Tutorial Tuesday | 5 Tips for Sports Photography

Do you sometimes find it uninspiring to scrapbook sports photos? As a busy mom of 3 boys I have spent countless hours on the sidelines of almost every sport and have thousands of sports photos to prove it! The majority of those photos will never make in onto a scrapbook page, but the stellar ones that take your breath away, those will!  Today I am sharing my top 5 tips to help you capture stellar scrapbook worthy sports photos!

1. Nail the shot with sharp focus – It helps if you have a particular person of interest playing the game because then you can follow this person on the field of play with your camera. This is especially true with continuous movement sports such as soccer and basketball. If you don’t have a person of interest, you can focus on a position such as pitcher, batter, quarter back, etc.

Consider using a continuous focus mode so that you can focus on the action as your kids move around. In your manual it’s called AF-C (Nikon) or AI Servo (Canon).  You’ll thank yourself for making the switch when you’re photographing kids indoor sports because it’s so much easier to follow the action than moving around a single focus point.

2. Anticipate the Action – Knowing where to stand is one of the most important parts of sports photography.  Each sport is different and the games have their own flow of action.  Photographers want to be where the action is going, not where it has been.  Each sport generally offers a ton of options as far as where a photographer can stand. Get to a game early to find the best spot or move around as the play continues to get different shots from multiple spots.

3. Capture the emotion – photos showing the emotions of playing the game are the most rewarding and memorable. Sports offer a variety of photo opportunities aside from the action on the field. While the expressions of the players involved in the action are usually great, don’t forget about the players not involved in the action or the coaches and fans. The sidelines are great for shots of players interacting with each other, coaches instructing players, and sideline portraits. Don’t be afraid to turn away from the action during the moments to catch the emotion in the bench area.

4. Tell the story with composition – A sporting event is rich with storytelling ideas and opportunities for great composition. Use the lines of the field or the movement of the player to tell the unique story of the game in action. Use items that would sometimes be considered an eyesore to creatively frame your photos. A simple baseball fence can become a unique frame for your subject if you shoot close enough to it:

5. Take multiple shots – Use a continuous (burst) shooting mode to capture several frames in succession. Depending on how fast the games move, you’ll be able to capture a great series of images of your child in action. Use a zoom lens to get in close to your player, so it feels like you are right there with them on the field :

Don’t expect every photograph to be a game-winning shot. The best way to get better with any photography is with perseverance and practice, and before you know it you’ll start to see more consistent results!

JenniferHigniteJennifer Hignite is a mom of three boys and new homeowner with her fiance in the mitten state of Michigan. When she is not scrapbooking, she enjoys photography, watching her boys play sports, decorating, and shopping at Target.

Tutorial Tuesday | Highlighting a Photo Using Strokes

Have you ever been working on a scrapbook page, been framing up your photos and feel like your page is coming together and looking awesome,  but you know, it needs just a little “something.” Perhaps you’re like me and you use the same framing technique over and over and sure, it works great, you love it, but for the page you’re working on you want a little different look. Personally, my go-to method of framing a photo is to apply a style to my photo mask (a textured white stroke). Again, I love the clean look, but sometimes I feel like a photo could use a little more “oomph.” When that happens oftentimes I’ll add a stroke either around the photo or inside the frame of the photo. It’s easy to do. Let me show you how.

First off, here’s a clean and simple page I scrapped this weekend using Fete papers, elements and stamps by Sahin Designs here at The Digital Press. I was happy with the page with the warped shadow and my standard white frame, but I felt that keeping it even more simple, by removing the white frame and adding a stroke around the photo as well as inside the photo would give the page a little more pizzaz. Let me tell you how I go about adding strokes to my pages.

Here’s my side-by-side “Before” and “After” images:


Before we begin, let me note that for my page example I first chose to delete the style that created the white textured frame. I wanted to just use the inset white stroke and the outside black stroke.

As you can see from my layers panel, I’ve got my photo clipped to a rectangular shape that I created with the marquee tool.

Step 1. Highlight the photo mask

CMD+Click (or CTRL+Click) on the thumbnail of the photo mask in the layers panel. Marching ants will appear around the photo mask.


Step 2. Create a new blank layer ABOVE the photo in the layers panel

Click on the photo in the layers panel so that the photo layer is active and then create a new blank layer. Following are three different ways you can create a new blank layer:

(1) Click on the folded paper icon at the bottom of the layers panel, or

(2) Press CMD+SHIFT+N (or CTRL+SHIFT+N) and then click OK, or

(3) Press Layer > New > Layer > OK.

Step 3. Make sure the new blank layer is the active layer

You will want to apply the stroke to the BLANK layer you created in Step 2 (NOT directly on the photo), so make sure the new blank layer is the active layer in the layers panel. To do that simply click on the blank layer. You will be able to see that it’s the active layer because it will be highlighted in the layers panel.

Step 4. Contract your selection

Press Select > Modify > Contract. At this point you will choose how much smaller you want your selection to be for the stroke you are creating. I chose to contract by 25 pixels. Choose your desired number of pixels and press OK. You will see that the size of the selection of the marching ants will have gotten smaller.

Step 5. Create the stroke

Press Edit > Stroke

A.  At this point you will choose the size of the stroke you want to create. I chose 10 pixels. (I usually choose between 3 and 10 pixels.)

B.  Choose the color of the stroke you want to create. It will default to the foreground color. If you want a color other than the foreground color click on the color box and choose a color using the color picker. I chose a white stroke for inset stroke over my photo.

C.  Choose the location of the stroke you want to create. Your options are inside, center or outside. I chose “inside.” I find that if you choose “outside” that the edges won’t be as crisp and I like a crisp edge.

D.  Click OK.

That’s it. You’ve created a simple white stroke over your photo. It adds a nice touch, don’t you think?

Now let’s talk about creating another stroke, this time around the outside of a photo.



The steps to create a stroked frame outside a photo/shape is very similar to the steps above, with just a couple slight differences.

Step 1. Create a new blank layer BELOW the photo mask in the layers panel

Click on the photo mask in the layers panel to make sure the photo mask layer is active and then create a new blank layer. NOTE, in my case I had a warped shadow layer beneath my photo so I created a blank layer beneath that. Following are three different ways you can create a new blank layer BELOW your current layer:

(1) CMD+SHIFT+Click (or CTRL+SHIFT+Click) on the folded paper icon at the bottom of the layers panel (adding the SHIFT is what places the layer below the active layer), or

(2) Press CMD+SHIFT+N (or CTRL+SHIFT+N), click OK and then click and drag the newly created layer below the photo mask, or

(3) Press Layer > New > Layer > OK and then click and drag the newly created layer below the photo mask.

(NOTE, it really would be ok for your blank layer to be above as well, I just like to see it below as I’m moving about in the layers panel. Yup. Weird, but that’s the way it is. 😉

Step 2. Make sure the new blank layer is the active layer

You will want to apply the stroke to the BLANK layer you created in Step 1 (NOT directly on the photo layer), so make sure the new blank layer is the active layer in the layers panel. To do that simply click on the blank layer. You will be able to see that it’s the active layer because it will be highlighted in the layers panel.

Step 3. Create a shape larger than your photo

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (Hotkey M) drag out a shape larger than your photo, keeping in mind you will be applying a stroke INSIDE that shape.

NOTE: Using a similar procedure to Step 4 above, but choosing Expand Your Selection will NOT work if you have a shape with sharp corners. Even though you may have sharp corners on your photo mask shape, the corners will be rounded when you expand the selection.

 Step 4. Create the stroke

Press Edit > Stroke

A.  At this point you will choose the size of the stroke you want to create. I chose 10 pixels. (I usually choose between 3 and 10 pixels.)

B.  Choose the color of the stroke you want to create. It will default to the foreground color. If you want a color other than the foreground color, click on the color box and choose a color using the color picker. I chose a black stroke for the stroke outside my photo.

C.  Choose the location of the stroke you want to create. Your options are inside, center or outside. I chose “inside.” I find that if you choose “outside” that the corners won’t be as crisp and I like a crisp corner.

D.  Click OK.

That’s it. You’ve created a simple black stroke around the outside of your photo and along with the white stroke on top of the photo I think it adds a nice little extra punch, don’t you?

Here are some other ideas for adding a stroke for emphasis:

1. Add a black stroke immediately inside a framed photo. I like to do this on accent photos. On this page if you look closely you’ll notice I added a black stroke directly inside the white frame. Also, since I had a thicker frame, I contracted my selection just a little bit and added a gold stroke that showed up on top of my white frame.

2. When you add a stroke directly on top of the paper, as in my tutorial example, I like to play around with the blending modes so that the stroke interacts with the paper rather than floats on top of the paper.

3. Tilt your outside stroke to change things up a bit.

4. Create a stroke around a different shape. In this example I created a stroke inside AND outside the numbers I used to mask photos for a page celebrating my daughter’s birthday.

I just looked at my post and is it ever photo intensive! 🙂 As you can see, I’m a big fan of using simple strokes to add just a touch of pizzaz to my pages. I’ll look forward to perusing The Digital Press gallery to see how you use strokes on your pages!

Happy scrapping!

BarbaraAbout the Author:  Barbara is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s a mom to two adult “kids” (a 21 year old son and an 18 year old daughter). Seriously, when did that happen? She hasn’t gotten any older, really! In her free time (since her kids are adults, like it or not she has plenty of free time) she loves to tell her family’s stories through her scrapbook art, learn all she can about Photoshop and Lightroom, take photos, travel and hang out with her family. Life is good!

Hybrid How-To | Physical Layouts Using Multiple Photos

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog!  Today, I’m here to show you how to create a layout with multiple photos, using an example that I created to document my family’s Christmas Eve.

If you’ve followed my posts here on the blog in the past, you know that 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. This is why 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.

Using multiple photos on a hybrid layout can sometimes be difficult — but over time, I’ve found a trick. When I want to use more than one photo on a hybrid layout, I find that it’s actually easier to have a digital template as a starting point. 🙂

Isn’t that an easy tip? You might not think of using a digital template for a hybrid project… but it’s so helpful! You don’t have to overthink the design and you get to have more fun time playing with photos, papers, and elements. I really recomend you to give it a try. You won’t regret it!

For the my example layout today, I used two different digital products — a template from Meagan’s Creations’ Scrap the Halls Vol. 9, and the digital kit All Wrapped Up by Anita Designs.

So here’s how I used a digital template to create my actual physical page…

First, I started out by creating my page in Photoshop, using my digital template and the digital items that I planned to print out afterward. Here’s a look at the template I chose, before I began working with it…

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

After I have all of my items sized the way I want on my digital version of the layout, I separate each of the pieces (see next image, below right) into another document to use for printing and cutting. I like to save them all as a .JPG file, which I then use to print and fussy cut. Although I have a Silhouette Cameo, sometimes I simply fussy cut just because I love it!

As you can see in the next image, I actually duplicated some elements (tags, mainly). I often do this when I am prepping a hybrid layout — just because I like to have extras to add into my stash to have ready to use in the future.

Here are my pieces printed and ready to cut…

…and here’s a look at my embellishments after I cut them out…

After I have all my pieces cut out, I can put them back together on a physical 12×12 page and then add other physical elements, stamps, wood veneers, gingerbread man buttons (!), and some spray ink splatters, as shown here…

Here are a few close-up views, so you can get a better look at the fun hybrid elements I created…

Here are some more tips I use to bring the layout to life:

  • I use multiple kinds of adehsive in order to give dimension to the project; I use regular double-sided tape, as well as thicker foam tape to add some dimension to certain items.
  • I put the adhesive in the center of my tags and elements. Leaving their borders without adhesive, they can overlap each other  and not stay totally flat.
  • I like to use stamps to add texture.
  • In this case, when my page was almost done, I thought it needed more contrast… so I went back and stamped/cut the black holly stickers and the cute black-&-white angels.
  • I glued the holly stickers under my greens and, for the angels, I used foam tape. I think these new add ons make my layout pop.
  • And the final “cherries on top” are the physical supplies I added: gingerbread man buttons, wood stars, and also red and white twine.
  • I also couldn’t resist adding some gold splatters. I love using paint sprays/splatters to add some color and interest.
  • Finally, I love to make my journaling on little white paper strips.

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!


About 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 | Simplifying Yearly Album Projects

Happy New Year, scrappers! It’s time for another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series… and I’m here today to share a few easy tips for simplifying the process of creating an annual album (thus making it possible to stick with these long-term projects!).

As we embark on a new year, I know many ofus are planning on creating some sort of yearly pocket scrapbooking album. Whether you choose to do weekly or monthly layouts, it is important to think about setting yourself up to be successful for the whole year. Many times in the past, I have started out with grand plans to do a weekly pocket layout… only to get burned-out by the end of the second month due to over-complicating my layouts.

This year, though, I am going to try to simplify my weekly layouts in order to make it through the year and have a finished album as the clock strikes midnight and brings 2018 to a close. I thought I would share some of my simplification ideas with you, too, in case you are planning a similar project!

Yearly Pocket-Style Album Tips

1. Choose a few templates and reuse them throughout the year — I find that I sometimes spend as much time looking for templates as I do actually scrapping the layout. This year, I am going to try to stick to a few templates in order to speed up my scrapping. You can always rotate the templates if you need to mix things up a bit. A template collection makes this really easy! My all-time favorite pocket scrapping template collection is Laura Passage’s Project Twenty Fifteen Template Bundle. There are templates in there for so many different combinations and they are very versatile (including options for stitching).

2. Use one kit for multiple layouts — If I used a different kit for each weekly spread, I would spend a LOT of time sorting through papers, embellishments and cards. By using the same kit for multiple layouts, you can streamline the process of sorting through kits and simplify your scrapping. For example, for January, I might use a monthly kit like the amazing Monthly Chronicles | FROST for all of my January layouts. These types of kits give me plenty of choices, so that my layouts have variety but I am still only sorting through one kit per month

3. Schedule a set scrapping time for these layouts — I am going to do Monday-Sunday layouts, so I set a reminder in my calendar so that I remember to scrap my weekly spreads on Monday evenings. I find that getting behind stresses me out and then I am more likely to give up on my projects. By setting aside dedicated scrap time for these special layouts, I will stay up to date. Whether you are doing a weekly or monthly format, schedule time to complete your layouts to stay up to date.

4. Embrace the ‘less is more’ ideal — Don’t we want to use all those gorgeous embellishments and papers? But, it takes lots of time to get each one placed just right. Instead, try using a few favorite cards, papers, and elements and let your photos be the stars of the layouts. It will speed up the process and get those layouts complete in no time.

And finally, the one tip that I think is the most important…

5. Be flexible — Did you have a busy week and not take enough photos? Run out of time to do a layout one week or month? NO BIG DEAL! Forgive yourself and do what works. Maybe you combine two weeks together in one spread or just do a monthly layout instead if you feel like you are falling behind. Know that whatever you do to save those memories for your family is enough! Scrap whatever you can proudly!

I wish you a very happy 2018, and hope that you find success with your scrapping goals!

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

Tutorial Tuesday | Adding Your Handwriting to Digital Layouts

Hello, and welcome to the very first Tutorial Tuesday post of 2018, here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I am visiting the blog to share with you a really quick, simple, and fun (!) procedure for adding your own handwriting (or that of your children, other family members, friends, etc.) to your digital scrapbook pages.

It’s much quicker and easier than you’d think! Here’s a short 3-ish minute video to show you exactly how it’s done…

Yes, it’s really that easy! I hope you’ll give it a try.

Dawn Farias

About the Author  Dawn Farias is school teacher, a mom of 5, and the designer behind the Dawn by Design brand at The Digital Press. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.

Tutorial Tuesday | How to Use Alpha Sheets

Welcome to another edition of Tutorial Tuesday here on The Digital Press blog!

Today, I am going to show you how to use that full-page alpha sheet that comes with some digital products.  If you are not sure what I mean by that, I am referring to the .PNG file that contains ALL of the letters/numbers/punctuation in one place (as opposed to the individual .PNG files you sometimes get for each of those items).

Full alpha sheets are really simple to use, but it just takes a little knowledge of the tricks behind doing so. You’ve probably realized, over time, that if you simply try to click and drag a single letter over to your layout, you will end up getting ALL of the letters. But fear not! I’m here today to help you learn how to easily select and use just the letters/numbers you need.

So, lets get started…

Today, for this tutorial, I am using products by Dawn by Design. She has some lovely alphas to mix and match in your layouts, and many of those alphas include a full-page alpha sheet.

When I open the alpha sheet in Photoshop (PS), it looks like this:

You will notice that this is a .PNG file, which means it has a transparent background and the individual letters arranged across the canvas.

In order to arrange these letters into words on my layout, I will need to first select and copy individual letters. I can either drag the entire alphabet onto my layout and work from there, or I can copy individual letters from the original file and drag them over to my layout one at a time. Either way… in order to grab just ONE letter, first I have to select the letter I want to use. There are many ways to do this, but I will share with you some of the easier ways!

First, you are going to need to know how to use some of your selection tools… so let’s get familiar with the Marquee Tool, the Lasso Tool, and the Magic Wand Tool.

Here is how to use each one.

1. Marquee Tool — this is perhaps the easiest method, as you simply click and drag to draw out a box surrounding the letter you wish to select…

2. Lasso Tool — sometimes the letters are too close together to use the marquee tool easily.  In these instances, the lasso tool works wonders. I prefer to use the polygonal lasso, as I can control where the lines go.  You simply left-click to anchor a line into a point, and then click and drag to draw out a shape around the letter you want to use…

3. Magic Wand Tool — this one is a little trickier because there are more variables to consider, but some people prefer to use it. It is a good tool to use in really ornate (or messy) alphas, as well. To use the magic wand, you want to zoom in a bit on the letter you want to select. Then, using your little wand, click on the letter…

You should see the marching ants form around the letter. If you see marching ants on ALL of the letters, you will need to go up and check the box next to the word contiguous. This constrains the selection to pixels that touch each other…

Whichever method you chose, you should now have your letter selected. At this point, you can simply hit Control-J (or Command-J for Mac users) and it will automatically copy your letter onto a new layer. Now, simply drag that layer over to where you want to place your letter…

Repeat this for each letter you need to use on your layout.

And there you have it! Now you know exactly how to handle those full alpha sheets like a pro!

The beautiful thing with using these full sheets is that instead of having to go back into to your folders and open a new letter file for each letter  you need, you can simply open this one file and select the letters you need as you form your words. This will save you time, and it will save your computer from having to switch back and forth all the time.

And just for fun, here is the layout I made using Dawn’s Sophisticate Kit and San Serif Stamp Alphas, I also used Legacy Templates from Calista’s Stuff…

Now go give it a try, yourself, and show us in the gallery all of your beautiful pages!

Erin 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!