Tutorial Tuesday | Multiple Photo Layouts


Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am going to share a few very simple (yet quite useful!) tips for fitting multiple photos onto a layout.

If you’re like me, one of the most difficult parts of scrapbooking is choosing photos with which to scrap. I suffer from ‘separation’ and ‘abandonment’ anxiety when it comes to discarding some of the photos that don’t make the ‘cut’. ūüôā

Whilst¬†good selection¬†may¬†be essential for¬†effective storytelling,¬†I often find that I am trying to¬†fit more photos onto my pages — especially when there is a back-story to those photos. Therefore, I went back through my gallery to see how I’ve solved this issue in the past, and to compile a list of some useful tips and tricks I could share with you. And believe it or not, I found there actually is a method to my madness, when I scrap! LOL

So without further ado… the following are my thoughts on “how to work multiple photos into your layouts”…


1. Make pocket pages

The first obvious approach is to make a pocket style page. The beauty of this scrapping style is that the canvas is neatly divided into spots that you can then fill with your photos, journaling, papers, embellishments or a combination of all of these. Here is an example from one of my favourite pages.


Credits:Beats Journalers by Creashens, Template is Duo 10 Go anywhere by LBVD Designs, Blue skies ahead alpha and papers by River Rose Designs

There is also an awesome tutorial about pocket scrapping and how to go about it if you are new to it :).

It becomes even more effortless if you can find pocket style templates that work for you.¬†One doesn’t need to¬†be a Project Life scrapper or even a Pocket¬†scrapper to dabble in this style. The key is to have fun and adapt these to suit your own style and needs.¬†Here at the Press we have an amazing selection of these. Check them out here.
2. Use unusual photo spots
Here are some examples to do this. In this first layout I have clipped photos to photo spots in the template but also layered with patterned papers. The various shapes were a good way to show different crops on multiple photos I had of my girls ‘rowing the boat’.
 Credits:  Drawing blanks template by Sandy Pie Creations, A lot by Creashens

In the next one, whilst there was just one photo spot in the template, I wanted to show a long shot of where the kids were. I adjusted the template to insert a big photo in the background.

Credits: Everything from April shop collab – Fresh Air

In this final example I have literally added more photo spots. Simple and effective ūüôā Varying the photos between black and white and colour also adds a great deal of interest to the page.


¬†Credits: To remember album, This is everyday wordart, Time stood still all by Sabrina’s Creations
3. Clip photos to other shapes
Photos don’t always have to be rectangular or square in shape. It is great fun to use some different shapes to add a varied flavour to your style. In this example below, I have slipped one of the photos to a watermark star shape – probably not meant to be used as such but worked for me!
 Credits: 31 days of December by Meg designs, Thanksgiving by Rachel Hodge,Plus Side by Sahin Designs
4. Create a background of photos
This is my favourite go to method. Especially when I have nice pictures to show off. Putting that pivotal picture in the background not only creates a great canvas for the layout but also sets the context and lets you be more creative and experimental with the other photos. Here are some examples.


Credits:Tranquil by Sahin Designs, Chinese Whispers template by Jimbo Jambo designs, Found papers by Creashens


¬†¬†Credits:Forever by Little Lamm and Co, Family Love templates by Sabrina’s Creations
5.Change the crop to tell a different story (a.k.a. working with multiple similar shots)
So what happens when you have great photos but they look quite like one another? Fear not, there are a few ways to approach this, as well.

In the following examples, I have simply used different crops of similar shots – some in colour and some in black and white. I also used full length big photo on the left hand side.

All-of--me-loves-all-of-you-copy-for-web Credits: Hello February by Dunia Designs, Choices template by Meg Designs
Trisha-running-pg1copy-for-web Credits: Documented papers and templates by Anita Designs, Love is in the air elements by Mommyish and Mari K
something kinda wonderful
¬†Credits:Clean and Simple templates 24 by Sabrina’s Creations Also used by Meg Designs: Its the Little Things, Spring Song papers, Recharged JCs, Melliflous JCs
6. Use templates
As mentioned before templates are a great booster.Using the right template can get you to a great start! There are many interesting multi-photo templates available here at the Press. See some examples for yourself.
 Credits:Scraptime vol 9 templates and Awakening Bundle by France M Designs
layout 1
Credits: May 2016 Templates and Grad bundle by Sahin Designs
7. Use templates, but don’t be afraid to change them up
Whilst templates can be great for a great start, feel free to play around with them to accommodate your photos Рe.g. creating more spots if required or altering their position, shape and sizes.

If you look at the following layout and the template I have used as a starter, it is only but a small proportion of my overall design. In other words the template is hardly recognisable but I still had a great start using it and take it further from there.

 Credits:XO Cards by Dunia Designs, Hey love stamp sheet by Karla Dudley, Love is in the air elements by Mari Koegelenberg, Hello February elements by Dunia Designs and Cynosure templates by Meg Designs


So that’s it! …seven (7) easy ways to approach scrapping when you have lots of photos you need to include on a single page. I hope you find these ideas to be useful! Meanwhile, if you have ideas of your own for solving the “fitting multiple photos onto one layout” issue… I would love to see your own hacks! I’m always looking for more ideas. Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Until next time… stay creative! Ciao!

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About the Author Shivani Sohal is a donner of many alter-egos. A finance professional by day in busy London, she morphs into a seemingly normal mum of two in the evenings and weekends. She is constantly found with her fingers in too many pies and juggling the metaphorical balls. That is living on the edge for her; aided by the two ankle biters and a darling hubby who define the warm and mushy for her. She is ferociously dedicated to memory keeping — almost immune to any nay-sayers (or equally-disruptive crying children or annoying house fires!); keeping her head down and forging ahead at all times.


Hybrid How-To | Mother’s Day Mini-Album


Hello everyone! It’s Saturday, and therefore time for another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m going to show you how¬†make a beautiful mini-album as a gift for Mother’s Day.

Supplies Needed:

  • digital kit of your choice (I used For Mom¬†By Little Lamm & Co)
  • white cardstock paper
  • any physical supplies/embelishments from your stash (I used only wood veneers and washi tape)


First, you will need two pieces of white cardstock, sized/formatted like the images below…


Next, after cutting the papers, you will need to score and fold them as shown below (to ensure they look like the format of the images just above this)…

You’ll want to glue the middle section (shown above) of the top paper to the same area of the bottom paper. This will create a thicker center section, along with multiple pages on each side that fold inward.

Next, it’s time to assemble and decorate the album. I chose digital patterned papers that I wanted to use in my mini-album, printed them, and then cut them to look like the images below…

*NOTE* These patterned papers, when printed, are a little bit smaller than the white cardstock sections, to enable us to glue them down on each section, as shown in the following image (below).

Glue your patterned papers down as a base on each section, and then decorate with photos, printed digital embellishments, and physical supplies!


Decorating your album is the most fun part of the process. Enjoy it!

Here’s a look at my album as I added photos and embellishments and it took shape…

I think this is a beautiful way to honor our mothers, isn’t it? And a beautiful and delicate gift. ūüôā

If 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 (*NOTE* for each month’s Hybrid Challenge at TDP, you get to choose one of the two (2)¬†“Hybrid How-To” tutorial posts from here on the blog for that month, and then you get to make your own version of that chosen project). If you choose to give¬†today’s project a try‚Ķ all you have to do is make a mini-album like mine using some digital elements and papers. Give it a shot, and share your final results with us! We can‚Äôt wait to see what you come up with.

Have a great weekend, you guys… and happy scrapping!

AndreaAbout the Author  Andrea Albuquerque is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Andrea has been a scrapper since 2010 and a photographer since 2012. Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, she can’t resist playing with paper, paint, and embellishments… so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! She lives in Brazil with her hubby.

Tutorial Tuesday | Getting Kids to Smile at the Camera

Ever wish you had a few¬†tricks up your sleeve for getting kids to smile at the camera? I’m here today to help!

It’s often hard to get natural smiles from kids… and let’s face it, simply saying “cheese” often leads to the some of the cheesiest of smiles. So what to do?

I’m the first to admit that bribery goes a long way, but the last thing we really need is blurry photos due to a sugar high and smiles covered in chocolate. Right? So… instead, here are a few tips that will help you get some natural smiles.

  1. Chit Chat — I have found that some kids are shy or nervous about making sure they smile, just like the practiced at home, which can look fake or forced. If I just randomly bring my camera down and start chatting about school or what they ate for breakfast or who their favorite super hero is, I can get them talking and they‚Äôll smile without thinking about it and then the don‚Äôt even notice when I bring my camera back up and start snapping away.
  2. Catch them off guard — On occasion, I will say something out of the blue that kids aren‚Äôt expecting or make it seem that I‚Äôm trying to get a cute smile out of one of the children and end up getting great smiles out of everyone because it lightens the mood and takes the focus off of having to force a smile. This helps to get great natural smiles.
  3. Distraction — Distraction works really well when kids aren‚Äôt cooperating at all. My favorite technique is to ask them to make a silly face or a tiger face and I make faces too. The kids get distracted and start laughing or smiling on their own.
  4. A little humor — My son always makes a funny face when I go to take his photo. Always. He always looks constipated, but as soon as I say the word, he can‚Äôt help laughing hysterically. Of course, I‚Äôd never say that to a client, but other jokes work great. For example, if a kid is picking his nose, I ask if he has some tasty cheese-boogars that he can share.
  5. It is what it is — Many of my clients want picture perfect smiles, but I’m more of a lifestyle type person myself. I absolutely love photos where my kids aren‚Äôt smiling, whether is a posed shot or just a quick capture. I‚Äôm drawn more to eyes than mouths, so I‚Äôd rather avoid squinting eyes from big smiles. Sometimes kids just are who they are and I strive to capture them in the moment. If I don‚Äôt get smiles, it‚Äôs no biggie‚Ķ I get a lot of great shots anyways.

Want some examples of these tricks in action? Here is a layout I created¬†using a few photos of the silly faces my daughter makes…

Next time you are photographing kids and¬†find that you’re struggling to get a natural smile from your subject… give a few of these tips a try, and see if they don’t help you capture a fantastic shot or two!

FarrahAbout the Author ¬†Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.


Tutorial Tuesday | Creating Keyword Sets in Lightroom

I love using Lightroom. When I first began using it,¬†it was solely for the purpose of photo editing; I do almost all of my photo editing in Lightroom. After playing around in the program¬†for a while, though, I started using it for keywording (a.k.a. tagging) my photos for organizational purposes — and eventually I also began using it to tag my digital scrapbooking supplies. The more I use Lightroom, the more I love it. Keywording in Lightroom is quick and easy… and helpful! …and that’s what I am here to share with you today.

For a long time, I did all of my¬†keywording simply¬†by typing in the keywords I wanted to use (saving to the file’s metadata)… and/or by clicking on the keywords that showed up in the “Recent Keywords” set. One day, however, for whatever reason… I noticed there were up and down arrows immediately to right of the “Recent Keywords” set. Hmmm. Why had I never noticed that before? Nested under “Recent Keywords” was a option to save and edit a keyword set. Finding that option was¬†a great time-saver for me. Keywording is definitely not one of my favorite tasks, but I consider it a necessary part of my scrapbooking/photo-editing process and I welcome any and all shortcuts I find to speed up the process. I bet you will too!

So, before I show you how to create¬†a keyword set, in case you haven’t been using Lightroom for keywording I first want to¬†give you a quick how-to for basic keywording:

  • When you’re in the Library Panel press CMD/CTRL+K to access the Keywording Panel.
  • From there you just type in the keywords you want added to the metadata of your photo. *NOTE* You can add multiple keywords to a photo, simply by separating the keywords with a comma. For my example, I used the keywords “Barbara, BAU, Grant, Lauren, Scott, Stonehenge, UK” because these are the words I will most likely use to search for this photo at some point.


As I mentioned above, I find that creating Keyword Sets is a big timesaver. I’ve got a couple of standard keyword sets that I use.¬†Some standard sets I find useful are for different sets of family members. I like to tag all the individual family members in my photos so I can quickly access photos of individual people. Yes,¬†that is very detailed and perhaps more detailed than some people would want to go with their keywording… but the process actually goes quickly, and it saves me so much time down the road when I’m looking for photos.

I have three basic sets that I use all the time:

  1. “Us At Home” is a set of keywords I use all the time for my core family (my husband, kids, dog and at home keywords)
  2. “May Family” is a set of keywords of the names of people on my side of the family.
  3. “Unzen Family” is a set of keywords of the names of people on my husband’s side of the family.


From there, I’ll create keyword sets for individual holidays and events, vacations, etc. —¬†any keywords that I feel I’ll use over and over for a particular set of photos. I’ll save these keywords to a temporary (or permanent) keyword set. It saves me time and speeds up my keywording process.

So, now you probably want to know how to create a Keyword Set. This is the very simple process:

  • Click on the little up/down arrows to the right of “Recent Keywords”
  • Click on “Edit Set”
  • Type in the keywords you want included in the set (each set can hold 9 keywords). Hit Tab to move from box to box.
  • When you’ve entered in the 9 keywords you want included in the set click on the down arrow next to Preset and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset”
  • Type in a name for your preset


That’s it! So easy, right?

And the benefit is that after doing this, when you’re keywording images at a later point in time you can choose between using your “Recent Keywords” and any of the other Keyword Sets you’ve created. Such a time-saver! Give it a try. I hope you find that creating and using Keyword Sets in Lightroom speeds up your keywording/tagging process, as well.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments of this post and I’ll get back to you. Also … if you’ve got any Lightroom shortcuts of your own that you’d like¬†to share with us, feel free to share them with us in the comments, as well!

Barbara UnzenAbout the Author:¬† Barbara Unzen is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s a mom to two teenage kids, a 19 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. In her¬†free time she loves to digi scrap, take photos and hang out with her family.

Hybrid How-To | Custom Watercolor Tags

Hello everyone! It’s Saturday, and time for another edition of Hybrid How-To… and today I’m going to show you how to use digital stamps to create customized¬†tags (and/or other projects).

Supplies Needed

  • Digital stamps (I used stamps from Speechies¬†and Love This by Rachel Hodge, and¬†also¬†This Life March Stamps¬†from the¬†Juno Designs shop)
  • Digital Kit (I used¬†In Living Colour¬†by KimB Designs)
  • Watercolor paints or distress inks
  • Laser printer
  • Optional — Minc foiling machine


I used Microsoft Word to create¬†my project… but of course you can use just about any word processing or image editing software. You will need to arrange your elements (stamps, etc.) on the page in a way that is conducive to¬†printing.¬†Don’t forget to leave some white space around each element (and around the outer edge of the page as a margin).

*TIP* ¬†In Word, I set the ‘Wrap Text’ option to ‘In Front of Text’ so as to be able to easily move the elements around on the page.

If  you have access to a laser printer, then you can print your document before painting. However, if you only have an inkjet printer, you must decorate your page first before printing or your images will run.

Once you have your stamps printed… you can let your creativity run wild! Use watercolor paints (or similarly-styled inks) to create unique backgrounds. Here’s a look at what I did…

*TIP* Use washi tape or masking tape to secure your page to a board or desk. This will help the paper stay flat (rather than curling).

Color your tags as you wish — use ombre effects, splotches, etc. — it’s up to you. I even left a few of my images blank so that I could color them in after I had cut out the pieces.

When you’ve finished, carefully remove the tape and allow to dry. It’s a good idea to place a heavy book on top to keep the paper flat.

OPTIONAL EXTRA STEP — Because I used a laser printer, I could add foil to my pieces using a Minc machine. To do this, you place the foil on top of the paper and feed it through the machine. The foil reacts with the toner… which melts and grabs the foil. Foil is available in a rainbow of colour and adds a real luxury to your pieces. Check this out…

Finally, you will cut out your pieces (adding extra color or ink as you wish). You can die cut or use a cutting machine to get really creative if you wish.

Here, you can see that I created a card with one of my tags…

You can also add them to scrapbook pages, pocket scrapping projects, or even planner pages! Here’s a look at a few pieces I thought could work well in a memory planner…

Isn’t this easy and fun? Now you can create something unique with your digital stamps, and hold the end-product in your hands!

Want to give this project a try? You can earn challenge points towards the April 2017 challenges here at The Digital Press if you share your finished projects with us. Check out our monthly challenge information in the CROSSWORD SECTION of the forum.

MoragAbout the Author¬† Morag Cutts is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Morag has been an avid scrapper and photographer for ten years.¬† Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, Morag can‚Äôt resist playing with paper and embellishments ‚Äď so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! ¬†Morag lives in the UK with her hubby, two kids and recently adopted puppy.


Tutorial Tuesday | Scraplifting Yourself

Welcome to another installment of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am here to advocate for a simple technique that will help you create more scrapbook pages (and faster, and more easily!) — scraplifting yourself.

I would like to use this post to encourage you to be gentle on yourself and not feel as though every layout you create has to be a masterpiece… while also helping you to avoid feeling as though creating layouts leaves you feeling drained. It’s a hobby and it should be fun, right?

Let’s be honest… life is busy,¬†and there are so many things that have to be done all the time. Often we find that by the time we sit down at the computer to take advantage of a few moments of crafty “me time,” our creative energy seems to have dissipated.

How to solve this?

You can always turn to your tried-and-true sources for inspiration. I love The Digital Press Gallery; Pinterest is another fun source of ideas (as is Instagram, as people are posting their scrapbooking creations there more and more often all the time nowadays!). Sometimes, though, I find that I use up all of my scrapping time just looking at other people’s layouts without doing anything with my own photos and getting any of my stories told. Oops! This ends up leaving me feeling despondent and uncreative.

An easy fix for me is to choose the photos I want to scrapbook, and then look at my own arsenal of previous layouts… with the goal being to re-create one that uses the same number of photos,¬†along w/ a new/different kit or collection. I just clip (Ctrl-G) the new papers and photos over the existing ones, and swap out the embellishments with new items from the kit I am working with the second time around.

For example, let’s take this layout that I created for TDP’s¬†3-for-3 challenge¬†in March 2017…

Characteristics of This Layout:

  • 3 photos
  • 3 different patterned papers
  • visual triangle of clusters
  • engaging title
  • complimentary colours of red and blue
  • right-aligned journaling

I still love this layout, and so for the next layout I had just 30 minutes to create and I started with 3 photos of my grandnieces playing outside of the holiday house we shared in December.

I kept the placement of just about everything exactly the same¬†–the photos, papers and journaling — and I changed up the date, etc. Instead of creating a new title, I used a pre-designed piece of word art from the newest TDP Designer Collaboration “Fresh Air“.¬†I still have foundation layers of paint and a scatter. Three points of orange, with a fourth embellishment spot that is tone-on-tone blue to break boundaries and add a different shaped element for interest.¬†I added shadows as I went¬†along… and in 30 minutes, it was finished and ready to be printed!

Here’s a look…

Again, Characteristics of This Layout:

  • 3 photos
  • 3 patterned papers
  • visual triangle of orange
  • wordart title
  • complimentary colours of blue and orange
  • centered journaling

I decided to use this page’s composition one more time. For this last layout, we had a family BBQ on the day before we left Johannesburg and I wanted to highlight the men’s role in cooking and that the women had a relaxed off duty kind of day. ūüôā

For this newest page, I wanted to include a 4th photo of my hubby grilling the meat… so I nudged the photos to the right and squeezed him in there. You can see more similarities with the second layout than the first, including white piece of word art layered over the photo, and centered journaling. Of course, these layouts look strikingly similar — but you could also mix things up by turning the design 90 degrees, or by flipping the paper layers found at the top to the bottom of the page, instead (or changing up the font, etc.). I went for speed over creativity, though, and as these layouts will be separated within the family album of 2016 with different opposing layouts I can almost bet that no one will even notice that they’re almost the same…

Characteristics of This Third Layout:

  • 4 photos
  • 3 patterned papers
  • diagonal/asymmetrical points of pink
  • Blue, green and pink
  • wordart title and sub-titles
  • centered journaling

What do you think? Do you have 30 minutes to spare, in which you want to complete a brand-new layout in just that short time? This technique will help you do so! Just turn to a tried-and-true layout design that you already love… open that PSD or TIF file… remove the papers and embellishments… and start again!

If you give this a try, I’d love to see your results! Feel free to load your layouts to The Digital Press Gallery, and you can even link us up to the original layout in your credits/description if you want to.

 About the Author  Stefanie is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press Co. She is a mom of three older children, all living in Cape Town, South Africa, with her hubby of 29 years and their two cats. In her free time she loves digital scrapbooking, dabbling in photography and reading.

Tutorial Tuesday | Blend Modes

Welcome to another installment of our Tutorial Tuesday series! Today, I want to share a few ways I use blend modes in Photoshop in order to blend my own custom background papers for my layouts!

Layer blend modes can be quite confusing, and honestly I think that simply playing around with them & trying out different opacities is the best way to learn what fits your style. In general, though, layer blend modes change the way layers (or their colors) react with each other.

The modes that I use the most are:

  • Linear Burn & Multiply (the 2nd group of blend modes make things darker; eliminates whites)
  • Screen (3rd group of blend modes make things lighter; eliminates blacks)
  • Overlay & Soft Light (4th group of blend modes generally make things lighter; they work¬†with the gray tones, and results depend on the colors of your base layer)

The Blend mode panel is found just above the layers in the Layer panel. The default is always ‘normal’ and clicking on the small ‘v’ ¬†will bring down the rest of the blending options, as shown here…

Here are a few examples of how I used the blend modes mentioned above to combine two papers together in order to make my own unique background papers. I’ve shown my final layout (top left), the original paper files from the kit I used (bottom left and right), and also the blended version (top right) along with information about the modes/opacities I used…

In the next example, the text paper (lower left) was super fun & I really wanted to use it… but as a background on its own, it was a tiny bit too distracting. Blending it into the starburst paper (lower right) & then lowering the opacity almost all the way down solved that problem. You can still see & read the words on the new version (top right)… but it doesn’t overpower the layout (top left) any longer…

In the next example, I loved the swirly paper (lower right) and wanted to use it for my background, but it was a bit too bright. When I lowered the opacity, however, it seemed to wash out the pretty greens in the paper. My solution was to use a solid green background paper (lower left) because it helped to keep that color nice & sharp, while still decreasing how bold the pattern looks on my layout (top left)…

The next example highlights a useful¬†tip I want to share — which is that if you can’t get it just right with one blend mode, you can always combine it with another mode and/or duplicate the layer that you’re blending. In the following example, I wanted that hexagon paper (lower right) to pop, even despite the darker paper I combined it with. Duplicating the paper and lowering its opacity gave me the defined hexagons I was going for…

Moral to the story: if you love a certain¬†pattern, but you need a darker/different color for your layout… or if you want to tone down the brightness… or if you simply need a certain color to tie your photos together with a kit… blend modes can be your new B.F.F.! Through the use of blend modes, the possibilities are endless!

It’s also a great technique that can help you stretch your scrapping stash!¬†The sky is the limit when it comes to making something unique and creating your own style with just a few clicks of the mouse! ūüôā

AmieAbout the Author¬† Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two kids (ages 9¬†& 5), and her English Bulldog‚Ķ as well as coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book, and lip gloss ‚ÄĒ not necessarily in that order.

Tutorial Tuesday | Brightening Dark or Dull Photos

Have you ever just been browsing through the gallery and seen a page that really just POPPED right out at you? More often than not, that page popped like that because of a gorgeous photograph that the scrapper used. Photographs, and I mean really good photographs, can really make even the most simple page shine!

I hear scrappers comment “Well, I am not a professional photographer, and I don’t have time to learn, so I just use whatever photos I have!” Believe me when I say, “I GET THAT!” ¬†Life is crazy! ¬†At least I know mine is, and I don’t want to spend hours tweaking every single photo I put into our memory books either.

But what if I told you that you could tweak most photos, even the photos you take on your phone, just a little, and improve their appeal incredibly?  Would you be interested to learn how?

Here at The Digital Press we are starting a simple Tutorial Tuesday Series entitled Quick Photo Fixes.  Little tips and tricks to help you step up your everyday photos quickly and easily, so they shine on your layouts and even make those layouts pop right out of the galleries.

Today I want to start with something simple – brightening dark/dull photos. ¬†We all have photos that we took (often with our phone) that are just too dark and drab feeling. ¬†Sometimes they are WAY too dark and you can barely make out the subject matter, but a lot of the time¬†photos are¬†just dark enough to look muddy and dull. They are still usable, but they don’t say WOW! Today I want to show you three¬†simple ways you can brighten those photos and make them stand out just a bit more.

Now, before we start, I want to say that in the world of photography, how under or over exposed a photo is has really become a very personal and artistic thing.  Some photographers swear by certain levels and others just go with what makes them happy.

Here are two different portraits taken from a popular photography site – both are beautiful, and tell their story well, but have different levels of brightness/exposure and so create a different feel.

Since we are working on photos to use in our family memory keeping, I want you to feel free to go with whatever level of brightness makes you happy or fits the mood of your layout. ¬†I personally tend to lean towards brighter, lighter photos with lots of contrast, and sometimes¬†get told mine are “overexposed.” But that is OK with me, because I like the way they feel. ¬†Unless you are a professional photographer and make a living on other people’s desires and opinions, don’t let other people’s aesthetics make you doubt yourself. These are your memories, you make them as bright and happy as you want!

Now, for the fun stuff.

These days I find I am taking a lot of photos with my phone,¬†mostly because my favorite DSLR is starting to die on me and I can’t face the pain of admitting that. But also because I almost always have my phone with me, but my big bulky camera, not so much. ¬†Camera phones really have come a long way, but I find mine still tends to struggle with getting the brightness levels right – especially when we are indoors, and I currently live in the Pacific Northwest where rainy season has taken on a new meaning – even for this¬†Southeast Asian Tropical family – so most days we are inside.

However, I have found that most of the time I can correct the dark drab look of my photos, through one of these three different methods.


The quickest and easiest method is to play with the Brightness and Contrast. ¬†Granted, this won’t always do the trick, but it is a good place to start if you are new to photo editing or get overwhelmed in PS or PSE when playing around with photos. ¬†It is pretty quick and simple, but it will still make a lovely difference in your photo.

Take this photo for example.

I took this photo of my daughter in a little shop outside a Thai village up in the mountains somewhere.  It was the middle of the day, very hot, very bright outside, but there was no lighting inside the shop except what came through the windows. That made the shop nice and cool, but it also meant that my photos ended up pretty dark.

To correct this, I opened up the brightness/contrast control panel.  You can find it under Image>Ajustments>Brightness/Contrast.

That will open up this little box with sliders for both brightness and contrast.

I brightened my image just enough to bring her face to the right skin tone and leave behind that grey tinge.

Then I added some contrast to bump the shadows back up and bring some pop to the photo.

You will notice that this washed out the background a bit – after all there is¬†a LOT of bright sunshine poring in from those windows. ¬†In this case, I don’t really care, because the background was not so important to this photo, but there are techniques¬†that allow you to adjust for that. ¬†We will cover those at a later date.

Here is a side by side of the original and final photo.

The whole process took less than a minute, and now I can plop this photo into a page.  The photo is not that great to begin with, a bit grainy because my phone was an older model, but the final product has much more appeal to me than the original photo.


A second way to brighten up dark dull photos is by playing with the Levels.  This method is my personal favorite, and although it can seem a bit scary if it is unfamiliar to you, it is really not that difficult to get the hang of.  I like adjusting the levels because it gives you more control over all sections of your image, from shadows to highlights, while allowing you to make more subtle adjustments, and yet it stays pretty simple if you want it to.

I took this photo of my youngest on our front porch during a rain storm.  While there is obviously some light, the photo still ended up dark and dull feeling.  We can easily fix that with levels.

To adjust your levels go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and you will get a little box like this.

The graph that comes up that looks like a mountain range is called a histogram. ¬†A histogram is nothing more than a graphical representation of the tonal values of your image – so basically it shows the amount of tones of a particular brightness found in your image. ¬†Simply speaking, the blacker, or darker tones, are to your left while the whiter, or lighter tones, are to your right. ¬†A good image will have a “mountain range” that spreads pretty evenly through all the values, stretching from left to right. ¬†You can see from my histogram above, that this photograph is missing most of the lighter values to the farthest right. ¬†We correct that by adjusting the sliders that you see at the bottom of the histogram.

For my photo I started with the right most slider, and pulled it towards the left, until it was right at the edge of my “mountain range” ¬†That brightened up the lighter areas of my photo.

I then pulled the leftmost slider over to the right a little, to deepen the darker areas back up a touch.

You can also adjust the middle slider to correct the mid-tones if you feel the need.  I adjusted mine just a bit to bring back the facial features and little details of the photo I wanted to capture.

And again, in just a minute or so we have taken a dull photo up a notch to a fun, colorful capture of a playful moment. There is a lot more you can do with levels if you really want to learn, but this simple step will give you a bit more control over your photos.


Finally, the third way to quickly brighten dark/dull photos is to use Curves.  You find curves in the same place, go to Image>Adjustments>Curves.

Now, there is a whole lot that you can do with curves, and it can get complicated. ¬†However, for the sake of today’s tutorial we are going to keep it simple.

This time I am using an image that my oldest took in the car.  The selfie camera on his phone is not good at all, and it came out really dark!

So I open my image and go to adjust the curves. Again, a little graph will pop up, this time showing both your histogram, and a line running diagonally through it.

To adjust your curves for brightness, you want to make sure that the RGB path is selected in the channel drop down menu and then you are going to place your cursor on the mid-point of the line and drag it slightly higher. ¬†You generally don’t need to¬†move the line too far in order to change up the image, but you can move it around a bit, both up and down from the starting line, to get an idea of what happens when you do.

Here they are side by side, still not the best image in the world (what kind of face is that anyway ) but much better than the original don’t you think?

So, I hope that gave you a few new ideas on how to quickly brighten up dark or dull photos and really help them pop. ¬†If you find one method does not give you the results you want on a particular photo, then try one of the other two and see if that works better. ¬†Or, if you really want to have some fun tweaking your images, you can combine two or even all three of these techniques to really add contrast and color to your dull photos. If all of that still seems like too much work, you might want to look into some Photoshop Actions. ¬†There are some really fun ones out there for the daring, and just plain simple ones as well for everyday fixes like this one. Some are free, and others cost a bit of money, but actions really do make photo edits quick and easy. ¬†I use¬†actions for a lot of my photo helps, so feel free to ask for recommendations if you don’t know where to look.

Thanks so much for following along with me, and have fun making those everyday photos just a bit more appealing!

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 | Paper Pouches

Hello, everyone! Kate here to show you how to create these fun paper pouches — just in time for Easter!


  • Digital kit of your choice (I used It’s a Spring Thing, found in the Juno Designs shop here at TDP)
  • Scissors or a straight cutter
  • Adhesive (for this project, I prefer glue dot strips OR hot glue)
  • Sewing Machine


1. Print your chosen digital papers and cut into rectangles. Mine are 4″x5″ and 3″x5″…

2. Add the adhesive of your choice to the short edge of the rectangle and roll the paper up, adhering to the other short edge. You’re basically making a bunch of paper tubes.

3. Pinch one open end of the tube together and sew along the edge. Fill with candy, but don’t overfill or you will have trouble¬†getting the other side to close. Once it’s filled, pinch the other end together — in the opposite direction (see below) — and sew along the edge…

And that’s all there is to it! I like to display these in a glass bowl on the coffee table, but they would also make an awesome edition to an Easter basket.

Want to give this a try (and earn challenge points toward the March 2017 challenges here at The Digital Press)? Come check out our monthly hybrid challenge information in the forum HERE.

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, and a dog named Gracie. She‚Äôs 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 | Quick & Easy Photo Collage in Lightroom

I love creating pocket pages, and I just recently discovered that I could quickly and easily create photo collages in Lightroom to use on my layouts. It’s a fantastic time-saver, and I’m here today to show you how to do it, too!

First, I collect all the papers and photos that I want to use in my collage, and place them in a single folder on my computer’s desktop.

Next, I import all these files into Lightroom. For my example, I chose to only use patterned paper… but you could use journal cards, too!

Next, I went to the Print Panel. You can see that I have a bunch of pre-made templates (the best thing is that I found them free on the web, but you can also create your own)! These templates can be edited to fit your needs or you can create your own!

In the Print Job drop-down area, input the dimensions you like. In this example, I chose 9″ x 8″ for my size. In the Print To¬†field, make sure it says JPEG¬†file and that the file resolution is set to 300ppi.

In the Cells drop-down area, I edited one of the sizes in the Add to Package area to 4″ x 3″ (the size of most journaling cards).

Then I added six¬†4″ x 3″ boxes to my photo collage by continually clicking on the¬†4″ x 3″…

Next,¬†I added the photos and paper I wanted to use simply by clicking and dragging the photos and paper onto the collage…

And finally, here is a look at my finished photo collage.

I clicked on Print to File in the lower right hand corner and saved my collage…

Then, I¬†opened up my collage image in Photoshop to complete my Pocket Page with some embellishments/etc…

[ products used¬†–My Garden elements, papers, and extra papers¬†by Meagan’s Creations ]

And that’s it! It’s so simple… and such a great time-saver. ūüôā



About the Author¬† Krista Lund is a mom of 3, married to her high school sweetheart and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of her favorite things are brownies, chips ‘n’ dip, taking pictures, and documenting her family’s story.

Tutorial Tuesday | Creating Your Own Shadow Styles

Today I’m here to help teach you how to create your own shadow styles, save them to your computer, and use them again in the future. Such a time saver!

As we develop our scrapbooking craft, the tips and techniques we learn along the way help us to work faster — and processes get easier. That’s the goal, right?¬† When we’re itching to create, we don’t want anything standing in our way — not laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, work, or a commute. Nothing.¬†We want to scrap. Period. ūüôā Anything we can do to¬†speed up the process of¬†creating, especially when the¬†mojo is flowing, is¬†welcomed!

With that in mind, I wanted to show you a quick and easy way to¬†add shadows to your layouts — and also save those shadow styles for repeated use in the future. It’s easier than you might think!

When I was first¬†exploring digital scrapbooking, shadows (and the process of shadowing things in Photoshop/etc.) used to scare¬†me. Let’s be honest… it’s a little intimidating for a beginner! Some designers here at The Digital Press offer shadow styles for sale in the shop… with the idea being that you can install the styles on your computer, and then with a¬†few simple clicks of the mouse, voila! Instant shadows! Super time-saver.

For myself, now that I am almost 15 years down the digital road… I find that I’ve developed my own “shadowing style” over time — it is personal to me, based on my own preferences about how things should look. The trouble is… it often takes a lot of time to customize shadows over and over. For instance — I might find myself applying a particular shadow depth for some items, a specific shade of brown (instead of the default black), a certain blending mode, and even specific changes to the opacity of the shadows. On a good week, I can scrap five pages or more… but that’s a lot of added shadow work! So the idea of being able to quickly click-and-apply my own shadow styles was very appealing.

To take a look at how this works… let’s start with an unshadowed version of a page I created for this¬†month’s scraplift challenge (I’ve deliberately left my shadowing off this copy of the page so I can walk you through the quick steps for¬†creating — and using — your own, personalized shadow styles)…

As you can see, with regard to what needs to be shadowed — I’ve got some large flowers and some small flowers, a piece of flair, some papers, some thick and thin string elements, and even a small crotchet piece. Each item needs its own shadow, and based on my preferences… each of these items would be treated a little differently.

Let’s take a look at the large yellow flower and start there.

Click on the “fx” button at the bottom of your Layers Palette and select Drop Shadow¬†…or use the menus and go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Either one will give you a pop-up menu in which to create your shadow. As you can see, I like a large, feathered shadow for my¬† larger flowers (or similarly-sized elements). Oh, and in case you’d like to know, my “brown” color is #30200E.

See the difference on the yellow flower (lower-right corner) now?

Once you have the foundation of your shadow set, instead of hitting that “OK” button… click “New Style” instead. Give the style a name you’ll easily remember, and now click “OK.”¬†How easy was that?! You’ve just created your own, personalized shadow style! Repeat this step for each of the different design elements.

But how do you actually use these styles once you’ve created them?

If you don’t see the Styles palette in your workspace, go to Windows > Styles. When this panel first opens, you might see something like this – but don’t panic! (and please don’t judge, haha! …I have a lot of styles in Photoshop!)…

You’re probably wondering how on earth are you supposed to find the styles that you just created for yourself? I’ll give you two tips that will help:

  1. You can change the “view” for the palette to something that’s much more manageable. In the upper right-hand corner of the Style box, there’s a drop-down menu button — click on that. I like “Small List” or “Large List” as my preferred viewing format as it gives me both the display icon and the text label, like Large Flower.
  2. As you create or add styles, they will be at the bottom of your list; they append each time. Scroll down.

To apply your new styles, click on the element layer to make it active, and then click on the appropriate style. See? Two clicks of the mouse and you are done! You can even select multiple layers by holding down the Shift key and then apply a single style to them all at once (which is very handy when you’ve got a lot of paper layers, or if your scrapbooking style includes a lot of clustering).

Remember the non-shadowed page that I started with (see above)? By using my own custom styles, I was able to shadow the entire layout in a matter of just minutes — seriously, minutes! (even with further customizing a shadow or two)…

[ Credits: I Can Do This | March 2017 Collaboration kit from the designers at The Digital Press ]


If you’re in a time-crunch, or you just find yourself repeating the same steps over and over again while shadowing your scrapbook pages… creating your own personalize styles might just be the short-cut you¬†are looking for! Easy to create. Easy to use. What more could you ask for? ūüôā

KatAbout 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 do her son and “daughter” (of the four-legged furry kind). Kat has quite the sense of humor (she “blames” her father for this), which she incorporates into her journaling and memory-keeping.

Hybrid How-To | Create A Robot Party Favor

Hello everyone! It’s¬†Tanya here for this week’s Hybrid How-To… to show you how to make a fun and easy robot party favor! ūüôā

The minute I saw this adorable new¬†Automated | Kit¬†by Laura Passage, I knew I had to do something with it. My friends ask me all the time, “why do you make all these wonderful things and you don’t even have small children?” Want to know why?! It’s because I looooove hybrid crafting and sharing those craft ideas with you. I always hope that it will inspire you to take a shot at hybrid crafting and create something fun.

I don’t think Robot party favors were Laura’s original idea for the kit, but that is one on the reasons I love hybrid crafting… there can be soooo many uses for a single kit!

I used my Silhouette Cameo for¬†this project… mainly because I’m spoiled by¬†it! There are other ways to achieve the same results, however, and you don’t need a cutting machine in order to do this project.

To begin,¬†you will need to separate the pieces of each robot so that you will be able to cut each different piece of the “puzzle.” To do this, open the element you want to use¬†and copy it a couple of times (I do this just in case I need to go back to the original for any reason). Next go to¬†trace, uncheck the high pass filter and¬†then¬†select¬†trace and detach. As you move the threshold slider to the right, you can see the parts that will detach (highlighted yellow in the image, below). I will do this a couple of times, each time moving the slider to highlight more of the image to detach.

In this next image,¬†you can see the other part of the image that will detach…

To get the rectangle (shown below, circled), I simply picked the rectangle tool and drew it out to the size I needed…

Next, you can see how I organized all my pieces on the mat (this is also how I will set up my scrap pieces of card stock when I actually cut with my machine)

Don’t forget to turn on the cut lines, as shown here…

For the base piece, I opened the trace image box and chose the trace outline box

The neat thing about using card stock (as opposed to printing and cutting using digital papers/patterns) is that you can use up all your old paper scraps. As you can see, below, I actually chose the colors that were in the kit… but you can use any color scraps you have on hand. You can see here that I was able to put five different colors on the mat at the same time… and boy, is this a time saver! (also, if you scroll up, 2 images above, you can see how the paper scraps in this next image match the layout of images I created in the software).

Here’s a look at all of the pieces, once I removed the excess cardstock…

As you can see in the next image, I actually had to re-cut a few pieces because my calculations were off. Oops! (not that I really calculated anything; I eyeballed it!)…

And finally, once you have all of the separate parts cut out…¬†you will simply group them together to put into a cellophane bag (for the end-users to be able to assemble and create their own robots!)…

Here are the tags I created to tie to the gift bags…

And that’s it! A ready-made party favor to send with your guests, so they can go home and assemble their own robots. So much fun!

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s Hybrid How-To here on The Digital Press’s blog. Now it’s your turn to create something fun (with or without a cutting machine)! If you would like to earn points toward TDP’s monthly challenge system, visit the corresponding monthly Hybrid Challenge in the forum’s CROSSWORD SECTION¬†(you’ll find it stickied up near the top during March 2017). We’d love to see your creations!


About the Author  Tanya is a part of the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She has been hybrid crafting for at least 14 years now, and loves creating and sharing those creations with others. Her all-time favorite tool is her Silhouette Cameo. She has been married for 28 years to her high school sweetheart, Richard and has two sons: Chris, 25 and Chance, 20. She also enjoys crocheting, photography and woodworking

Tutorial Tuesday | Documenting Kids’ Artwork

If you’ve got children, you’ve probably also got an ever-growing assortment of art projects slowly accumulating dust and fading in the sunlight somewhere in your house.

You’ve probably also decided — maybe more than once — that it’s time to organize said pieces, and/or *gasp!*¬†archive them into the recycling bin. Today, I am here to share a couple of ideas about preserving these amazing masterpieces (a.k.a. glimpses into our children’s lives¬†at a certain age), while simultaneously reducing the clutter associated with this endless stream of kids’ artwork.


How?¬†When new artwork comes into the house, I photograph it. I do this for all things I think I might want to keep — drawings, handwritten stories, paintings, decorated bags… all of it. I try to do this immediately (or at least within a day or two), because then the art hasn’t had time to get damaged by sunlight, dirty fingers, angry siblings, the robot vacuum, being stuffed between sofa cushions, left in the bathroom, misplaced or (let’s admit it) recycled in a fit of clutter-induced pique.

I usually try to photograph artwork mid-day, and I do it indoors in indirect natural light so there are no harsh shadows. I lay flat pieces on the floor, and photograph from directly above, usually against a background that’s a different color than the artwork so that it is easier to extract in Photoshop (if desired). For dimensional pieces, I try a variety of different angles to capture the depth and/or texture of the piece. Once I have my photos, I can take my time deciding how to archive them without having to worry about the artwork degrading or disappearing. This also allows our family the ability to enjoy the originals¬†for as long (or short) a time as desired.

While I prefer to photograph my kids’ artwork… there are also other methods that can be employed. If you own a scanner, you can always scan the flat pieces. There are also plenty of apps out there that you can use to “archive” artwork, but I’ll admit that that particular avenue hasn’t ever held as much appeal to¬†me.¬†Occasionally we’ve had cute little pictures turned into tangible items such as note cards, magnets, or pillows… and/or we’ve framed our favorite finger-paintings… but in general, I much prefer photographing everything and using those photos in my memory-keeping. Shoving the old artwork deep into the recycling bin before the kids wake up seems a bit heartless, and so the photography-to-scrapbook method as worked out to be a fantastic compromise.


Once you have your artwork recorded, there are a handful of different things to do with the photos to get them off the computer and into your scrapbooks. Here are just a few ideas…

  • Scrapbook an entire page to showcase a specific piece of art
  • Use a single piece or artwork to support a page about some aspect of your child’s personality (or even about an event)
  • Turn a single piece into a pocket card and include it in a weekly or monthly summary page (or an “All About Me” page)
  • Accumulate pictures of artwork over time, and then have them all printed and bound into a single photo book that’s all about the art

My kids (and others) enjoy seeing their creations incorporated right into our family albums. Recently, for instance, I made this page about a little book my son recently made at school…

To create the above page, I individually photographed each two-page spread of his book, and then I extracted the photos in Photoshop (I also extracted the “written by” line and name from a photo by removing the white background). If you look closely, I also included a “translation” of the text in the border; be sure to include a translation or explanation if the subject matter isn’t immediately apparent, and/or if your audience isn’t fluent in “emergent speller.” ūüôā

This next page highlights¬†a single drawing, as well as¬†the original photo that inspired it. I used a similar extraction technique on this picture…

Finally,¬†this next one highlights the mailbox my daughter dreamed up and constructed (with recyclables! and a little adult help) for Valentine’s Day. I love the detail images, such as the eyeball and the painted heart (“it’s a v-neck sweater,” I was later informed).

The¬†artwork photography technique also works well for a host of other types of kids’ art, including…

  • Dimensional ephemera (like egg-carton caterpillars, foam-ball-and-pipe-cleaner ants, decorated rocks, and Valentine mailboxes, as shown above)
  • Artwork items that you want to record in multiple spaces (say, in both a family album and in a child’s album… or even one you send out to the grandparents)
  • Anything made out of colored construction paper

As you can see, though…¬†it doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as you record and document it. Whether you photograph and scrap your child’s artwork to preserve color, prevent damage, reduce clutter, record a memory, or capture a moment in time… the general idea is to get it photographed¬†and get those pictures scrapped before the memories are faded just like the construction paper they were created on.

Including your kids’ masterpieces is simply another great way to document your child’s (or entire family’s) story, while also reducing some of the household clutter at the same time. Win-win! ūüôā


About the Author  Carrie is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, year-round, near their home in Colorado. In addition to scrapbooking and the occasional hybrid home decor project, Carrie also reads voraciously, accumulates fabric, makes soap, brews beer, grows hops, and tries to keep indoor plants alive.

Tutorial Tuesday | The Field Blur Technique

I have a hunch that I’m not the only member of Apple’s demographic who was excited to get the new iPhone 7 just¬†for the upgraded camera! Yes, I confess, it’s true.

One of my favorite features of the new iPhone 7 camera is the Portrait Mode on the camera. In this mode, you set the focus to your subject and the background blurs out… as if you were taking the shot with a DSLR to control the depth of field. The resulting shot can be really dramatic and look quite professional — even for point-and-click phone camera photographers.

Here’s a look at the difference…

Because I loved this effect so much, I wondered (a) what could non-iPhone 7 users do to achieve the same result? …and (b) whether there was an easy method I could use in Photoshop to achieve this effect on older photos, for use on my scrapbook pages. Photoshop did not disappoint. I checked out the Field Blur filters and found that it is super easy (like, 2 minutes or less!) to create the same effect. Here’s how it’s done…

1. Open your photo in Photoshop (*NOTE* I’m using Photoshop CC 2017 for the following examples)

2. Choose Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur

3. You’ll wind up with a little pin graphic pointer which you can use to drop multiple pins in strategic places on your photo. Each pin drop tells Photoshop to blur that surround area to the level you specify using the adjustment ring (the circle around the center of the pin). To adjust any pin, click on the adjustment ring and drag your mouse around the wheel to the desired level. A setting of “0” means that no blurring will happen in that area.

*NOTE* To get the look you want, you’ll have to experiment and place multiple pins. What I found to work best for me was to place a “row” of pins within the boundaries of the subject… but toward the outer edge, and then also place another “row” of pins just outside the boundaries of the subject. On the inner row, I set all of the blurs to “0” and on the ring (just outside the subject), I set all of those higher (I used “25”).

4. I also dropped a couple of other pins around the rest of the image (outside the subject) to ensure that the entire background was blurred. The beauty of this technique is that you can adjust the blur intensity on each pin, in case there are areas where you need to ease into a more intense blur over a span of the image. You can always move any one pin (or delete it) by clicking and dragging on the center of the pin.

5. If you’re curious to see how the mask looks without the image, hold down “M” and you’ll be able to see the blur mask. Wherever you see white… that’s where blur is applied. Black areas are protected (no blur), and gray areas are areas of partial blur.

6. When you’re finished, click “OK” at the top of the filter window.

That’s all there is to it! It’s a technique that is super easy, once you get the hang of it!

Here’s a comparison of the photo straight from my iPhone 7 with Portrait Mode (left), and the one I doctored up in Photoshop (right)…

Pretty close, right?? The effect really makes your subject pop, and takes out any distracting background features.

Here’s a layout that I created using my image, along with KimB Designs’¬†Be Brave¬†Kit and a template from¬†Stripped Down (Vol 1) Templates¬†by Laura Passage…


ShannonAbout the Author¬† Shannon has been¬†completely addicted to digiscrapping since she began in early 2016 (though she’s been a scrapper since 2000). Her early morning ritual of a few quiet hours of scrapping while sipping a chai tea is her favorite part of each day. She is also the owner of a web design company, and when she’s not at the computer designing websites or digiscrap layouts, she’s probably hiking one of the local mountains in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.¬†She is an avid reader and loves to travel to foreign countries.

Hybrid How-To | Bag Toppers

My daughter passed out donuts to her entire 5th grade class for Valentine’s Day. She wanted to add a little card or something she could sign her name to, so I whipped up these bag toppers we could staple to ziplock bags. It was such a quick project… and I was thinking it would be just perfect for any party favor. Throw the candy/treats/toys into any size bag and add the personalized topper. Fun and simple!

The first thing I did was measure the width of the bag. I used regular old sandwich bags for the donuts… each of which measured about 6.5″ wide. I wanted the front of the design to be 1.5″ x 6.5″ — making the total dimension for each topper (front and back) 3″ x 6.5″.

To do this, I clipped patterned paper to a simple rectangular¬†template I made (see image, below), and then I designed the front of the topper using digital elements from the same kit. I kept my design flat — so it ended up being a simple flat digital design that I could easily print off (i.e. no extra cutting or assembling of extra embellishments/layers). I thought it would be easier that way since I was making like 30 of them. ūüėČ

*PRO TIP* When creating your rectangular designs… make sure the “front” of the design stays on the bottom half of the template so it won’t be folded over to the back once you attach them to the bags.

After creating the design in Photoshop… the next step is to print, cut, and fold each topper in half. I filled all my bags with donuts, sealed the bags, and then stapled the toppers onto the zippered portion of the bags…

Here’s a look at the back (left) and front (right) of one of my topper designs…

This project literally took me about an hour from designing the toppers in Photoshop to completing the finished project — with no fancy cutting machine required. I hope you‚Äôll 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, and a dog named Gracie. She‚Äôs 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 | Creative Journaling

I recently found out that breaking up is easy to do! Oh it’s okay, really… I’m¬†only talking about breaking up the journaling on my digital scrapbook pages. ūüėČ I’m here today to share some tips for this process.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about digital scrapbooking is because the pages I am creating today will be a legacy for future generations to enjoy years from now! I am in the process of creating books for our two beautiful grandbabies, and I try to include as much information as possible on each page.

While I’m comfortable with journaling on the pages, I have recently felt that I am in a rut with regards to the actual placement of the journaling. Simply put, I realized that my process was only to “find a spot I like and start typing and stop when the story ends.” The journaling I do is usually along one edge or the other – or smack dab in the center of the page. I have been known to ramble… and ramble… so I started thinking more about the placement and how it affected the visual composition of the page.

When I created the page shown below, I concentrated on breaking up the journaling. I wanted the words to become part of the overall design of the page, and I wanted them to flow together with the photos and the other elements of the layout.

I realized that by breaking up the journaling¬†on the page, it gave the reader a little visual break. Perhaps even a chance to contemplate what they just read before moving on… or a breaking point to examine the photos after reading part of the story… or simply to admire the other aspects of the page. It also allows the eye to flow around the page rather than concentrating on one big block of text.

Here are a few tips you can employ in order to break up your journaling while scrapping your memories…

  • Use your title work to break up the sentences/paragraphs (this technique is shown above)
  • Similarly, you can break up your story by placing word art and/or elements right in with the journaling itself
  • Align the text differently throughout your page (right / left / center… you’ll note, above, that I changed the alignment depending on which side of the page the journaling appeared)
  • Use “bullet” type journaling — placing the bullet points randomly around your page
  • Place the photos and elements on the page first, then fit the journaling to align with the photos (something I did when I created the¬†page shown above)

There are many more ways to achieve this, but I hope the tips I’ve shared here have at least given you a bit of journaling inspiration today! Thanks for stopping by the blog for another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series… and until next time, “Happy Scrapping!”


Jill WAbout the Author ¬†Jill has been digiscrapping since 2006 when she came across it (quite by accident) while Googling “computer crafts.” Since that time, her love for the hobby has only increased! Her love of photography melds perfectly with digital scrapping, and she is thrilled that she has the opportunity to be part of The Digital Press creative team!

















Tutorial Tuesday | Combining Templates

Do you ever struggle to find a template that’s just right for the photos you’re trying to scrap? If so, I have a quick tip for you today!

I love using templates to speed up my scrapping while also¬†making layouts with a beautiful design. Sometimes, though, I can’t find the perfect template to match my photos/topic. What’s a scrapper to do, you ask? My solution: combine templates to create one that perfectly suits my images!

For the¬†example I’m showing you today, I chose to work with a template set from our newest designer at The Digital Press — Jen C Designs’¬†You’ve Been Snapped Vol 1. Here is a look at the original template set (before I made any alterations to any of the templates)…

I love the layered paper background in the template shown at the top right… but I knew that I needed quite a few more photo spaces. I looked at the other templates in the set, and found the one at the bottom right, which featured three additional photo spots. I also liked the arrows on that second template!

To combine the two templates…

  • First, I opened one of the two templates (the one shown at top right, above) in Photoshop.
  • Next, I opened the second template (the one shown at bottom right, above)… and I selected all of the layers that I wanted to use and dragged them over into the first template.
  • After a few quick tweaks and a bit of re-sizing¬†here and there… I had an all-new template that would work beautifully for my photos.

Here is a look at my resulting layout after combining the two templates…

Once you give the idea of combining templates a try, I think you will see that the possibilities¬†are endless! You’ll never be stuck looking for the right template again… but you can still benefit from the ready-made aspects of using layered templates (paper layers, embellishment placement, page balance, etc.). It really stretches your template stash, too… as you can use each template as-is, and then combine them to create new options from the same set!

I hope you’ll give combining templates a try… and if you do, I’d love to see your finished page! Load it up in the gallery at TDP, and leave me a link to it in the comments, below. ūüôā

About 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.

Hybrid How-to | Creating a Hybrid Page Using a Digital Template

Hi everyone, It‚Äôs Saturday and time for another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! ¬†Today, I’m here to help show you how easy it is to¬†create a hybrid page using a digital template.

I love working with paper and physical elements/stamps, but sometimes I also miss being able to change things and make adjustments like I can with my digital layouts… so hybrid projects are my favorite way to make pages. The best of both worlds! I also think digital kits are a fantastic way to stretch our¬†crafty¬†budgets; we can print and cut as many times as we like.

When I make a hybrid page, I like to use the digital templates I have in my stash… and let me tell you, it’s really fun and easy!

For the¬†layout I am making for today’s tutorial, I used two different digital products — a template from Sahin Designs —¬†January 2017 Layered template 1

…as well as a digital kit by Little Lamm & Co. —¬†Nonpareil Scrapbook Kit

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’d like to celebrate my loves, so I’ll be making a page about them.

I’ll start out by creating my page in Photoshop, using my digital template and the digital items that I plan to print out. Here’s a look at the template, before I begin working…

…and here’s a look at the template once I’ve added my photo, digital papers, and embellishments…

After I have all of my printable items sized the way I want, I separate each of the pieces (see image, below right) and save them all as a PNG file to print and fussy cut. Although I have a Silhouette Cameo, sometimes I simply fussy cut just because I love it!



I also print out the papers for the larger circles… and these I actually cut with my Silhouette Cameo (see full printed papers in image,¬†below right)…


As you can see, I duplicated some elements. I do this often just because I want to have some cute stash ready to use.

Here are my pieces printed and cut…


After I have all my pieces cut out, I just put them back together on a physical 12×12 page and then add my elements, stamps, hand-stitching, and some spray ink splatters, as shown here…

And there¬†you have it! A beautiful hybrid page without all the guesswork or the need to re-print several times to get things right. ūüôā

If 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). If you choose to give¬†today’s project a try… all you have to do is make a hybrid page using some digital elements and papers, along with¬†a digital template as your foundation for the composition of the page. 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.

Have a great weekend you guys, and happy scrapping!

AndreaAbout the Author ¬†Andrea Albuquerque¬†is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Andrea has been a scrapper since 2010 and a photographer since 2012. Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, she¬†can’t resist playing with paper, paint, and embellishments… so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! She lives in Brazil with her hubby.