Category: Tutorials

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. 

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.

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. 

Tutorial Tuesday | PART 3: The Exposure Triangle

Welcome another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! This is Part 3 of our 4-part photography series all about the exposure triangle. If you happened to miss it a couple of weeks ago and need a recap, you can find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE. 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 we explored ISO in part 2.

Today we’ll be focusing on the aperture setting in the exposure triangle.

Aperture is the size of the “hole” that lets the light come into the camera and hit the sensor. As we saw in the first post, it’s expressed as a fraction. An aperture of f/2, for example, means that the “hole” equals the focal length of the lens divided by 2. As it is a fraction, a big aperture number will mean a small “hole” and hence less light coming in, and a small aperture number will mean a big “hole” and hence more light coming in. Photographers often say they shoot “wide open” (small aperture number) or “closed down” (big aperture number)

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 on the exposure but also on something else in the picture. The aperture impacts the depth of field of the photograph. Depth of field is the “slice” of the image that is sharp, in focus, when everything in front of it and behind it is blurry. How shallow or deep the depth of field will be depends on the aperture. Other factors, such as the lens and the distance, also come into play but that’s a topic for another blog post. For now, let’s focus on how aperture influence depth of field!

In the three next photos, I only changed my settings but didn’t move the camera or the toys. First, let’s start with a big aperture (small f/number, f/1.8 in that case). It will allow a lot of light in and will create a shallow depth of field: the “slice” of sharpness will be very small. For example, here the toys are situated one behind the other and only the one I focused on (the teddy bear on the right) is sharp. The blue bear on the front is further away from the toy I focused on than the elephant in the back, that’s why it’s more blurry than the elephant.

On this second image, I picked a “medium” aperture (f/6.3) and the subject (still the same teddy bear) is still sharp while the other two are sharper, but still blurry.

A small aperture (big f/number, f/16 in my example) will allow very little light and will create a deep depth of field: a lot of the image will be in focus. As you can see here, all three toys are sharp.

See the difference?

In the part 2 of this serie I said that ISO is a setting you can set on “auto” if you are just starting to shoot manually. That is because ISO doesn’t have much impact on the “creative” part of taking a photograph. Aperture, on the contrary, with its impact on depth of field, can totally change the image so it’s important that YOU decide which aperture to use. Do you want to blur the background of your subject? Do you want to create bokeh (this beautiful artistic blur)? Pick a wide aperture.

Do you want to have a very sharp image, where all of it is in focus, for example for a landscape photo? Do you want to create sunbursts? Pick a closed down aperture.

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

In two weeks we will end this serie with shutter speed. See you soon!


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 and is enjoying the last days of her maternity leave.

Hybrid How-To | Paper Lanterns

Hello, everyone! Kate here with another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m here to show you how to make these cute paper lanterns that are perfect for your next backyard gathering.

Supplies Needed:

  • digital kit of your choice
  • lighter-weight cardstock (I found a package of 65 lb that worked great)
  • plastic or paper cups
  • x-acto knife
  • scissors
  • eyelet punch (not a plier kind, since you need to reach into the middle of the papers)
  • glue stick
  • LED tea lights

First, choose a digital kit with a theme that suits you. I chose Fun at the Fair by Rachel Etrog Designs for my lanterns, as shown here…

We have a concession stand we built for when we host movies on the back of our house; I thought this kit theme was perfect!

Next, measure around the thickest part of one of your cups. Add 1/2” to that (for overlap so you can glue it together). I chose two different-sized cups for my lanterns; thus, I had one that measured 10” and the other measured 12” after adding the 1/2” overlap.

I created a canvas to those specific sizes in Photoshop because I knew I wanted to design the lanterns using both the paper AND elements from the kit, but a photo-editing program isn’t necessary to do this project. You can also just keep it simple by printing off the papers and cutting them down to size.

After everything is printed, take your punch or x-acto knife (or both!) and make holes or lines in the paper, depending on the pattern.  I have two different sizes available with my punch. I used the bigger one on the ticket paper I printed out, and I used the smaller one for the star paper and ferris wheel paper.

I also followed one of the roller coaster lines with my knife so light would shine through. I cut around either side of the carousel so it would pop out a little when I rolled it and then used the knife to cut the carousal poles.

Next is to cut the rims off the cups. You need two per lantern to stabilize them and to help keep their shape. I punched through the cups with my knife and then used the scissors to finish cutting around the rim, leaving about 3/4” of the cup intact.

Make a tube with the paper and glue the seam together. I had two seams for my larger lanterns.

Insert the cup rims on the top and bottom. I was going to to glue them in, but they ended up tight enough that I didn’t have to do that.

Now all you do is place them over the LED tea lights. I really love how easy these were and how impressive they looked once it got dark! It was such a fun project and I hope you’ll give it a try.


Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, a dog named Gracie, and a cat named Kit. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

Tutorial Tuesday | Tips for Choosing Color Schemes

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I will be sharing some tips for using color schemes more effectively in your scrapbooking projects!

The importance of color in scrapbooking relates to how significant color is to the human mind. Color plays a vital role in how we respond to the things we encounter every day. As such, using color effectively can make a huge difference in your creative projects. There are four main ways that using color can help you create more eye-pleasing scrapbook projects:

  1. Color conveys emotions and can set the mood for your project
  2. Color establishes a focal point on your page by telling someone where their eyes should focus first
  3. Color defines space and can help you provide differentiation on your pages
  4. Color can create harmony on your project by balancing out the different components of your page

Color schemes are simply associations of colors that can be used to create a particular style and appeal. These sets of colors that work well together can create a unified aesthetic for your project. Understanding these color schemes will give you more flexibility when creating pages that will stand out to the viewer. There are seven types of color schemes that you can use to make your pages the best that they can be.

  1. Monochromatic Color Schemes — use varying shades of one color such as various shades of blue
  2. Analogous Color Schemes — use colors that are next to one another on the color wheel such as green/blue, yellow/orange, blue/purple
  3. Complementary Color Schemes — are sets of colors that are opposite of one another on the color wheel such as yellow/purple, blue/orange, red/green
  4. Triatic Color Schemes — are a combination of colors that are equally spaced from each other on the color wheel such as yellow/red/blue and purple/green/orange
  5. Neutral Color Schemes — are those colors that contain equal parts of the three primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and include black, white, gray and brown
  6. Cool Color Schemes — are colors that give the impression of calm and soothing such as blue, green and violet
  7. Warm Color Schemes — are the colors that are vivid and energetic such as red, yellow, and orange

Each of these color schemes offers different ways for you to create pages that are compelling and eye-catching! Here are 4 easy ways to choose a color scheme that will help guide you when creating scrapbook projects…

  1. Choose a dominant color from your photo(s) for a starting point to guide your color scheme choice. In the following page, there was a lot of red in all of the photos so it seemed like a good place to start. I decided to use a neutral background and used two complementary colors (red and green) to bring it all together…

2. Choose a color that will support the emotion you’d like to convey with your project. In this case, I chose a cool color scheme of violet, blue, and green… in order to help convey the feelings of calm and harmony. I think the color scheme I chose helps reinforce the theme of friendship and togetherness.

3. Consider making a photo black & white in order to allow you more flexibility in your color choices. The colors in this photograph were not cohesive in any way, but it was the perfect photo for this page. Therefore, I edited the photo to make it black and white, which opened up my color scheme options considerably!

4. Another tip is to use the rule of three technique and choose one primary color and two complementary colors as accents. With this next page, I wanted the page to be bold and convey action (since the page is about gymnastics and being strong)… but I also wanted there to be a serenity to the page, as it also focuses on friendship and working together. As a result, I decided to use yellow as my primary color… but I chose blue and grey as my complementary colors in order to find that balance that I wanted the page to convey.

It’s important to work toward finding colors that enhance and coordinate with your photos to make the most memorable pages possible.

I hope these tips and techniques can help you feel more comfortable using color in a variety of ways, to help you create more eye-catching scrapbook projects!


Amy

About the Author  Amy lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their 14-year-old boy/girl twins. Their 23-year-old daughter has recently finished up graduate school at Clemson and has started her first full-time job! She has been scrapbooking since the early 1990s, but discovered digital scrapbooking in 2005 when her twins were born… and has primarily scrapped digitally since that time. She is passionate about telling her family’s stories and documenting their life together. She is also a huge reader, a pop culture junkie, and LOVES all things beauty & makeup!