August Blog Break

This is just a quick note to remind everyone that The Digital Press, in keeping with our annual tradition, is taking a short blogging break during the month of August!

In the meantime, if you find yourself missing our Tutorial Tuesday series between now and September… come take a peek at our archived tutorial posts, and give one of the techniques a try!

If you love learning about our designers and getting a peek into their lives… you can check out the archived designer feature posts.

If you love printing our products and making pretty physical projects, but need a little extra mojo… delve into our archived Hybrid How-To posts and get your creative juices flowing!

And finally, if you are looking for something non-scrapbooking-related and you love food… come take a look at our archived Foodie Friday posts (including our Summer Camp Mess Hall features!).

We’ll see you again in September…

Hybrid How-To | Use of Patterned Papers

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series on The Digital Press blog! Today I am here to show you how to use multiple patterned papers from your favorite digital kit(s) on your next hybrid scrapbook page.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I added my patterned papers onto a Traveler’s Notebook spread. You can see the final result here…

If you are a lover of patterned papers, then this post is a shout out to YOU!

How many times do you find yourself completely in love with more than 1, 2, 3 (or more!) patterned papers in a collection… and wanting to use ALL of them on your layout? Decisions, decisions… right?! Well, let’s dive into how you can please your palate for all of your patterned paper dreams.

For my layout, I decided to use the Monthly Chronicles March 2019 Nurture collection, shown here…

Here’s a better look at the papers that were available for me to choose from, within this collection…

To begin my project, I used my paper trimmer and cut 1” strips of paper, as shown here…

Then, I turned each stack of paper strips 90 degrees and used the trimmer again to cut the strips into 1″ x 1” squares.

The reason I love using small pieces in this way? You’ll find that you can maximize using multiple patterned papers on a layout by using a shape punch (i.e. square, circle, triangle…) to really spread the love to all your chosen patterned papers. You can also use your die cutting machine (i.e. Cricut Explore Air, Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Big Shot, etc.), or even freehand with scissors to evenly cut out your preferred shapes.


Sprinkle Patterned Paper Mini Bits Here and There…

Once I had a sampling of paper pieces to work with, I staggered my patterned papers for a smooth flow in which the overall design is not in a block or predictable square format, if that makes sense (scroll up to my layout example image, above, and you’ll see what I mean). I prefer the eye to flow to different levels throughout the layout for interest and pop.

One important recommendation — I think it’s best to lay out your design FIRST, instead of immediately gluing down your papers with a permanent adhesive. You might want to change around a few squares or so here and there. Once you have permanently glued everything down, you are committed. 🙂


Choose a Dominant Patterned Paper as Your “Showcase” Paper…

A dominant paper would be one that has a busier, bolder or stronger pattern than the others you’ve chosen to use on your layout. For example, on my layout, I chose my dominant pattern paper as the fern/leaf paper. It was a bit bolder in color and pattern than my other papers, which were all more toned-down in neutrals or pastels and design flow. If you look at the final project image, up above, you’ll see that the squares of paper with the fern pattern just stand out as a tiny bit bolder/more noticeable.

You’ll want to be careful with your dominant paper so that you don’t use it too often in your layout. I like to design in “odd” numbers for balance and eye flow. So, I cut 7 squares for my dominant paper that would not overpower my other choice of papers.

Mix and Match Your Patterned Paper With Photo(s) and/or Journaling 

I chose a minimal flow for my overall design, and decided to have one photo as the focal point of my layout. Also, I toned down the photo by printing it in black and white for a smoother transition into the multiple patterned papers (as they are various colors within themselves).

If you add a color photo, you want to be careful with your dominant pattern paper choice, as well as the rest of the coordinating papers of choice on your layout. Otherwise, things can end up being too bold and overpower the photo itself.

Finally, you’ll see in this next image that I planned my layout design out ahead, in order to leave a space at the top for my title work in addition to the space for a photo at the bottom left…

Here’s one more look at the finished project…

Hopefully these ideas will be helpful the next time you consider printing out a few of your favorite digital papers to add to a physical project!

I challenge you to choose 3-4 of your favorite pattern papers from over in The Digital Press shop on your next layout! We can’t wait to see what you come up with after you try out my tips for inspiration. Load up some projects in the gallery and link us up in the comments, if you do!

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

Friday Favorites | Akizo Designs

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

This week, the spotlight is on Akiko Iinuma of Akizo Designs. As one of our newer designers at TDP, this is actually the first time she’s been featured here on the blog.

I asked her to share some of her Favorite Things with us, and here’s what she had to say…

My favorite thing is cats! I love to take photos or movies of cats I find on my journey…”

Here’s a short video she took of a cat that lives in the Yougenin Temple in Kyoto, Japan. I love that you can hear her talking sweetly to it in Japanese!

She goes on to say, “I also love playing and watching tennis games. I’ve been a fan of Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori for a long time.”

When I asked her about what she liked to eat, she replied, “My favorite food is Japanese food, like sushi!”

If you’re not already familiar with Akizo Designs‘ product offerings at The Digital Press, she has a lot of amazing kits and templates in her shop at TDP. Her templates feature large geometric shapes, perfect to show of your photographs… and her papers and elements are always very bright and colorful. I also really like her black and white kits, elements, and word art — perfect to compliment vintage photographs, or those you’ve color-corrected to be grayscale, etc.

Here’s a quick look at a few of my favorite products from the Akizo Designs store at TDP…

And here’s a handful of examples of projects that use Akizo Designs‘ products, so you can see how lovely and versatile her designs are…

Hopefully, today’s edition of Friday Favorites has helped you get to know a little more about Aki Zo, and has introduced you to some of her amazing products!

And last but not least… because it’s Akizo Designs‘ feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code(s) when purchasing products (this code/sale will be valid through next Thursday night). Don’t miss it!

[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = AK1ZO-S4V3-2 . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = AK1ZO-S4V3-5 ]

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

Tutorial Tuesday | PART 4: The Exposure Triangle

Welcome another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! This is Part 4 of our 4-part photography series all about the exposure triangle. If you’ve happened to have missed this series throughout the past few weeks and you need a recap, you can find the other parts of this series HERE –> PART 1  — PART 2PART 3. To refresh your memory, in the first post we introduced the idea that photography exposure depends on three settings: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed… and then we’ve been exploring each of those in the subsequent editions of the series (ISO in PART 2, and aperture in PART 3).

That means that today we’ll be focusing on the final setting of the exposure triangle — shutter speed.

Shutter speed is the time when the “hole” that lets the light come into the camera and hit the sensor remains open. The longer it remains open, the more light gets in, the shorter it remains open, the less light gets in.

As I mentioned in PART 1 of this series, every setting of the exposure triangle has a “side effect.” In other words, each setting has consequences for the exposure… but also on something else in the photo, as well. The shutter speed impacts the way movement will be captured in the camera. Shutter speed indicates how long the action of taking the picture will last. If you photograph a car going from point A to point B with a fast shutter speed, you will freeze the movement because you will take the image instantly. If you use a slow shutter speed, the car will be blurred because the image will be taken while it’s starting on point A, and while it’s 5 feet away from point A, and another 5 feet away, etc.

In this first photo I used a fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second) to freeze the movement. The ball looks like it’s floating in the air. You may have noticed that my ISO was pretty high because I had very little light in the room… thus causing some noise (as we saw in PART 1).

In this second image, I chose a medium shutter speed (1/50th of a second) to show some movement, but the ball is still recognizable.

In this last image, I chose a slow shutter speed (0.6 second) and the ball is so blurry it’s not as recognizable anymore. My hand is blurry as well, even though the only movement I did was to open it to release the ball.

As you can see, one second may seem like a very short time in our regular life, but for our camera it’s considered to be a very slow shutter speed. Whether a shutter speed is slow and will create blur… or fast enough to freeze the movement… will also widely depend on your subject. For instance, you will need a much faster shutter speed to capture a sharp photo of a moving car than of someone walking.

In PART 2 and PART 3 of this series I said that ISO is a setting you can set on “auto” if you are just starting to shoot manually, because ISO doesn’t have much impact on the “creative” part of taking a photograph, but that it’s best if you decide on the aperture. Shutter speed is another setting that can drastically change the outcome so it’s important that YOU decide what it will be.

For example, you might want to freeze the movement and hence use a fast shutter speed.

Having a tiny bit of blur gives a sense of movement, like here with the foot, the dress and the hair:

On the contrary, you might want to purposefully create some blur to show movement, like I did here on those bikes from the Tour de France:

As you can notice, the shutter speed I chose was fast enough to freeze the people standing on the side of the road but too slow for the fast moving riders. I could have done the “opposite” effect called panning: by following the riders with my camera, they would be sharp while the environment would be blurry. Both options give a sense of movement for a dynamic image.

Slow shutter speed is also amazing to photograph moving lights, like fair attractions at night or those fireworks:

Be careful with slow shutter speed, though, as you can create unwanted blur. It can be caused by your subject moving too fast for your shutter speed (but in an unintentional way, unlike the examples above) or by your own movements while holding the camera. To avoid “camera shake”, the rule of thumb is to never go below 1/Xth of a second, X being the focal length of your lens. For example if you have an 18-105 zoom, never go below 1/100th of a second. With a 50 mm lens, you can go to 1/50th of a second. Below that, you will have to be very careful and ideally use something sturdy to support your camera (a tripod, a fence, a car) or for you to lean on (a wall).

Now, how do you change shutter speed? If you’re not comfortable using the manual mode of your camera (where you choose all the settings), you can use the speed priority mode: you decide on the shutter speed and the camera picks the other settings in order to have a correct exposure. This “semi-automatic” mode is often represented by the letter S (Nikon) or Tv (Canon) and it gives good results in most situations. It is a good way to experiment with shutter speed without having multiple settings to worry about and it is a great way to start learning about shooting manual.

This is the last post in this series about the exposure triangle! I hope you learned a few things about this very important concept of photography… and that you will also have fun experimenting with the settings! I cannot wait to see the photos you capture (scrapped beautifully and posted in The Digital Press gallery)!

ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, a digiscrapper “by night,” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She recently became a very happy mom to an adorable little boy.

Friday Favorites | Karla Noél

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

This week, the spotlight is on the creative designer Karla Noél. This is actually Karla’s 4th feature here on the blog (you can find her first feature from October 2016 HERE , another from April 2017 HERE (including a peek at her creative work space!), and her most recent one from September 2018 HERE.

This time around, in order to learn even more about Karla, we asked her to share some of her favorite things with us, and here’s what she had to say…

” My favorite thing right now is seeing our three month old, Rain, send quality time with his dad… he loves his daddy’s voice and faces. I believe his first real laugh will be in Sekou’s arms for sure. “


Doesn’t she have a great sense of humor?!  Well, her fun personality shines through in her designs, as well. I love that she has great word art, stamps, kits, and even templates. She has so many options with something for everyone.  Her templates are some of my personal favorites!

Here’s a peek at just a few of my favorite products from her shop at TDP


And here are some really gorgeous sample layouts that show off Karla’s products, as well (what gorgeous eye candy, eh?!)…

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

And the best news of all?! …during Karla’s upcoming feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code when purchasing her digital goodies (this code/sale will be valid through 11:59pm EST on Thurs 6/27). Don’t miss it!

[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = S4VE2-K4RLA . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = S4VE5-K4RLA ]


About the author  Robin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. A wife of 26 years and a mom of 4 crazy children (3 in college and 1 still at home), she says that her life occurs mostly in the car as she transports said crazy kids to their many, many homeschool activities. When not driving, Robin loves to make her family cringe by pulling out her camera again (and again, and again…).

Tutorial Tuesday | Photography with Artificial Light

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’ll be sharing ways to use many under-utilized artificial light sources around your home in order to snap memorable photos and document your life.

Why does the light source matter?

Back in March, I shared a post here on the blog containing tips for using window lighting for capturing photos, and today I’m back to talk about the similar use of artificial light. What’s the difference, and why does it matter? Well, several reasons:

  • Always know your light source, and avoid mixing them
  • Size of light source matters (in general, artificial light sources are smaller than what you’re likely used to working with, and this requires a bit more planning and arrangement to get the photo you want because of how dramatic the shadows are likely to be; more on that later!)
  • Overhead lights don’t count. I only use overhead lights if it’s absolutely unavoidable, as the shadows are often not flattering (or non-existent) and lend themselves better to snapshots and not photographs.

If you have a DSLR camera, I recommend pulling it out to try these ideas. Be prepared to use your highest ISO settings on you DSLR. This tutorial by Chloe is a great intro (or refresher!) on setting exposure. You may be able to get similar results with a cell phone camera… if you can put it into manual exposure mode.

The subtle art behind indoor photography is revealing little bits of light to tell your story, so be prepared for lots of shadow.

Now, let’s jump in!

Computer Monitor — Rim Lighting Effect

My son would live in front of his computer if I let him, so capturing images of him at his desk is important to documenting who he is right now. My goal here was to capture him as I see him… with his face lit up by the screen of his monitor. The very bright light from the monitor quickly fades away and leaves much of this image in shadow, but the way the light frames his face and arm is called “rim lighting”.

To try this yourself: Use your DSLR in manual exposure mode, then set exposure for the brightest spots on the skin of your subject (here I exposed off the skin on his cheekbone). Be sure to eliminate all other light sources or you won’t get that rim lighting effect! Rim lighting is meant to be bright light and dark shadow with little gray in between.

Computer Monitor — as Direct Light Source

Direct Light is light that goes from the source straight to your subject.  In the lens example above, I simply placed the lens on my desk about 6 inches away from the monitor. I love the way the light reaches down into the layers of glass within the lens, and highlights the repeated circles. Notice that the light “falls off” so quickly that it doesn’t even extend down the full length of the lens! This is perfect for helping me hide all the other junk on my desktop that I didn’t need in my image. 🙂

To try this yourself: Use your DSLR in manual exposure mode, then set exposure for the brightest spots on the object you are photographing. Be sure to eliminate all other light sources in the room so you capture all that wonderful shadow! This would work well for a favorite pen, a steamy cup of coffee, or anything else that is slightly reflective!

Laptop — as Portable Light

I really wanted a picture of my oldest sleeping. Her room was lacking a suitable light source, however — so enter the laptop as a portable light! I positioned my laptop on it’s side on her night stand, pretty close to her face and just out of sight to the left in this image.  I found that putting it on it’s side allowed the light to project straight out, vs. the downward angle of a laptop screen when it’s upright and in use. (also note, my sweet sleeping angel called me a creepy stalker when she saw this! LOL).

To become a creepy stalker yourself: Use your DSLR in manual exposure mode, then focus and set exposure for the brightest spots on the skin of your subject. As always, be sure to eliminate all other light sources in the room so you capture all that wonderful shadow! You could also use a laptop on a subject fully awake too, but where’s the fun in that?!

Book Light — as Indirect Light

This is one of the easiest techniques! See that tiny book light on the left of the image, above? That’s the only light source in this whole image! Since the white paper of a book is a perfect reflector, the light bounces off the pages right back onto my subject’s face. The light would be way too harsh if I simply pointed it straight at her face, so using the book to distribute the light back into her face was the perfect solution.

To try this yourself: Grab a book light and make your kid read for 5 minutes. Position the light down onto the book, play with the angle of the book to get the most flattering light on your subject. Eliminate all other light sources. Use your DSLR in manual exposure mode, then set exposure for the brightest spots on the skin of your subject.

Cell Phones and Tablets

This is another SUPER easy technique! I had my niece hold the phone a little closer to her face than normal, set exposure off the skin on her cheekbones, focused on her eyelashes, and clicked. So easy! She was even sitting on my daughter’s bed, in the middle of her messy bedroom, and you wouldn’t even know it!

Black and White is Your Friend

I snapped this purple-skinned image with my cell phone one night after my teen spontaneously joined me while I was scrapbooking. Sure, i could use Photoshop to edit the skin tones… but I’m WAY too lazy for that! One click on a black and white preset — and voila — a beautiful black and white snapshot I’m perfectly happy with, allowing me to remember that moment forever — on a scrapbook page, of course!

[ Layout created using “Our Story” by KimB Designs ]

Don’t be afraid to convert to black and white. Many photos with low lighting tend to look awesome in black and white, which further accentuates the play of light and shadow. Give it a try, yourself!

Thanks for joining us today on the blog! I hope all of these ideas encourage you to try capturing images around your home using all those underappreciated sources of light! And don’t forget you could try many other light sources, as well — like fridge lighting, candles, televisions, etc.!

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