’s Stuff has it all!

Hopefully, today’s Friday Favorites article has allowed you a sneak peek into Meta’s creative style (and again, if you want to know even more about her — scroll up and use the links to her previous features here on TDP’s blog, where’s there’s lots of good stuff!).

And the best news of all?! …during Meta’s upcoming feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code when purchasing her digital goodies (this code/sale will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/28). Don’t miss it!

[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = M3T4-2OFF5 . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = M3T4-5OFF10 ]


About the Author No need to adjust your computer screen, it really is a GUY hanging out here at The Digital Press! Sean is a native New Mexican who fell in love with a Utah girl 25+ years ago and never went home! He is the designated scrapbooker in his family, preserving the memories of his wife, two sons, and dog Muffin. He loves all things Disney, Harry Potter, and anything related to his favorite animal, the duck! When he’s not scrapbooking on his phone or computer, he develops curriculum to teach people how to use dental practice management software. He joined the Creative Team at TDP in February 2019.

Tutorial Tuesday | Photography with Window Light

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m here to show you ways that you can capture photos using the light from the windows in your home.

Have you ever avoided taking photos in your home because the lighting isn’t great? Or looked around and wished you had gorgeous natural light flooding in, as with the beautiful homes we see in magazine spreads? Me too! I love our current home, but it has several rooms that are rather dark. As I eventually discovered, myself, window lighting has so much potential — even if it’s hard to see at first.

A few tips before we begin:

  • I highly recommend pulling out your DSLR if you have one. If all you have is a cell phone camera, however, that’s OK! Explore all the options and controls available in your camera app and ensure you’re making the most of your images.
  • Turn out the artificial lights! These techniques rely on having only the light from the window affecting your subject.

Ready? Let’s go!

Where’s The Light?

I love our kitchen, but it’s dark. There’s one window behind the sink, but it only gets indirect sunlight and the rest of the kitchen pretty much stays in shadow…

While it’s true that good light makes an image, the same can be said for shadows. Having both shadow and light gives much more depth to an image,  and shadows can help hide the junk in the background that you don’t want to see anyway! As you’ll soon see, this kitchen window has become my absolute favorite spot to capture photos in my home.

Once I even had to stop mid-chop to capture a photo of cilantro as I was preparing dinner!

Now that we’ve focused on figuring out where the light is… let’s explore all the ways we can utilize the windows in our home to capture amazing photos.

Photograph At An Angle To The Window

Stand perpendicular to the window. This means to stand so that one of your shoulders is toward the window, and one of your shoulders is away from it. The subject should be right in front of the window. This allows you to capture strong directional light and shadows moving across your subject.

Here is my son standing in front of the kitchen window, and my left shoulder was toward the window. Notice how the light falls off and the right side of his face and body is in shadow?

Here are two more examples using the same kitchen window. I placed these flowers in a cup on the kitchen floor and pulled out my macro lens! I love how the light just kisses the flowers and then dies off, leaving the rest of the image in shadow. You can’t even see the floor just a few inches below.

*TIP* If you do product photography, for an Etsy shop or another type of online sales listing, consider using lighting like this!

And just to show that I do have more than one window in my house, here’s my daughter and our cat Tiggy. In this instance, my right shoulder was toward the window. These windows happen to be much larger than my kitchen window, so you can see that the image overall is pretty well lit even though we still have those awesome shadows in there…

And one more of yet another cat, Pinkie Pie (we have four cats!). This is a window in my daughter’s bedroom…

Photograph Straight On To The Window

OK, so now you know how to use the window when you are standing perpendicular to it. But you can also shoot straight on to the window, as well. Here’s another shot of the cats in my daughter’s window… only this time, I was directly facing the window…

This presents challenges, as the outside will often be much brighter than the inside. In this example, I used the meter of my DSLR to set the exposure for the front yard, which resulted in the cats being in shadow. I focused on their ears so I could capture the outline of their ears in focus. I think this works because cats have a distinctive silhouette and this lets me tell the story of two cats staring out into the trees in the front yard.

And now, back to my favorite kitchen window. You’ll notice my kitchen’s a mess, dishes all around, even a dead plant off to the left! I want my kids to look back on our photos and connect with what they see, so I don’t stress over clutter or creating a perfect frame. I just had my daughter hop up on the counter and I snapped this. Took just a few minutes!

A few things to note:

  • While I am facing straight to the window, my daughter’s body is at an angle to the window so the light can touch her face. I had her slowly turn her head back towards the window just until I saw the light outline her sweet face and then I took the photo. If she was sitting with her back fully to the window and looking directly at us, her entire face would be in shadow and we wouldn’t be able to see her.
  • It’s totally OK if the window itself is blown out when you attempt this type of photo (“blown out” meaning that the image data is so bright that it has become fully white and lost all detail).
  • I set exposure off her face — that little patch of skin on her left cheek — to get the results here. You can easily play around with the exposure in your editing software later.
  • It’s very difficult to capture this type of an image with a cell phone. Most cell phones will try to auto-meter and it’s nearly impossible for the phone to determine what it should be metering for (and thus, it will probably over-expose the image — i.e. make the interior of the home appear fully lit).

Get Out There And Practice!

I took these photos in a camper we rented over spring break last year…

Once you learn to manage window light, you’ll see opportunities everywhere! At stores… restaurants… even in campers!

There’s no substitute for practice. If some of these techniques seem confusing, pull out your camera and try to replicate the setups from the sample images. I’ve been known to use a doll in place of a child because the doll listens to my directions much better than my kids do. As you practice, really focus on “seeing” the light and shadow, and notice how small changes in positioning can make a huge difference in the impact of the photo.

A few things to consider:

  • What is the story you’re trying to convey? Are things properly illuminated (or hidden!) to support that message?
  • Editing is key. Remember that what I’m showing here are edited images! Now, I’m pretty lazy… so the editing on these is pretty basic. But I do like to enhance contrast a bit so my images pop.
  • Explore black and white. The high-contrast images you get from directional lighting naturally lend themselves to gorgeous black and white edits.

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try using window lighting in your home in new ways when taking photographs. I’ll be back later to show you tips on creating amazing photos using the artificial light in your home!


About the Author  Beckie is a creative team member at The Digital Press and who lives near Austin, Texas. In addition to scrapping and photography, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and ignoring household chores.