Tutorial Tuesday | Making A Smart Move

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m going to teach you how to use smart objects in managing your layers within Photoshop.

Have you ever found yourself needing to sit back and take a break in the middle of a creating a digital masterpiece in order to contemplate the “how do I do that?” question? I have. Of course, with digital techniques, there’s often more than one way to approach something (gotta love digital!). I ran into a dilemma while working on a page recently, and then had an ah-ha moment; the solution to my problem was the use of smart objects.

Smart objects are layers, just like any other layer that you might use in your layers palette in Photoshop… except that they always retain the original data and file properties, no matter how you alter them. Alterations to smart objects (like changes in hue and saturation, addition of filters, warping, or resizing) are non-destructive… as compared to destructive (permanent) edits like flattening, simplifying, or rasterizing. For example, you can shrink a smart object… save it… and enlarge it again — without losing any of the original picture quality.

You can also treat smart objects as mini layouts embedded within a larger file. That’s how I wanted to use them. (I’ll be using Photoshop CC in this tutorial)

Let me start by explaining the look I was trying to achieve. A photo in a horizontal rectangular-shaped frame, with another photo also in that shape, but clipped to a mask. So, clipping a photo… to a mask… to a mask… that has a photo! Confused?

What I was trying to figure out was how to combine two mask-clipped-images into one. In the example above, imagine the red line is my photo frame, and the blue mask/photo combination extends beyond the edges of the frame. The lighter blue portion is what I want to hide or remove.

Remember how I said there are usually multiple ways to tackle problems in digital scrapbooking? Sure, I could have masked off the excess and painted it away, or I could have simply chosen a different mask shape in the first place. But, no. Of course, I couldn’t do that. I have a bad habit of challenging myself — and heaven help anyone who says I can’t do something!

So, let’s jump back to smart objects and the idea of layouts embedded within layouts.

The pink rectangle is the size I needed everything to be, so it would fit within my selected photo frame. However, I really liked the edging on the mask and wanted to include that as a design element. One photo on the pink section, and one on the black mask – but both in the rectangle. Here’s a step-by-step guide on achieving this look. If you’re not using smart objects, this is a lot easier than it looks, trust me! *wink*

Start by clipping the pictures you would like to use to the shapes or masks. At this point, your layers palette will look “normal” by all accounts…

To help delineate the masked images, I converted photo #2 by clicking on that image and running a black and white action (the action I used is called “Ansel,” if you like it). Because the action has been added at the top of the layers palette it turned everything below it – all the way to the background layer – black and white. That’s okay, for now. (Secretly, I kind of like this version, too!)

Enter Smart Objects! Select the action layer, photo #2 and its corresponding mask, then right click (in the layers palette) and select Convert to Smart Object…

Stop for just a minute and look at how the layers now appear. The three layers of photo #2 (the action, the the image, and the mask) have become one. If I had simplified or rasterized the layers, merging them together, I would have a black and white image in my mask shape… and that would be all. It would not be editable any more.

Take a closer look at the thumbnail in the layers palette, though. I encourage you to open up Photoshop and look at your own layouts, too, especially if you drag ‘n’ drop files into your layouts. In the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail is what appears to be some mini images layered on top of one another. Double-click on them — I dare you.

This is what you’ll see…

Um. #mindblown

Remember at the start, I said to think of smart objects as layouts within layouts? When you open up a smart object, as I did here, all of the original layers are available. You can edit them in any way you wish. I could change out the picture, use a different mask, hide the black and white action – or change it altogether. When I close the tab or file, it will update back to the main file — the one this mini-layout is embedded in…

I can now simply clip the smart object layer to the one beneath it — and both images, the original, color butterfly, and the black-and-white-clipped-to-a-pretty-mask one have blended together and taken on the shape of the rectangle. Because the smart object layer has everything nicely bundled together, I can resize things, move them around, and play without destroying any of the original pieces. I made a few adjustments, including changing the color of the underlying rectangle shape (to help it blend in a bit more in sections where it was bleeding through from the smart object’s mask). Here’s the finished image…

I’ve shown just one way I use smart objects… but there are so many more. Let’s take title work, for example. Say you’ve created an awesome title, with alphas or fonts, paint, masks … anything really … and it’s a lot of layers, just by itself. If you convert that grouping to a smart object you can (1) move it around as a single piece, without having to worry about locking and unlocking layers, (2) resize it without any loss of pixelation, and (3) most importantly, open it up to make non-destructive changes.

I hope you’ll give smart objects a try. They are great tools to add to your digital scrapbooking arsenal!

About the Author Kat Hansen is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. A Director of Human Resources by day, she loves the opportunity to spend a few hours each evening being creative. Vacation memories feature pretty heavily in Kat’s scrapbooking pages, as well as her health and fitness journey. Kat has quite the sense of humor (she “blames” her father for this), which she incorporates into her journaling and memory-keeping.

Feature Friday | Rachel Hodge

It’s Friday, and time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here on The Digital Press blog! This week, we are featuring Rachel Hodge and her fun and fabulous designs.

Rachel has actually been featured before three different times on the Digital Press blog in the past (you can find her August 2016 feature HERE; her March 2017 feature HERE; and her January 2017 Foodie Friday feature HERE.

For today’s Friday feature, we asked Rachel to share 5 things we may not already know about her

  1. I do NOT like summer — Why, you ask? …because I can’t enjoy a nice cup of tea in the middle of the day because I’m literally melting!
  2. I love my kids THE MOST …when they are all quiet & sound asleep in bed!
  3. I’m totally loving dark chocolate at the moment, particularly for breakfast… or lunch… or pre-dinner…
  4. I love finding new recipes to try out on Pinterest — yup, I actually don’t just pin… I try!
  5. Did I mention how much I love my kids when they are asleep? Probably should add that in there JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 😊

Mmm, sleeping children and chocolate… these are things I love, too! And speaking of things to love… well, if you have a browse through Rachel’s store at The Digital Press, I think you will find yourself falling in love with many of her word art sets and cards! Rachel has created such a variety of word art sets, from the fun and lively, to the calmly sweet and simple. Here is a selection of some of my favorite products from Rachel’s shop…

Additionally, here’s a look at some of Rachel’s products in action… used as titles, word art, stamps, cute stickers and journal or filler cards; for digital and hybrid projects. I think they add a beautiful hand-made touch to everything…

I hope you have enjoyed finding out a little more about Rachel Hodge, and I will bet you have already found something in her store at The Digital Press that makes you smile, or makes you want to try using her words or cards in your next project! To celebrate her feature week, her entire shop at The Digital Press will be 30% OFF all week long (sale ends at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 6/21).

Additionally, Rachel has a special Free-with-Purchase offer for everyone this week! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to stock up on your favorite products from Rachel Hodge… and you can snag this fantastic hand-drawn cutting file set — On the Road — for FREE with any $10+ purchase in her shop — this week only (again, this offer ends at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 6/21).

CorrinAbout the Author Corrin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a fan of the Big Bang Theory and a lover of cozy pajamas or flip flops when the sun finally shines! She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes, and hopes that maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

Tutorial Tuesday | Digital Mini Albums (Part 4)

Hello once again, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I will finally be wrapping up our 4-part series on creating a digital mini album (you can find Part 1 from March 2018 HERE …Part 2 from April 2018 HERE …and Part 3 from May 2018 HERE).

In the first few editions of the series, I shared that mini albums can be handy for…

  • Scrapping a family vacation
  • Creating a special gift for someone
  • Marking a special holiday
  • Documenting a specific family tradition
  • Capturing a sports season
  • Life Events such as adoption, graduation, birthday, wedding, birth, or death

I also shared that I have found there to be four main steps in the process of creating a mini album…

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Filling & Finishing
  4. Printing

In Part 1 we looked at the first step: PLANNING; in Part 2 I shared with you 4 different areas in which you could ORGANIZE to make the creation portion more streamlined; in Part 3 we got to do the fun part — FILLING AND FINISHING. Today, we finish it all off by looking at PRINTING.


There are a variety of different ways you can go about printing your album (including not printing at all). But before I get into that I want to hit on one very important thing… making sure your pages are print-ready. This will mean different things to different people, depending on how and where you decide to get your pages printed. Therefore, you will want to make sure you look into the specs & requirements before uploading and purchasing your prints.

Specifically, no matter which printing method you choose, you will likely want to leave a little space around the edges; this is known as margin. You want to give the printer a little room for error, so they don’t chop off a title or cut an embellishment in half. To solve this, you can leave a little white space near the edges of your designs… or you can try not to put anything important in the outer 1/4-inch of space around the margin of the page.

Now, as for the where and how of getting your pages printed, there are many options. I polled some of the other creative team members here at The Digital Press to get some ideas on how they like to print their pages… and I’ve outlined what I learned, below. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but it should at least help give you some ideas on how to go about it.

You don’t have to print; you can keep it totally Digital and save trees!

I once made a special 50th Anniversary mini album for my grandmother and I loaded the pages onto one of those digital photo frames.  The frame would cycle through the page images, and she loved it!

Creative team member Shannon says, “I made my husband build me a scrapbook showcase website/app so now I mostly keep them online to save trees and space in my house.”

What a brilliant idea! Why have I not thought of this? Now I know what I will be working on this summer for sure!

Many people simply opt to print a home.  You can get a number of decent printers for fairly cheap these days, and many stores selling printers offer guides to help you decide which printer is best for you.  I recently had to buy a new printer and I learned a LOT just by going in to stores and asking questions.  The sales reps are more than willing to talk to you-  just don’t buy anything until you decide what you really want or need!

I will share that if you can do an Ink Tank method, instead of buying a printer that uses cartridges, you will save yourself a LOT of money in the end.  These printers can be a bit more pricey to start with but the ink lasts a LONG time and only costs $20 to refill in most cases.

OR, Color Laser Printers are amazing as the images don’t blur or run in humidity.  They just cost a good amount of money, so be aware of that!


  • Time friendly as you can print on your own schedule and reprint as needed
  • Make your own paper choices
  • Cost effective if you already own a printer
  • Can buy a printer to exactly fit your specific needs


  • Depends largely on your printer, if you don’t have a good one the images will not look nice and the colors might not be right
  • If using an ink jet, images could run or bleed easily if they get wet – or even if the weather is overly humid
  • Cost of ink if printing large amounts of pages can be prohibitive if using the cartridge system
  • Limited paper size choices

We have a few posts here on the blog that give some tips for printing at home; if this is the option you choose, you might want to take a look HERE and HERE.

For many people, printing on a budget is a must.  We all love the look of high quality printed pages, but we just can’t afford it for every page we make, especially if you are a prolific scrapper.

There are a number of printing options that are simplified and within a price range most people can afford.  From Pharmacies, to Department Stores, and even Office Stores, there are different printing services for different printing needs.

Department Stores: Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target, etc.


  • You can walk in or take advantage of the online upload capabilities as well as shipping options if needed
  • Have a variety of size options and now have more style options (like canvas)
  • Print photo style so less likely to run or fuzz in humidity
  • Fairly cheap


  • Often very busy
  • Limited paper choices
  • Sizes usually have to be Photo Sizes (though you can print and trim)
  • Can have quality issues if  not printed properly (usually the people printing are not experts), so make sure to check your prints before paying
  • Many locations no longer offer this service so there is no guarantee that the nearest location will have it

Pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid

These are mostly the same as the Department Stores, however, they are usually less busy and less crowded, so able to offer quicker turnaround times.  They also generally seem to be a little better quality.

Office Stores: Office Max/Depot, Staples

Most office stores offer printing services, but mostly geared towards businesses and office needs. You may be able to find what you are looking for at one of these stores, so don’t be afraid to go in and ask.  I have found the staff at most to be very helpful.


  • Often less crowded/less busy than photo labs
  • Can laser print (in color) on normal paper or cardstock
  • They can offer a few binding techniques as well if you are wanting a book


  • Each branch differs in what services they offer, so your local office store might NOT be able to laser print in color or bind your pages
  • Many of their services are not archival
  • Limited in page size, style, and paper type

Shipping Stores: FedEX, UPS

I have never printed at one of these locations, but I have had people recommend them for some uses. These locations are usually more restricted.  Some do offer full photo printing (and online you can see more about that) . Many offer only black and white printing, or passport printing, but some do have color laser printing.  If you are in a bind, it is worth looking into.  You never know.

Many people like to support local businesses these days, and getting your pages (or album) printed can be a fun way to learn about your local printing options. You can do a search online, in a local MAP app, ask in local Facebook or neighborhood groups, or even just drive around to get an idea of what local options are available to you.

Often Groupon or other similar companies will have special offers for local Professional Print Shops, and many print shops offer discounts for first time customers.

Types of shops to search for when looking to print locally:

  • Professional Print Shops
  • Local Pharmacies (not chain stores, but locally owned small business ones)
  • Photo Labs
  • Frames and Prints Stores
  • Digital Printers
  • Photography/Camera Shops
  • Photo Finishing Centers
  • Imaging Centers (but not the medical ones 🙂 )

By far the most popular choice among our creative team members seems to be Online Printers.

But that makes sense, seeing that we are an online digital scrap community!

Scrapbook Printers

There are a growing number of these around.   One of the biggest, and most popular ones is Persnickety Prints.  They offer printing of individual pages and full albums.  The company is run by a scrapbooking enthusiast, so she understands the needs of Scrappers and aims to provide both good quality products and good quality service.

You can find them here: www.persnicketyprints.com

Persnickety Prints offers a system where you can buy coupons or points to use at a future date.  (x number of prints for $X)

Creative team member Katherine suggests that you “‘wait for the sales and purchase ‘coupons’ that allow you to print later” as this is cheaper and allows you to save money now.  She also said  “I love their customer service, speed, and the quality of their prints is awesome – really true to color.”

Amie agreed. When asked where she prints she said, “Persnickety prints hands down! Anytime I’ve had an issue their customer service does above & beyond to fix it!”

Photography Printers:

Online Photo Printers have been around for a while.  Some have flourished while others have gone out of business. The nice things about these printers is that they will print an entire bound book for you, often with various options.

Shutterfly, Snapfish, Nations Photo Lab, are just a few of the sites I heard about when I was asking around.

Sometimes these printers can be a hassle to work with because they are so popular with the masses.  They do offer good quality prints, but again, it is usually restricted to “standard photo sizes” Becuse they are so popular, sometimes things go wrong, orders get confused, or are not quality checked very well.  Never be afraid to contact Customer Service if this happens to you.

Professional Art Printers:

These printers are all about quality, and they are a fun way to explore a new option.  AND, most of them are already archival and fade resistant, since their main market is in printing artwork that is meant to last for years.  The big PLUS here – paper choice.

Art Printers offer the widest range of paper choices and sizes that I have found, so if you are wanting to have something extra special, and don’t mind paying a little extra, this is definitely the choice for you.  This is especially good if you are wanting to print a “Gift Page”

The good news, the prices for Scrapbook sized pages using most papers runs pretty similar to photo printing sites.  The biggest difference is that with Art Printers you can completely customize your size, where scrapbook or photography printers often have size regulations.  So if you are printing a size that is not normal for photo printers, this is your best option!  I have found that getting my 6×8 sized pages printed, most photo shops will not do it – I have to size up to 8×8 or 8×10.  Not so with art printers.

I have used a few art printers to print copies of some of my paintings, and my favorite one so far is Giclee Today.  Their work is high quality, and their customer service has been very helpful.  Their prices are pretty competitive as well, and they offer bulk pricing, so if you are printing a number of sheets of the same size – even if the image is different – your price per page goes down!  The major drawback, they do take a while to complete large orders.  However if that is a problem they also offer RUSH production for a small fee.

Book Printers

I had never thought to look at book printers before, but after talking with another of our creative team members, Robin, I now want to check this one out.

She shares “I love Blurb and always wait for a 40% coupon. I have had 100+ page albums printed and love the quality and the feel of the pages. They have held up very well even with my kids pulling them out over and over.”

Just looking on their site, their books look amazing!  I can already think of a few folders on my computer that would look superb printed through Blurb.

There are loads of other online printers you can look into.

Stationery printers, variety printers, etc.  Feel free to explore our options.

If you don’t live in the US and don’t want to pay the crazy shipping prices to print with any of the above, then you are well acquainted with the frustrations of trying to find a place to print your scrapbook pages.

When I lived in Thailand, I made friends with a local family that printed professional portraits.  I asked them if they could print my digital art (including scrapbook pages) and they assured me they could. They did an amazing job of printing my pages, and if I am honest, I miss them!

Creative team member Chloé lives in France and she shares “I have printed albums through the french companies Photobox and Photoweb, always waiting for promotions. There are often good deals around the end of the year/beginning of the new year as they advertise to print last year’s memories.”

Stefanie, who lives in South Africa says “I use a local printer and print out 12×12 for 3 ring albums. This side of the ocean it’s the most cost effective for me. ”

So if printing from a US company is just a no go for you, do a little exploring online – or pop a question in the forum – and lets see if we can find you a place to print your pages.

So what did I do?

I ordered my final prints from my sister with my Art Printer. I had 23 pages printed on thick Watercolor Paper for about $2.03 a page.  Not too bad, and I know they will look amazing!

However, they have not arrived yet, LOL. In fact, I think they are still being printed.

So I went ahead and had some sample pages without journaling (to protect their privacy) printed at a local print shop.  I already knew I just wanted to print individual pages so that I could use this SNAP album.  My thought was that my sister and her family could easily insert their own additions to the album this way, whereas if I had printed a book it would not work quite as well. This book is for her and her two small children to look at and remember the little girl they lost.  And since it is all digital, I sent her copies of the files as well, so if a page gets worn out, she can simply print another one.

The print shop I used knows me well, and so I was able to proof each print before paying for them, and I really think they did a superb job!  Once I got them home I just inserted them into the Page Protectors that go with the Album and DONE!

I also uploaded all the pages to an online gallery that my family shares, so that my entire family can enjoy the little mini album and its tribute to our sweet Hannah.

Well, thank you for going on this little adventure with me for the past few months w/ regard to this series! I have enjoyed learning a bit about myself, my options, and my process… as well as learning a LOT about printing options. I hope you learned something, as well.

If you decided to make a mini album, as well, after following this series… we invite you to share it with us in the gallery (and/or in the forums). I would love to see what you created! Until next time… happy scrapping!

ErinErin is an artsy crafty kind of girl who is currently dabbling in far too many things, but is working hard to enjoy every moment of it, while avoiding the rain, which is difficult due to living in the land of many rains. She is slowly learning to use her smart phone to capture all the fun little bits of life that would otherwise go unremembered in the busy craziness that is raising a family!

Hybrid How-To | DIY Seasonal Banner

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! I have a fun project to share with you today that will get your home ready for the summer season. It’s a fun, simple way to decorate for any new season using your digital scrapbooking supplies.

Let’s get started…

For this tutorial, I will be using the latest TDP Designer Collaboration, called Popsicle. It just launched in the shop last week, and it’s perfect for this project!

To begin, I opened up the kit and decided to use one of the banner shapes (see bottom right of the preview, above) as a “template” for my own banner. I pulled it into Photoshop and enlarged it* to 375% so the banner shape was around the same size as a 3×4 pocket card. Enlarging the banner allowed me to use it as template/clipping mask.

*please note that while you wouldn’t normally ever want to enlarge a digital scrapbooking element (because doing so results in a noticeable loss of quality/resolution)… for my purposes, it is OK because I am actually using it as a clipping mask. This means that the end result won’t show the banner image itself; specifically, if you look at the next screenshot, below… you’ll see that the “M” becomes really blurry when I enlarged it. That will be covered up, though, so it will be OK.

The following screenshot shows how big the banner is at 375% (as compared to an 8.5″ x 11″ page)…

Next, you can see how I used the enlarged banner shape as a clipping mask. I chose various papers and journaling cards, and then placed them directly above the banner shape layer in Photoshop. Once the desired paper/card was above the banner layer — I used the “clipping mask” function (CTRL-ALT-G in Photoshop; CTRL-G in PSE) to clip the items to the banner shape. This is what allows the paper/card to take the shape of the banner…

After that, I simply repeated the banner shape until I had enough different patterned shapes to be able to hang up a string of banners on my wall. Here is a look at a couple of the print sheets that I wound up with…

You’ll see that my print sheets included banner shapes in 2 different sizes (I wanted variation for my final product)… and also a few embellishments, which I eventually cut out and added as pop-ups on the banner itself, to add dimension/decoration.

Once I had cut everything out, I used twine (you can also use string, yarn, etc.) to string the pieces together. Here is a close up of my finished banner…

Just a side note — the 2 suns you see, above, are part of a free font (called “Sun and Stars”), and I used the sun shape as a clipping mask with papers from the kit. I clipped an orange paper and pink paper to them, in order to match the rest of the items I printed/cut.

Here’s a view of my final banner, hanging on the wall, along with some other summertime decorations in my house…

Isn’t that fun? I hope this simple banner inspires you to decorate for the season and to try using your digital supplies in a new way!

If you’re feeling inspired and you’d like to give this a try, too, don’t forget that you can earn challenge points at TDP! Come visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and you’ll find this month’s Hybrid Challenge thread (for each month’s Hybrid Challenge at TDP, you get to choose one of the month’s “Hybrid How-To” tutorial posts from here on the blog and make your own version). You’ll see how fun it is! Give it a shot, and share your final results with us! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

00 Headshot

About the Author  Sabrina is an avid documenter of life — herself, her children, her hubby, and her everyday life. There is beauty in the ordinarymoments, and they are what she loves to scrap. She is also always on the hunt for a quiet, peaceful moment… and she usually spends it reading or playing at her crafty desk.

Feature Friday | Dunia Designs

Happy Friday, and thank you for joining me for another edition of our Feature Friday series here at The Digital Press! This week, I have the honor of highlighting the lovely Dunia Acauan of Dunia Designs! This is the fourth time Dunia has been featured here on the blog (if you want to learn even more about her, you can find her feature article from September 2016 HERE… her feature article from April 2017 HERE… and her most recent “Foodie Friday” post from January 2018 HERE).

To learn even more about Dunia, this time around I asked her to share 5 Things We Might Not Already Know About Her… and here’s what she had to say…

  1. I’m from Brazil — We moved to Michigan (USA) in 2016, and we are loving it here — except for the winters! It’s spring currently, and we are enjoying it so very much!
  2. I’m a photographer — It started as a hobby, but it’s turned into my passion. It’s sometimes hard to make time for both businesses (designing and photography), but I love them so much that I can’t imagine my life without both.
  3. I’m a TV series addict — I love everything from “This is Us” to “The Big Bang Theory” to “Game of Thrones” …everything is on my playlist!
  4. I should be healthier — But, I’m definitely not (shame on me)! Coca-cola, chocolate, and pasta make me so happy!
  5. I only listen to rock and roll music — My favorites are the good old ones, such as Led Zeppelin, The Clash, and Pink Floyd.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have a lot in common with Dunia! 🙂

When it comes to Dunia’s design work… you’ll find that her shop is filled with lots of products that boast beautiful colors, fun doodles, unique word art… and items that are perfect for digital layouts, pocket pages (both digital and hybrid), and paper-style layouts. Her templates will make your scrapping life easier and quicker, and who doesn’t want that?! She also has a variety of products that will become staples in your scrapbooking stash — items that will inspire you to create unique projects that showcase your style and your wonderful memories!

Here are a few of my personal favorites from Dunia’s store at The Digital Press

…and if that doesn’t inspire you, then take a peek at these fun projects created with the many products you’ll find in her shop…

Aren’t those layouts gorgeous and fun?!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about Dunia today! To aid in our celebration of her upcoming week as our Featured Designer at The Digital Press… her entire shop will be 30% OFF all week long (ending at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 6/14).

Additionally, Dunia has a special Free-with-Purchase offer for everyone this week, as well! Don’t miss this opportunity to stock up on your favorite products in Dunia’s shop while they’re discounted… and you can also grab this fantastic full kit — Cats & Dogs — completely FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Dunia Designs shop (again, this offer will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thursday 6/14).

Heidi NicoleAbout the author  Heidi Nicole is happily married to an amazing man, is a step-mama to 2 wonderful kiddos, and is a cat mama extraordinaire. She’s a radiation therapist by day and a runner and creator of pretty things by night. She loves her family and friends, coffee, wine, books, Friends reruns, St. Louis Blues hockey, craft beer, good food, cats, Jeeps, and traveling. She lives a normal and happy life, and enjoys all of the absolutely fascinating people she gets to share it with on a daily basis.

Tutorial Tuesday | Editing Colors Individually

Hey everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Let’s talk about photo editing and color today!

You probably know how to change the colors of your picture globally (and if you don’t, there are some other tutorials on the blog that can give you some simple tips like this one about saturation and contrast, etc.). But sometimes, editing all the colors of a picture at once can lead to an unnatural, “fake” looking photo. To avoid that, you can work on each color individually so that you can edit just the color you want to change, not the whole picture. I will show you how to do so in Lightroom and Photoshop, but I’m confident you will have similar settings available in just about any photo-editing software.

Here’s a look at the picture I will be working on today…

This is the straight out of camera image (SOOC). As you can see, the red rose is very bright and saturated — almost neon — and I would like it to be more natural-looking.

First, I will show you how to do that in Lightroom. Import the image in the software, then open it in the “Develop” module. Then find the HSL/color/B&W panel, which is the one open on the image below, on the right. We will work in the HSL settings. HSL stands for Hue, Saturation and Luminance. In each of those three areas you can edit eight different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple and magenta.

If you’re not sure which color you should be working on, use the little circle (pointed by the arrow in the image below), click on the color you need to edit and move it all the way up and down. You will see one of the colors change drastically, probably one or several other less notably. The main color will be the one that changed the most, that’s the one you need to work on.

For my rose here, I had to work mainly on the color red and a bit on the color magenta (in the inner petals). I edited those two colors in saturation (to change how “strong” the colors are)…

… and in luminance (to change how bright or dark the colors are).

As you can see, the greenery in the background isn’t affected at all by the changes I made in the red and magenta areas.

Let’s move to Photoshop now. You can do something pretty similar using the “hue/saturation” adjustment layer. To use this tool, go to Layer –> New Adjustment Layer –> Hue/Saturation or click on the “new adjustment layer” icon on the bottom of your layers panel. As you can see, unlike the HSL panel in Lightroom where you decide first what setting you’ll work on (hue, saturation or luminance), and then which color you’ll edit, here you will first decid on the color and then on the settings you’ll edit. To do so, you will pick the color in the menu that says “global” by default. You will have 6 colors to pick from: reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues and magentas.

As in Lightroom, if you’re unsure exactly which color you should be working on, there is a helpful tool. Use the little “hand” (pointed by the arrow below), click on the color you wish to edit and move the hand from left to right. The “global” menu will change for the right color you need to change.

As I did in Lightroom, I changed the reds, editing saturation and luminance…

… and the magentas, where I changed saturation and luminance but also the hue (teinte in French). I did that because I wanted to bring the pinkish inner petals closer to the rest of the flower, which is more red than magenta.

And that’s it! As you can see, it’s not super complicated and it can be very useful for specific images, like making a red dress pop (be careful as skin often has red and yellow in it, so don’t oversaturate your subject’s skin if you don’t want her to look like an alien!) or decreasing the “visual weight” of the bright greenery we often get in Spring, so that your subject will stand out, not the grass he/she’s sitting on!

I hope you’ll find this tutorial helpful, don’t hesitate to ask your questions in the comment below or in the forums!

ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night,” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown. She recently became quite obsessed with Bullet Journaling, FlyLady and Zero Waste.