Pursue a Balance

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Hi, I’m JennV and I’m excited to be here to talk about what many argue is the first principle of design….balance.  I’ve been scrapping for 10 years and I never tire of designing a page.  I’m one that will turn my layers on and off in photoshop a hundred times with my finished file using only half of the layers that are buried in there.  I will play with this design, then that design, add this flower, balance it out with a word strip on the other side.  When I design a page, there is nothing more important to me than the balance of it or in some cases, the lack of balance!!  This quote from Matisse sums up my thoughts perfectly….

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Technically speaking, balance is the equal distribution of visual weight around a midline axis/point.  As humans, we like to see what is called bilateral symmetry.  This is essentially the repeating of the reverse of a design on the opposite side of the axis/point, in essence, each side becomes a mirror image of the other.  This balance is considered formal, ordered, stable and quiet…but can also be boring.

To show this design principal in action, I designed a layout for each balance type using the same kit with the exact same elements for each layout.  Here is my layout showing symmetry.  I used At The Farmer’s Market by Mari Koegelenberg and Sugarplum Paperie.  All the elements and papers are distributed down the vertical axis so that each side is a relative mirror image of the other side.

Print

While symmetry achieves balance through repetition, asymmetry achieves balance through contrast. Asymmetrical, or informal balance, involves different elements that have equal visual weight. Many things can influence visual weight, such as position.  The further an element is from the center, the “heavier” it feels.  So you can balance a large center object with a smaller object on the edge.  Some other factors that will influence visual weight we intuitively know…a larger element and/or element with an intense color feels “heavier” in a design.  The more complex a shape, the heavier it will feel.  A diagonal orientation carries more visual weight than a horizontal or vertical one.  Finally, multiple smaller objects can balance a larger one.  Asymmetrical balance is considered more casual, interesting and dynamic than symmetrical balance, but it can also be harder to pull off.

Here you can see an example of asymmetrical balance.  I balanced the heavy photo with a bold colored paper strip at the top of the layout.  I framed the word strips with the painted dots and added in the lighter colored background behind the photo to draw your eye to the photo.

Print

Finally, we have the last balance design …and it is breakdown of balance…the end of all things sweet and good….it’s called Discordant balance!!

Discordant is defined as disagreeable, at variance, conflicting, clashing, jarring, grating….essentially it doesn’t sound good!!!

However in terms of design, a discordant balanced design can suggest movement or flow.  It can be used to make a statement or just catch someone’s eye.

Here is an example of a a discordant layout.  Again, I used the same elements as in the previous two layouts.

Print

Whether we like it or not, there is a balance in everything we do.  We hear about work/life balance ad nauseum. We eat good foods and exercise, but might balance that out with an occasional trip to Krispy Kreme!!! Study, study, study for that Algebra test and then watch Amazing Race the next night. We scrap all day and night and feed our kids cereal for dinner as we try and finish the “last” layout…..wait, that would be an example of no balance….LOL!!!

Too much of one thing never works. Whatever your design preference for balance, it is important to try new things and switch it up every now and then.   I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes on the matter of life and balance…….

life-is-a-balance-of-holding-on-and-letting-go-3

 

JennV About the Author:  JennV is a lover of history and art (luckily she lives 5 miles outside of Washington, DC) and an accountant by training.  She currently stays home with her two boys and is pursuing a career in photography, when she is not busy volunteering for every school and county initiative!!

Pursue Health And Fitness

Pursue Health and Fitness

 

Hi there!  Kacy here with a post about the pursuit of health and fitness (and documenting it, of course!).

I work out every day and try to watch my weight.  Some of that is definitely vanity, but I’m also approaching 40 years old, battling some chronic health problems (underactive thyroid, endometriosis), long days sitting at work, and an absolutely insatiable love of junk food.    I have included pictures from the gym and some of my hiking adventures in my project life album, but have never really documented a workout, a health problem, or even what I love to eat aside from an occasional layout about cupcakes.

MMMMMMM, cupcakes!

Um… where was I?  Oh – a layout with only photos of food or pictures of my feet on a treadmill doesn’t really appeal to me.  This got me thinking about other ways to scrapbook my workouts and the various health challenges I’m dealing with.

FITNESS

When I’m out hiking, I usually turn on the GPS on my phone and use the My Tracks Google app to track my workout.  I’m an engineer and I love numbers and graphs, so I like the visual representations of the data collected during my workout.  I also figure it might come in handy if I ever get lost.  How about using some screenshots from the app to go along with some photos of my hike?

Fitness

Supplies Used:  Days of the Week Saturday and Days of the Week Friday  by Mari Koegelenberg and Sugarplum Paperie

Phone or computer screenshots from Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal or even your Fitbit might help you tell a more complete story.  If you don’t use any of these apps or websites, try including a Google map of your latest adventure in one of your layouts.  What other ways can you think of to document your pursuit of fitness?

DIET

What do you eat?  What do you like to eat?  There could be two very different answers here!  😉  Since my diet is mostly devoid of any nutritional value, I borrowed this layout from fellow CT member Alina to talk about her Way of Eating (or WOE, which is how most of us feel when watching what we eat).  I thought it was great that there were no food photos in the layout – or am I the only person who can’t get the pretty food blogger-type photos to turn out?

Diet

Supplies Used:  A Fresh Start by Zoe Pearn and Digital Scrapbook Ingredients

Another great idea I’ve seen is a copy of the recipe in the layout, having someone take a few photos of you while you cook something special, or even getting the kids involved.  What other ways can you think of to document your “WOE”?

MOTIVATION

You can tell a lot about a person by what is on their IPod.  Mine has more Britney Spears than I like to admit and much more gangster rap from the 1990’s than you’d think! I think a good playlist is a fantastic way to keep yourself motivated at the gym and to distract you during a long and boring run on the treadmill.  What’s on yours?

Playlist

Supplies Used:  Spin the Record by Amanda Yi Designs and Two Tiny Turtles

If music doesn’t float your boat, maybe you are motivated to reduce your cholesterol, or by a pair of pants you want to wear, or an upcoming reunion/wedding/trip.  What is your motivation?

HEALTH

As scrapbookers, we sometimes gloss over the things that aren’t going particularly well or make us unhappy.  I am totally guilty of this – if you only knew my from my scrapbook layouts (especially the ones posted online), you would think I’m an active, happy, energetic, organized woman who lives with a cute cat.  If you actually know me, you are now rolling on the ground and laughing. 😀

I thought it might be interesting to look back in a few years and see the crazy that is my daily medication schedule.  Every day I take my thyroid meds, vitamin D, an antidepressant, probiotics, magnesium, more thyroid meds in the afternoon, birth control pills, multivitamin, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and a Benadryl allergy tablet.  These are all scheduled around what time I ate or the last pill I had to take.  It’s beyond irritating, but I have to keep on top of it to function “normally”, so I suck it up and get on with it.

Schedule

Supplies Used:  A Fresh Start by Zoe Pearn and Digital Scrapbook Ingredients

I think it might be interesting to include copies of blood work results or my doctor’s notes after an appointment.  What other ways can you think of to document some of the health issues you are dealing with?

I hope this post has given you some ideas to work with.  Wishing you good health and happy scrapping!

KacyAbout the Author:  Kacy is an Environmental Engineer living in Arizona with a elderly, cranky, pudgy, but insanely cute calico kitty.  She enjoys scrapbooking, crocheting, dancing awkwardly to electronic dance music, Grumpy Cat, Scottish accents, drag queens, cupcakes, bacon,  Stephen King books, smirking, very crude inside jokes, and men in kilts.

Pursue The Perfect Shadow – The Zen of Shadowing

Pursue The Perfect Shadow

I think that most of us seasoned scrappers went through phases with shadowing on a page. I remember my first pages, where I simply skipped the shadowing. I maybe just didn’t know that there was a shadowing feature and most probably I was ignorant that shadows would make a difference. After a while I found the shadows feature but just didn’t know how to use it properly and in review these pages don’t look much less awkward than my first attempts. After a while of shadow dabbling I found shadow styles and gosh, they made my scrapping life so much easier and rewarding. In this tutorial I will show you one technique to go even further and bring you closer to your Zen of Shadowing.

 

As much as anything in art, shadowing styles are a matter of taste. I personally like my shadows to be noticeable and giving depth to the page. I love it when I achieve a close-to-paper look. It’s still a hit and miss and I’m working, tweaking, changing my ways constantly to try something new and „better“ in this realm.

 

Pursue The Perfect Shadow or The Zen Of Shadowing - Smudging

Every item’s shadow on this layout has been smudged. Look at the paper’s edges, the photos and the tassels.

 

My latest obsession is „smudging“ the shadow. To do this, you have to be able to put your software-generated shadow on it’s own layer. I do this in photoshop cs6 by 1. right-clicking on the fx icon of the layer and 2. clicking „create layers“. If you can’t do that, you can always separate the shadow manually. Look up google for „Putting a Drop Shadow on Separate Layer„ for your graphic software.

 

Pursue The Perfect Shadow - The Zen Of Shadowing - Smudging

How to put your shadow on a separate layer in PS CS6

Before you can separate a shadow, you surely have to apply one. It’s up to you how you do that. I use shadow styles all the time and sometimes tweak them before separating, sometimes I do it afterwards.

So with your shadow separated, you 1. click on the new shadow layer 2. click on the smugde tool, which is housed with the blur and sharpen tool. 3. Select a big round brush with about 20% hardness. The size of the brush depends on the size of the item your shadow belongs to. I usually go with a 825 px brush for the most items and adjust for very big or small items. 4. Look closely which part of the shadow you want to smudge. Put the middle of your brush to that part and pull a tiny bit into the direction where the light falls (away from the virtual light source).

Pursue The Perfect Shadow - The Zen Of Shadowing - Smudging

How to smugde a shadow

All the settings are just a suggestion and you may want to play around with this feature to get acquainted and make it your friend. The tool is not always easy to handle and especially when your software is going slow anyway, you may have some terrible fun waiting for your machine to calculate your move.

On a more detailed note (I love details!) some things I consider when working with shadows:

1. What is your global light doing? When the virtual lightsource is on the upper right corner, it usually makes no sense to stretch the shadow into that direction. Follow the path away from the light to stretch your shadow and create depth by applying the shadow how it would fall in a natural setting. If in doubt, go to a window, place a paper somewhere, crunch the paper a little and see how the shadow is falling when you turn the paper. It’s a great exercise for any visual artist.

2. Are there elements grounding your item? I personally don’t like it (blame it on my mild scrap ocd) when my shadow is spread where it naturally wouldn’t be spread. I smudge the shadow more to the inside of the item in these cases. Also the parts that are close to the grounding elements can’t be as far away from the background in my imagination.

3. Is the shadow strong or weak enough? As stated above, I like my shadows stronger, so most of the time I adjust the fill up to achieve a deeper tone. For more distance between item and background I might lighten the fill a little.

4. Smudge several times on one item if you want. As you see in the layout, I smudged the shadow of the photo several times. It still goes with the direction of the light, though. This makes the photo pop out of the spread even more.

Pursue The Perfect Shadow - The Zen Of Shadowing - Smudging

Details for smudging.

Let’s try this! It’s easier than it looks and it can make a huge difference on your page!

Happy smudging!

PS: I use ctrl z all the time when smudging (or using any other feature…)

 

AlinaAbout the Author: Alina enjoys sitting in front of her large computer screens too much. Apart from that she loves walking her dog and watching sunsets while being amazed of life in general. She is married to her best friend. Tries to manage the needs of her two cats and her dog and badly fails when they all want their cuddle time at once. Everything else is scrapping, taking photos and currently crafting. Having said that, she needs a bigger craft room.

 

 

Pursue History

Pursue History

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be here with you today to talk about one of my favorite subjects – scrapbooking family history! A heritage/family history scrapbook album is wonderful way to document your family’s history and create a lasting gift for future generations. Some people find scrapbooking family history to be a challenge so I thought I’d help out a bit by offering a few different ways to document your family history in your scrapbook pages.

 

One of my biggest tips regarding family history scrapbooking is to just get started. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the photos and memorabilia from the past and wanting to be sure each and every page is perfect. I have found that just jumping in is one of the best strategies for getting the pages done – find a photo or a story that you really want to document and JUST DO IT! It’s often a good idea to start simple – using neutrals and muted tones which are more traditional colors for historical photos. Trying to focus on keeping it simple can help you get started. Neutrals and traditional motifs can help you create beautiful but fairly easy pages that don’t require a lot of fuss! Here are a few examples of pages using ‘traditional’ heritage supplies to create beautiful pages for your family history scrapbooks!

 

Layout by farrahjobling

Layout by Stacia

 

One of the things that I often hear people say about heritage scrapping is that they don’t scrapbook family history because they do not have photos about the events of their family’s past. Although I certainly understand the trepidation that comes from not having photos, I have a few suggestions about how to document those events and experiences from the past  despite not having photos with which to base a scrapbook page! My first suggestion is to think outside of the box and scrapbook a page that tells the story of the major historical events have impacted your family. One example of this technique, is a page I created about the fact that my maternal grandfather was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese and how that experience affected him and his family. It was a difficult page to create because it outlines some very personal and difficult experiences but I love that it tells the story of our family within the larger context of the world around them. I didn’t have any photos of my grandfather at Pearl Harbor so I googled photos of the Pearl Harbor bombing and found this photo which was perfect for the theme of my page! Don’t be afraid to search for relevant photos online that might capture the themes of your page!

 

Pearl Harbor

Layout by Amy Melniczenko (anrobe)

Other ideas for scrapping family history pages when you don’t have photos include the following –

  1. Document pop culture of the past
  2. Tell stories from the past and use scrapbooking supplies on the page that will reinforce the theme of the story you are telling! One of the main things future generations will be interested in is the stories you have to tell so be sure to document them regardless of whether or not you have pictures that go with those stories.
  3. If you have memorabilia from the past, you can always use that in lieu of a photo to tell a story.
  4. Do you have any furniture, glassware or art that you’ve inherited from a family member? If so, take photos of all of those precious ‘things’ so that you can tell future generations about the things from the past.
  5. If your family has certain family recipes or foods that are significant, be sure to document those in your scrapbooks. You can make the dish and use a photo from today to document those recipes or you can do a photo-less page that outlines the recipe and why it’s significant to your family’s heritage.

Another thing that I have often heard people say they struggle with in scrapbooking the past is that they prefer using modern supplies (vibrant and bold, for example) which we don’t tend to see used with older photos. I love to use more current kits and supplies on my heritage layouts – so I definitey recommend you give it a try! No one said that older photos had to be neutral and muted! Add some color and use more modern motifs to add that extra something to your pages! Here are a few examples that might help inspire you to use more modern supplies and motifs on your family history photos!

 

Layout by AlinaLove

Scrapsandsass

Layout by Scrapsandsass

LegendaryLove_900

Layout by Amy Melniczenko (anrobe)

 

I really hope these suggestions and ideas are helpful to you and allow you to begin to document your family’s history! Don’t forget that  there are no rules for scrapping the past – it’s your scrapbook & you should create pages that resonate with you!

So, now it’s your turn! I would love to see what you can do to pursue history by using one of these suggestions to create a family history page.  I’m hosting a challenge over on the forums and I hope you will come play along!  Check it out at The Drawing Board: Challenges.

Amy
About the Author: Amy lives in Reston, VA with her husband of 13 years and their 9 year old boy/girl twins. Their 18 year old daughter is in the midst of  her second year at West Virginia University!  Amy 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! Amy is a huge reader (mostly literary fiction) and is a pop culture junkie! She also LOVES all things beauty & makeup!

Hybrid gift tags

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Hi folks! Donna here from the hybrid team and I will be sharing with you some cute tags I’ve created for Valentine’s. I used “Love is in the air” by Mari Koegelenberg and Mommyish and gift card tags template by Kelleigh Ratzlaff.

When I didn’t have an electronic cutting machine yet, I used to cut Kelleigh’s templates manually. Yes, even those tiny rectangular slits you see in the image below. One great tip I can tell you is use sharp and fine-tip scissors as much as possible for great results. A craft knife is also a handy tool to have for cutting besides a ruler and cutting mat.

For this project, I used both my machine and my hands. I used my Cameo to cut these templates.

donnaespiritu-valentine-tags1

 

and manually cut these printed elements using my ever trusted fine-tip scissors by EK success. Clean up the edges first before using your cuts ups to your projects.

donnaespiritu-valentine-tags2

 

added some butterflies and twine to complete my gift tags. You can add dimension even without using foam tape. I folded the hearts in the middle and glued down just the middle part, same with the sentiments. So it looks like the edges of the sentiment floating. Instant dimension!

donnaespiritu-valentine-tags3

 

donnaespiritu-valentine-tags4

Happy heart’s day!

DonnaAbout the author: Donna Espiritu is a new mother to a little girl and wife to a very supportive husband. She is currently living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with her family. When she is not scrapbooking, she likes to read some sci-fi/romantic/time-travel themed books or watching old episodes of some of her favorite tv shows.

Pursue what you Love

Pursue what you love

Hello, hello! Cynthia here today bringing you this awesome lovey-dovey article. But—if you thought this would be yet another Valentine’s Day post, prepare to be surprised! How often do we forget to actually do what WE love? When was the last time you ate a whole bag of lemon drops while watching Dr. House? Uh, ok, that may be just me, but in all seriousness, how often do we put ourselves last and fulfill the needs of our significant others, kids, co-workers, friends, etc. first?

For example, I do love to watch Dr. House,  ER, Grey’s Anatomy and all those hospital shows while my hubby truly despises them. He says he can’t stand the idea of seeing someone in pain (when most likely he can’t stomach the idea of blood, even imaginary). So I don’t watch them, or else watch an episode here and there when he’s not home.

Pursue what you love

 

Another thing I love to do is cook elaborate dishes and desserts, but when you are constantly on the move with little ones (and one that is THE pickiest eater ever) I end up cooking the same things over and over again. Every once in a blue moon, I do indulge in my inner Marthe Stewart and whip up something super fancy or at least, something new to break the routine.

Pursue what you love

I also love gardening, but don’t seem to find the time to do it. I have a gazillion pots that are just begging to be filled and also a gazillion plants in those horrid plastic containers. *sigh*

Pursue what you love

So my challenge to you today (and every day if you can!) is to find those big and little things that you love but don’t often have the time to do, and recapture them. Pursue them even if it’s for an hour, or if you only get to reminisce about that city you loved when you first visited. Make the time to have at least a few minutes of “me” time every day, I promise everyone around you (even if they don’t know what you’re doing!) will appreciate it. But mostly, you will love to pursue your (mostly) forgotten loves every day.

Head on over to my Scrap your Love Challenge here in the Forum, where I’ll show you a couple of ways you can scrap those other loves in your life! Can’t wait to see what you love!

Cynthia About the Author: Cynthia is a CT Member here at The Digital Press. She lives in sunny (way too sunny!) Mazatlan, Mexico with her hubby and their 8-going-on-40 yo daughter, plus the 2 most spoiled Westies who ever lived. She loves reading, cooking, photography and of course, scrapping!

 

 

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible and Inspired

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a creative rut? You might take a look through your gallery and see that a lot of your pages look the same, or you don’t even feel inspired to create a new page because you feel like it has all been done before, or… you can’t even decide what to make for dinner anymore because you are sapped of any and all creativity. Well, maybe you don’t have these problems, but I certainly do. And when I’m lacking in creative mojo, there are a few things that will get me back into the creative zone:

  • I use Pinterest to search for art/design/color or really anything that jumps out at me and makes me feel like creating. Sometimes it is a quote, sometimes it is someone’s art, sometimes it is a list of ideas or creative kickstarters.
  • If Pinterest isn’t doing it for me, I will turn on some of my favorite music and do a little afternoon dancing. I think that if we get physical and ignore our mental blocks, they can dissolve themselves.
  • Magazines or scientific/technological websites will often give me a punch in the gut because of the interesting things that are happening on their websites or between their pages. An article about 3D printing, beautiful descriptive language in National Geographic, or reading about advances in medical technology can offer creative inspiration… especially if it isn’t something you would usually read. It gets you outside of the typical box and lets you take a peek into another world.
  • People-watching/eavesdropping. I admit to being an eavesdropper. Not always. But sometimes, you catch a nugget from a conversation that immediately draws your attention, and then your imagination. Follow that, and you reach creativity. Listen to those around you. Jot down key phrases or note something you liked about their personality or style.

It is always important to find what really works for you. You can read a lot of different opinions on creativity, but if one or the other doesn’t work for you, it is a problem. You have to find what keeps you inspired and creative. Here are some other thoughts/ideas about creativity:

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

 

 

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/185421709634232282/

Pursue Creativity: Keep Yourself Flexible & Inspired

Now that you’ve seen a variety of different ways to pursue creativity, it is your turn. Join us for the Pursue Creativity Challenge in The Drawing Board challenge forum.

KimberleeAbout the Author: Kimberlee is a lover not a fighter; a stay-at-home gran, a poet, and a lifelong learner. She grooves on saturated colors, Tuesday dance parties, optimism, glitter and sunshine. She colors outside the lines.  She is a dreamer. She is a collector of moments.  She is all about the story.  Kimberlee completed her MFA in Creative Writing and is currently working toward a M.Ed. in Instructional Design.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Plan Your Layouts

Are Your Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Play Your Layouts

How many times have you sat down to get some scrapping done and spent the whole time hunting for the photos that you want to use? It’s so frustrating to have to look through folders to find the photos from a certain event or that match a particular kit. I decided that I wanted to spend more time scrapping and less time hunting for photos, so I found a way to use Lightroom to organize my photos waiting to be scrapped.

Collections is a feature in Lightroom that allows you to put photos together without actually moving where they are on your hard drive. I love using Collections to plan for my scrapbook layouts. I’m going to share my photo import workflow today to show you how I stay organized. By keeping up with these steps each time I import photos, I have photos ready to go whenever I’m ready to scrap.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to plan your layouts

The first thing you need to do is think about how you scrapbook. If you do separate albums for each of your kids, then you may want to make Collection Sets for each child. I do yearly albums, so it made the most sense for me to have my Collection Sets by years. Your Collection Sets are going to be the main sections, and you are going to create collections within the Collection Sets for each layout you want to make. Here is a screen shot of my Collections panel so you can see how I have things set up:

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to Plan Your Layouts

Next comes importing your photos. Import your photos into Lightroom using whatever file organizing system you use. I organize my photos by year and then month, but you can do whatever makes sense for how you scrapbook. Once you have imported your photos, take a look at what is there that you might want to scrapbook. I grab any photos that might go into a layout and create a collection for them. So, if it was my son’s birthday, I would grab all the photos from that day, go under the collection year, and then create a new collection titled “Birthday Max.” I do this for all of the photos that I have imported at that time, so I may have several different layouts that might come from the photos. There might be a t-ball layout, a school project, and a portrait shot of the baby all from the same import, so I would be creating as many collections as layouts that I want to create from these photos. It only takes me a minute or two because I am not culling or editing the photos, just grabbing all of them and throwing them into a collection.

If you do a weekly or monthly pocket-style album, Collections is also helpful for that. I grab all of the photos for that period of time and put them into a collection. You can use a Smart Collection to do this by specifying the date range that you would like to be included in the Smart Collection. Then, I am able to go through and review and rate the photos, deciding what I want to include in my weekly spread.

Now, when you are ready to scrap, you can just go to your Collections panel and grab a collection to get scrapping! You will know exactly what layouts you need to create without hunting through folder after folder. Once you have chosen a collection to work with, you can then decide which photos to include in your layout. Because all the photos are there, you can easily see which are the best to include on your layout.

Are You Ready to Scrap? Using Lightroom Collections to plan your layouts

My favorite thing about Collections is that once you are done with the layout, you can just delete the collection. It doesn’t delete the photos from your computer! It only deletes the collection of photos you have created. It couldn’t be any easier to stay organized and ready to scrap! I went back through all my older photos and created collections for each year, so I know that once I have deleted all the collections from the year collection set, I am ready to print my completed album!

I love being able to use Collections to keep my “To Be Scrapped” photos organized. I hope this tutorial helps you to get organized, too!

KatieAbout the Author: Katie is a member of the Creative Team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

 

 

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

 

Good morning! Brenda Smith here, sharing with you how I documented the best moments of 2014 in We R Memory Keepers 4×4 album. I documented our entire year with 12×12 pocket pages already, but wanted something more accessible that could be kept out as a coffee table-type album.

The first thing I did was create an A-Z list of moments corresponding with each letter. Some were more of a stretch than others (like Xmas for X), but I eventually filled out my list. Next, I went very basic with the title page. I knew I wanted to use the January Special Edition products for the entire album because the colors were vibrant and happy, so I picked this beautiful floral paper from Sugarplum Paperie.

 

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

 

 

 

Next, since this album would obviously require several pages for the entire alphabet, I decided to create a simple yet visually appealing template for each page. I kept one page as a 4×4 protector with layered papers and one big photo and a few different elements and the other side as four 2×2 protectors with two smaller photos and two smaller pieces of paper with labels.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

 

Obviously to work with the opposite sides of the page protectors used, I have to alternate the sides the 4×4 and 2x2s are on. I used some wooden veneer alphabet to denote the letter. I really enjoyed using papers from several different designers, including Crafty Mess papers from Mommyish.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

I kept a 4×8 template in Photoshop for both layouts and simply clipped different papers, pictures, and word art to each new letter. This really sped up the process for me and I was able to finish this entire album in only two nights’ worth of work (which is really fast for me since I can be a slow scrapper). Also, isn’t that camera paper by Laura Passage so fun??

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

One of the things I’ve learned with all the mini albums I’ve made is to vary the placement of dimensional embellishments to make the pages lay evenly. In this album, I altered the placement of the wood veneer letters in order to have the pages stack on top of each other evenly.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

I printed out each separate page as one layer on a 4×6 sheet of Canon Matte Photo Paper. I know there are some who prefer to print up each individual element and then layer on top of each other with glue, but I like to save time by shadowing in Photoshop and printing as a single layer.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

 

The January Special Edition products were perfect for an album of this type because I had several papers and embellishments to choose from that already coordinated perfectly. Yet another time-saving element for me because it took the guesswork out of making sure everything matched perfectly.

Best Moments of 2014 Documented Hybrid ABC-Style

One of the best things about this album (besides the small amount of time it took me to make) has been that it’s small enough for my kids to look through. They have both picked it up several times and reminisced over all the fun things we did last year. It makes my heart happy to see them remembering things so fondly.

I won’t bombard you with more pictures of this album as I’m sure you get the idea but will be posting them all in the gallery at some point. I hope I’ve encouraged you to try a similar style album and have given you a few ideas of how it can be done quickly.

 

brenda

About the Author: Brenda Smith is a mother of two littles and wife located in Southern California. When she is not scrapbooking, you can find her working full-time, trying to finish up her college degree with online classes, or sleeping because there are never enough hours in the day. Hybrid scrapping satisfies her addiction to technology and her addiction to paper and glue.

 

Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos

Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos

I for one am a word person. I love writing, and reading, and find myself so inspired by a good quote, poem, or some words of wisdom. Often the words we find ourselves drawn to or inspired by are also words that reveal a lot about who we are and what we’re going through at this particular moment in our lives. As memory keepers, that idea resonates so perfectly with the desire to capture photos that have particular meaning for a point time and seem to capture our lives at that time so well. With that in mind, today’s post is intended to encourage you to seek out some wordy inspiration, and even better, to use that inspiration in your scrapbooking to add meaning and remind you of a feeling or idea that went right along with that photo.

This year, as part of the note-taking in my diary that I intend to use to keep track of everything for my Project Life hybrid album, I’ve started noting down some inspirational words when I find them. There are any number of great places to find them, but some of my favorites are Pinterest and GoodReads.

Here’s a recent example I pinned to use later:

Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos

 

The next step though, is what to do with them. When you have that moment where you think “…so true!” – that’s worth preserving one way or another. Of course, there’s always just sharing it on FB, Instagram and Pinterest, but honestly I think it’s never been easier to add this kind of inspiration into your scrapbook pages, too. Here are a few ideas on how:

  1. Pick a kit with a great message. I think you’re often drawn to a new kit or collection because of the words as much as the design and color scheme. A kit like this from the TDP store is packed full of ready-to-go inspiration, and includes word art that I can easily imagine would fit with the inspiration you could draw from an image. Imagine a gorgeous image of your little one wandering down a quiet road or path – add some superb word art from this kit and you’re adding a double layer of meaning.Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos
  2. Take a quote you like, and use it as the journalling on the page. Personally I love labels and little journal tags as design elements in kits, so this is a great way for me to use them, especially as I am not a big journaller otherwise. Here’s an example I’ve created using Love Is In The Air (new in the TDP store from Mommyish and Mari Koegelenberg on Feb 6). The quote is from Alan Moore, author of The Watchmen: “there’s a notion I’d like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.”Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos
  3. My third suggestion is great for pocket scrapbookers, but could be applied for traditional pages too. Journal cards are a great easy way to add some meaningful words. I’ve often seen card sets that have some really inspirational wording as well as great design, but even better, almost every set comes complete with several cards with space to add your own words. Take one of the quotes you sourced elsewhere, play with a font or two, and voila – a personalised, meaningful message. Here’s a quick example I put together using a journal card from the amazing TDP collab Winter Berries:Pursue inspiration: meaningful words and meaningful photos

Make sure you check out our February challenge series in the forum that’s full of ideas for things you can pursue this month. If this has motivated you to scrap some inspiring words, our Pursue Inspiration challenge starts Feb 6.

KathrynAbout the author: Kathryn Wilson shares her 1920s New Zealand home with her husband, a wauzer, and a cavoodle. She is a photographer, and both a digital and hybrid pocket scrapbooker, who has lots of DIY projects she should probably be working on right now.

Pursue Your Creativity With One Product

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There are so many ways to alter a digital product that can really extend the usefulness of your digi stash. There is usually more than one way to alter a product and, depending on your editing software and preferences, you can determine what alterations best suit your project. I’ve created two layouts, both using the same kit, “It Must Be Love”, and on each page I have used a paint element in three different ways. Let me share with you how I’ve altered the paint to use in different ways.

Here is a link to the kit I used. Amanda Yi Designs – It Must Be Love

bunchesoflove-copy

On my first page, I placed the paint under my photo, resizing it to just peek out from under my photo. The doily was just too cute to not want to use again so I decided to extract it from the paint layer. There are different ways to do this. Sometimes I will use the magic wand or lasso tool to extract from a layer but this time I found it faster to duplicate the paint layer, select the doily using the quick mask and then extract it from the layer. I resized it and placed it under the white flower. Thirdly, I used the quick edit again but this time I selected pink and red splats from the paint layer, duplicated them a few times and placed them scattered around the page.

Use whatever extraction method you prefer but if you want to try my method of extracting with quick mask in photoshop, duplicate the layer, select the quick mask icon, select a brush and paint over the area you wish to extract and then click the icon to turn off masking. You will now see marching ants. Hit “delete” and Ctrl + D to turn off the marching ants. Now you can move your selection as desired (shortcut key “V”).

Now I’m going to use the same paint layer three different ways on my next layout.
love_copy
I placed the paint just to the right of where I knew my photo would go. I wanted to use the large yellow circle as a frame for my photo so I duplicated the layer, chose the elliptical marquee tool and selected the outer edge of the yellow circle within the paint element. I used the shortcut keys Ctrl + Shift + I to select the area outside of the yellow circle which I didn’t need and hit the delete key. Now, using the same method, I created another circle with the marquee tool which I deleted to create a circle frame with an inner hollow area where my photo would show. I placed my photo behind the cutout frame and chose a shadow to add some depth to it. Thirdly, I used the paint to stamp along the edges, resizing and turning as I positioned the paint along the outer edge. To do this, on the paint layer, I used the shortcut key “V” (move), held down the ALT key and dragged and dropped the duplicated paint over the edge of the layout. I continued these steps, positioning the paint off the edge of the page, turning and resizing, and also recolored a few layers with a hue/sat adjustment layer.

So now you have learned six ways to use one product. I hope this inspires you to experiment and look at your digi products in a new light, thinking of different ways to use them.

I hope this inspires you to create! Head on over to the Challenge Board and join in! Pursue Your Creativeness With One Product Challenge

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RaeRae Clevett is part of the Creative Team at The Digital Press. She lives on the west coast of BC with her hubby and Taz, their labradoodle. As a photographer and avid digital scrapbooker, most days she is either behind the camera or scrapping some of her personal photos. There is  usually a cup of coffee on her desk and some chocolate treats, as she is a chocolate addict. Her laptop sits next to her computer so she can watch tv or movies.  Taz usually lies on the floor beside her, playing with his toys. It’s a pretty sweet set-up, comfy and casual.

Pursue Your Beloved

 
Pursue Your Beloved (Write a Love Letter)
 
Hi everyone! It’s the start of a new month, and that means a new crop of challenges in the forums here at The Digital Press. Each month we create a series of blog posts and challenges that correspond with one word.  This month, we chose the word PURSUE.
 
Pursue could mean many different things and we would love to have you join us as we “pursue” different aspects through our scrapbooking.
 
With Valentine’s Day coming up, this is a great time to focus on our loved ones. If you have a spouse or partner, it’s likely that you don’t communicate things you love and appreciate about that person every single day. Personally, although not a writer by nature, I find it easiest to communicate those thoughts to my Beloved through the written word.
 
Pursue Your Beloved
 
Here are a few journaling prompts you can use to jumpstart your own love letter:
– Use an endearing name (i.e. Beloved, Darling, etc.).
– List qualities you love about your Beloved and tell them why you love those qualities.
– Write about things your Beloved does for you that often get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of life (but you still really appreciate).
– Record the story and relive the memories from when you first started your relationship with your Beloved, and write about how things are different and better today.
– Write about your hopes and dreams for your future together.

And one final tip: be sincere and leave the humour to a minimum for this letter. Really dig deep and write from the heart!
 
Pursue Your Beloved
 
So, now it’s your turn – I’m hosting a challenge over on the forums at The Digital Press and I hope you will come play along! Check it out at The Drawing Board: Challenges. See you there!
 

Amy H.About the Author: Amy is a wife and mom to three from Ontario, Canada. She’s always been interested in scrapbooking, but didn’t try digiscrapping until 2008 when she received PSE for her birthday. By then she had 1 year old twins and a baby, so the thought of just playing for 10 minutes, hitting save and walking away with no mess was extremely appealing! She’s been hooked ever since. She loves being the memory keeper in the family, loves taking photos, loves telling the stories. She’s also excited to know that these memories are recorded for her grandchildren to enjoy someday!

Pursue What You Love This February

We hope you are enjoying our inspirational posts and challenges here at The Digital Press! I’m here today to introduce our word for February and give you a taste of what’s to come!

February is usually overshadowed by one little holiday on it’s calendar. But instead of just focusing on romance and chocolate all month long (not that there’s anything wrong with either one of those—yum!), we kinda liked the word “pursue” for this month.

Pursue can mean many things…

pursue

via Pinterest: (1) (2) (3) (4)

From pursuing what you love to pursuing the one that you love… there’s a lot out there to pursue! What are going to be your personal goals for this month?

We have some amazing and inspirational posts coming your way right here on the blog. You will also find new challenges on the forums to spark your creativity and help you to make pages you really love!

You’ll find all the details of our challenge system laid out for you here: Everything You Need to Know about Challenges

Our new month of challenges starts tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us then!


Nicole About the Author: Nicole Seitler is a designer here at The Digital Press, creating kits under the name Sugarplum Paperie. In her free time, she loves to to work on her Project Life album, knit or craft with her kids. But she doesn’t have much free time, since she’s also a stay-at-home homeschoolin’ momma of four. Her life may be a little crazy, but she wouldn’t want it any other way!

Focus on the Good within the Bad

So often when we scrapbook, we show off the fun photos, we tell the favorite memories and we share all the good things in our lives. This is great and a large part of why we love this hobby.

But what about the bad days, the hard times and the moments when we just want to walk away from it all? Do they deserve their moment in the spotlight? Is it our job as the family storyteller to brush away the bad, hide it in the corners or the back rooms and hope that no one goes in? Is it our job to ONLY roll out the good, the wonderful, and the beautiful moments and put them on display to show what a wonderful life we have?

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I want to encourage you to memorialize the bad. Don’t brush it aside. Don’t pretend it never happened and most certainly don’t let guilt convince you that your hard days aren’t worth the telling. It doesn’t mean your pages have to be full of negative things, but be honest. Tell the real story of your family. Let it be a little raw. Let it cost you some tears in the telling. Pour out your heart into your pages and see what happens to your albums. Mix in the difficult memories with the good, sprinkle your books with a healthy dose of realness and watch your story come alive.

Remember, life happens. Life with all the pain, the beauty, the joy and the tears is worth being remembered.

Here are THREE tips to help you scrap the bad and still want to share your story with others!

LIST IT

Sit down and write out a list of the things you didn’t like about today or the holidays or the summer, etc. Get it out! Make that list and give yourself permission to be brutally honest about the things you hated in that moment. This will serve two purposes.

  • It allows you to get it out. You don’t have to let those negative thoughts or feelings stay hidden and fester. Write it down, get it out and move on.
  • It gives you perspective. If you see it written down in black and white, it is easier to then pair it with the good. You can’t appreciate the good, unless you’ve experienced the bad!

2014_summer_lo

USE STILL PHOTOS

It probably wasn’t possible, in the moment, to capture photos of everything going on. That doesn’t mean you are lost! I remember one of the many messes that Sam made, he had taken a brand new bottle of dish soap and poured it all over the kitchen and living room floors. That was some mess to clean up! The linloleum was bad enough with bubbles multiplying with every drop of water, but can you even imagine the carpet? It was awful. I was not in the mood to capture the moment with photos. But after the fact, I could take a still photo of some dish soap and a picture of my clean living room and talk about what happened when the two came together. In this way, no memory is ever too late to be told. Think back to any experience and think of 2-3 photos that would best sum up how you felt or what happened. Take the photos and scrap them while sharing the memory.

2009_soapsuds

TELL THE STORY

Write out the experience as if you were a fly on the wall telling the events. Write it all out. Even if the moment was bad, chances are with time and distance, the story can have a little humor. Wait until you are able to look back and laugh a little (even if you are cringing too) and describe it. Give as many details as you can remember and put it all out there! By telling the story one detail at a time, it distances you but gives the reader a chance to connect. The nice thing about bad memories is that we all have them! We’ve all had the cringe worthy experiences that we hope no one ever knows about. When one person is daring enough to share theirs, we feel an immediate connection that we are not alone!

2014_autism

Life Happens. Life is not easy. Don’t get so caught up in documenting the wonderful that you forget the difficult. It is all part of your story and deserves a chance to be told. And as I read recently:

“Never blame any day in your life.

Good days give you happiness.

Bad days give you experience.

Worst days give you a lesson.”

So cherish your happiness, ponder your experiences and learn from your lessons! And in the meantime, check out my challenge HERE in the forum!

Ramona About the Author: Ramona Brown is a storyteller and graphic/web designer. She loves finding the stories in the every day and sharing them with others. She believes that everyone should “Scrap Your Story” and find purpose and meaning in doing it. Her best stories come from life with her six kids and the adventures they take her on daily! You can read more of her stories on her blog.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Being organized in life generally means we are more efficient, and the same goes for digital scrapbooking. I love to create “mash up” layouts where many different elements and papers from many different kits are used. For instance (click for credits):
Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Layouts like this take a lot longer to complete without having an organized stash. Enter: Adobe Bridge. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber or own a copy of Photoshop, it’s likely you also own Adobe Bridge. If you do, here is a tutorial on how to get your digiscrapping supplies organized in that software!
 
First of all, open Adobe Bridge and make sure the keywords panel is visible by going to the Window menu and ensuring Keywords Panel is checked (make sure your Folders Panel is also checked):

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Next you’ll need to set up some keywords. If you currently don’t have a keyword library set up, feel free to download mine HERE. You can then import them by going to the drop down menu on the side of the Keywords Panel and choosing “Import” and then navigating to this downloaded file. Importing these keywords will update your current keywords list, but will not replace it.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Once you have your keyword structure set up in a way that makes sense to you, you can start tagging your items. To add a keyword, click the same drop down menu you used to import the keywords list and choose “New Keyword.” To add a sub keyword to one of the existing categories, hover other the top level of the category, right-click, and choose “New Sub Keyword.”

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Jpgs, pngs, psds, tiffs, etc. can be tagged, but things like actual folders, layer styles, brushes, etc. cannot be tagged. There should be a pop up that will warn you when something cannot be tagged. The reason that Adobe Bridge tagging is so powerful is that it embeds the keyword/tag right into the metadata of your file, so you can search keywords outside of Bridge on your computer and that tag will still be associated with that file. This also means that if Adobe Bridge were to be uninstalled at any time and reinstalled, your files will be tagged already and you will not have to re-catalogue your entire library of digiscrapping supplies. This is a huge time saver!

OK, so on the left hand side you see the Folders Panel. Navigate to the place where you keep your digiscrapping supplies. I tend to organize my folders by designer, or by store and then designer within the store folder if I have things from a few different designers within one store. This is helpful if you like participating in challenges where you can only use items from that particular store. You can see a bit of my file structure here on the left:

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
To tag something, simply select the thumbnail and then check off the keywords you want associated with that file in the keywords panel. If you see a list of filenames rather than thumbnails, you can go to the View menu along the top and make sure “As Thumbnails” is selected. If you want to see the thumbnails bigger or smaller, use the size slider on the very bottom of the software window. You can tag an item with as many keywords as you like. For instance, if you have a paper with two predominant colours, you can tag it as “multi-coloured” or with the two main colours. You can quickly see which keywords are assigned to your selected thumbnail by looking at “Assigned Keywords:” at the top of the Keywords Panel.

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
Using your keywords is as simple as selecting the folder you want to search within in the folders panel on the left and then typing the keyword in the search box on the top right of the software. For instance, if I’m doing a TDP challenge that has to include a piece of string, I would select The Digital Press store folder in the folders panel on the left and then search “string” on the top right and all the tagged string from my TDP stash will appear in the content window:

Focus on Organization using Adobe Bridge
 
I hope this tutorial helps you get on your way with using Adobe Bridge to organize your stash. The time invested in organizing is well worth it, as it will make your scrapping time more efficient and enjoyable! Feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I’ll help as much as I can. Happy organizing!
 
 
Amy H.About the Author: Amy is a wife and mom to three from Ontario, Canada. She’s always been interested in scrapbooking, but didn’t try digiscrapping until 2008 when she received PSE for her birthday. By then she had 1 year old twins and a baby, so the thought of just playing for 10 minutes, hitting save and walking away with no mess was extremely appealing! She’s been hooked ever since. She loves being the memory keeper in the family, loves taking photos, loves telling the stories. She’s also excited to know that these memories are recorded for her grandchildren to enjoy someday!

Focus on Shadows

Hi, all! Heidi here with a simple little trick that will help make your shadows a little more realistic.

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for premade shadow styles. Push a button and done. So today we are going to be using Sabrina’s new Shadow Styles.  One thing I have discovered though, is that sometimes, the COLOR of the shadow just isn’t right. And if the shadow looks bad, where is your focus? On what is “wrong” with the layout instead of your focus being on your subject.

So in the screen shot below, the shadow on the lace is from Sabrina’s Shadow Style. It is the perfect size, but the color is way to dark for the paper I am using.

Shadow 1

To change this takes less than 30 seconds … ready? Double click on the Drop Shadow effect (circled in red on the screen shot). It will pull up your layer style box.

Shadow 2b

Once you have the layer box open, make sure “drop shadow” is highlighted like mine is in blue. Next, you will click on the color box circled in purple below. That will open up the box to be able to change the color of your shadow.

Photoshop should now look similar to this:

Shadow 3

Notice the small white circle in the color box (bottom right)? That is the color of your shadow. It is way to dark for the paper I am using, so my next step is to move my cursor over my paper that I have my lace on and click on the paper. Notice how the white circle moved to the top right and the actual color changed from an orangish color to a little more yellow as well?

shadow 4

That means I now have a more accurate shade to create a shadow from.  Also, notice how my shadow pretty much disappeared?  It is now the same color as the paper, so it is hard to see an actual shadow.

What I want to do is move my cursor back up to my shadow color box and pick a new shadow color. When I have a hard time finding a realistic color for my shadows, I stay with a grey color. Look at shadows around you right now … grey is probably what you will see. Sometimes, I can stay within the brown color for my shadow, but just pick a lighter brown. Play around with it. Click on lighter greys, darker greys, which color works for the paper you are using?

Here is the color I finally picked:

shadow 5

Much softer and a little more realistic right? Don’t believe me? Look at my first screen shot again. That shadow is way to dark. 😉

I usually use this method with pink paper. Brown shadows overall work great! Which is why Sabrina chose the color she did. But every once in awhile, you get that one perfect paper and horrible looking shadows. Now you know how to fix it fast and put the focus where it should be!!

HeidiHeidi has been scrapping for 17 years. Her passions include dark chocolate, photography of her family and reading Christian fiction. When not doing one of these activites, she can be found working at an elementary school library or enjoying being a SAHM.

Focus on Capturing the Everyday

Capture the EverydayHey All! Krista here taking over the blog today 🙂

Part of telling our story is including the details that make up our everyday. Sure I love to scrap all the fun, BIG moments- our vacations, birthdays and holidays. But some of our most cherished moments happen in the mundane of our everyday.

 Here are 3 easy tips to help you Capture the Everyday:
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1. Keep your camera out and ready.

I keep my DSLR (Canon Mark ii) on all the time with a Memory Card in it. It sits on our kitchen counter ready to be grabbed at any moment. I admit I grab my iPad or iPhone 70% of the time to catch our everyday moments, but I do try to use my DSLR as well. I think mobile photos make great everyday pocket pages. The photos aren’t generally the best quality and would look best sized smaller.
I have a smaller camera (Canon 7d) “my diaper bag camera” that I take with me to the park or on vacation. If I had to lug my big DSLR, I most likely wouldn’t take as many photos. I can also fall back on my phone too.
 tdpblog9
tdp bog 2
2. Make the Effort.
It takes effort to document your daily life. The thought of documenting every.detail.of.our.day seems daunting. It overwhelms me to the point that I don’t want to do it. I actually want to do the opposite! lol
I let myself off the hook and capture a moment here and there. I focus on things my Kids like to do all the time- play Barbies, Legos, ride bikes, etc. I snap a few pictures and then join in with them and have fun.
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3. Let your Kids in on the Fun!
My Kids are so used to seeing a camera out and they are getting interested in taking photos too! And what a great way to get in some of the photos too! Hand over your camera and let the Kiddos in on the fun too! I love downloading the photos after they have had my camera and seeing what they captured.
 tdp blog 8

Krista About the Author: Krista Lund is a mom of 3, married to her High School Sweetheart living in SF Bay Area. Some of her favorite things are brownies, chips n dip, taking pictures and documenting her family’s story.

Focus on YOUrself

Hello everyone – Judie here with my first blog post and related challenge at The Digital Press!  I’m going to be talking about the “oh so dreaded” selfie (well, for some of us, anyway).  But it really doesn’t have to be that way – I promise!  We all know the importance of documenting ourselves along with our family and friends, but too many of us skip over it because it’s a pain to take selfies, or we don’t want to give up the camera to someone else, or we simply hate taking photos of ourselves.  If you’re not one of those lucky people who are naturally photogenic and love snapping selfies, then this post is for you.  Even if you are a selfie aficionado, you might just pick up a couple of cool tips along the way. 🙂

 

Focus on Yourself

 

I was definitely one of those people (the one who always ran away from the camera unless I was behind it taking the photos), until I decided to make a project of it last year, and now I have a hard drive full of selfies and a gallery full of layouts that document me.  So, how did I do it?  I was simple really, instead of focusing on taking pictures of myself, I focused on the process of learning about portrait photography.  That way, the focus was on growing my photography skills, as opposed to just taking photos of myself.  This approach really helped me to get interested in the process of documenting myself and, after a while, I found that I really enjoyed it (both the photos and the scrapping).

 

This is one of my favorite selfies (taken in December 2014):

 

Focus on Yourself

Created with Woodland Winter by Studio Flergs

 

Step One: Taking the Photos

I thought I’d start by sharing my process with you, and then suggesting some other ways to put the photo focus on you.  As I mentioned earlier, I encouraged myself to take selfies by approaching the project as a photographic learning experience.  There are many online tutorials and tons of books and resources on taking selfies or head shots.  If you Google “self-portrait” you’ll find many free articles and videos, but here are some of my favorites:

 

 

These are just a few of my favorites, but there are many more resources out there.  I’d love it if you’d share your favorites in the comments to this article. 🙂

 

I used my DSLR (Canon 70D), 100mm lens,  tripod and remote shutter release for my selfie project – but you don’t need all of this equipment.  I would highly recommend some type of tripod, though.  It will give you much greater freedom in terms of your environment and posing if you aren’t limited to the reach of your arm.   A camera with a repositionable viewing screen and remote is also optimal because you can see exactly what the photo will look like before you take it.  This set up gave me the opportunity to test different poses and determine which ones worked the best (without taking 100+ photos).  Of course, you don’t have to focus on the technical photography details.  If you’re more comfortable taking arm’s length selfies with your cell phone – go for it!   The most important thing is that you get in front of the camera.

 

Here are some tips from my year-long selfie taking experience:

  • Try to take photos in natural light whenever possible (you’ll like the results a lot better).
  • Don’t take photos in bright sunlight, though.  If it’s a sunny day, take photos in a shaded spot or at sunrise/sunset.
  • Try to vary your environment and poses so that you don’t have a group of photos that all look the same at the end of the year.
  • Don’t be afraid to include props in your photos (such as a Starbucks cup, football, favorite book, cell phone, etc.).
  • Remember that a selfie doesn’t have to be limited to just you!  Feel free to include others in your photo to document your relationships.
  • If you don’t like yourself in photos, wear sunglasses.  Everyone looks cool in sunglasses – seriously.
  • Get creative and really let your personality shine through in your photos!

 

Here are a couple of examples of creative selfies.  One that I used several filters on (see what I mean about sunglasses?) and one with my iPhone that I used as a “frame” for another photo:

 

Focus on Yourself

 

And here are a couple examples of non-traditional (straight on) poses:

 

Focus on Yourself

 

Step 2: Getting the Photos Out of Your Camera

 

The next step is getting those photos out of the camera and ready to go in your scrapbooks (digital or hybrid).  If you are using your cell phone, you may be able to process the photos right on the phone itself, or you can download and process them in your favorite software (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.).  I shoot in RAW and use a combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and RadLab for my photos.  I start by doing basic adjustments in Lightroom (white balance, exposure, sharpening).  Then I tweak the  photo in Photoshop (eye pop, skin softening, etc.).  Then I export to RadLab and add my favorite adjustments there.  Don’t go overboard with the process though.  The whole point of this exercise is to have photos that document you.  The last thing you want are photos that look over-processed or nothing at all like you.  My post-processing goals are limited to making basic adjustments and adding a pop of color (or converting to black & white).  The entire procedure only takes me a few minutes for each photo.  Even this basic post-processing can make a big difference, though.  Here is an example of a photo straight out of the camera, and after post-processing:

 

 

Focus on Yourself

 

There are hundreds of resources for photo retouching techniques, but one of my favorites for Photoshop is Professional Portrait Retouching by Scott Kelby.  If you Google “photo retouching” and your software program you’ll find many free tutorials and YouTube videos on the subject.  You can spend as little, or as much time on the post-processing as you like, just make sure the the final result is still true to YOU.

 

After a selfie shoot, I generally download all the photos onto my computer and pick out my favorites.  Then, I delete (yes, I said delete) all the other ones.  One disadvantage to shooting in RAW format is that the files are pretty large, so I don’t want a bunch of photos that I’ll never use taking up space on my hard drive (or external hard drive).  While we’re on the subject of EHDs, let me take a second to remind you to back up your photos.  I don’t delete them from my camera until I have them saved in at least two (often three) different places.  Generally, I have a copy on my desktop hard drive, a copy on an external hard drive, and a copy in the cloud.  If I do the back up as I download from my camera, I never have to worry about losing anything.  After downloading the photos, I put the selfies in their own organizational folder in Lightroom.  That way, I have them all in one place and don’t have to go through folders by date to find the one I want.  Sometimes, I do the post-processing before I know what digital page I’m going to use the photo on, but most of the time I process them as a scrap.  As I mentioned before, my post-processing only takes a couple of minutes, so it’s not a big deal to wait until I know whether I want to use a color or b/w version of the photo.

 

Step 3:  Getting Creative & Documenting YOU

 

The whole point of this exercise is to document YOU and your life, right?  So it doesn’t do any good to take photos and leave them on your computer.  As digital scrappers, we document with photos and (sometimes) journaling.  So let’s talk about the best part of the process – getting creative with your selfies!  I talked about some ways of getting creative when taking the photos, but as you know, creativity knows no bounds with digital art.  Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate selfies into a digital page:

 

  • Include the post-processed photo on a traditional digital page.
  • Blend a photo into the background of an art journaling page.
  • Apply an artistic filter to the photo and use it on a page.
  • Include the photo in a pocket scrapping page.
  • Make a review page, including selfies from throughout the month, quarter or year.
  • Make a photo shoot page, including selfies from a particular photo shoot.
  • Use a photo with you wearing sunglasses and replace the lenses with reflective photos or patterned paper – BE CREATIVE!

 

Again, the most important part is to get the photos off of the computer and into a page documenting you.  If you are uncomfortable scrapping photos of yourself, try doing something creative with the photo such as applying a sketch filter and blending it into the background of the page.  Ready for some selfie inspiration?  Here are some examples of some of the the styles I mentioned above:

 

First up is a traditional page with a post-processed photo:

 

Focus on Yourself

Created with Krafty Basics by Mari Koegelenberg Creations

 

Here is an example of an art journaling type of page with a sketched version of the photo blended into the background:

 

Focus on Yourself

Created with It’s Complicated by Sugarplum Paperie

 

Finally, here is an example of using a photo with a sketch filter applied:

 

Focus on Yourself

Created with Emotions by Anita Designs

 

So, are you ready for a selfie challenge?  Be sure to check the The Drawing Board forum and join me in the January Focus on Yourself Challenge!

Until next time ~
Judie

 

Judie About the Author:  Judie is a member of The Digital Press creative team.  She spends most of her time engaged in creative endeavors of all sorts.  Traveling, Starbucks, football and Harry Potter are just a few of her favorite things.