2 Simple Techniques for Blending Photos on Digital Scrapbook Pages

Laura Vanderbeek and her family

Laura Vanderbeek and her family

Customize your digital scrapbook pages by blending in other photos or images. To create a cohesive look, select a few close-ups of those things that will not be taking center stage but will help to tell the story. Textures, outfit details, ripples, maps, and even rocks are all images that blend well with your focal photos.

"Cape Perpetua" scrapbook layout by Laura Vanderbeek for Creating Keepsakes magazine

Cape Perpetua by Laura Vanderbeek.


There are several ways to blend photos. I am going to share two different techniques I like to use to blend photos together. One uses a brush and a layers mask, while the other uses a lower opacity and the eraser tool. Let’s begin with option 1.

Option 1: Brush and Layers Mask

How to blend photos for digital scrapbooking, by Laura Vanderbeek for Creating Keepsakes magazine


1. Select the main photo. I chose to use a photo that my subject looked the best in.

2. Select a secondary photo to blend. Next I selected a photo that had a better shot of the fish he had caught and opened it in a separate document.

3. Select an area of the secondary photo and add it as a new layer. Here’s a close up of my secondary subject, a tiny fish. I made a selection around the fish (you can use either the Lasso or the Marquee tool), and then used the Move tool to drag and drop it onto the first photo as a separate layer (Layer 1).

4. Add a layer mask to Layer 1. With Layer 1 selected, click the Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette.

5. This is a close up of the Layer Mask button.

6. You can see your Fish Layer in the Layers Pallet.

7. And after you click the Layer Mask button it should look like this. Make sure you see the extra box around the Layer Mask thumbnail and not around the fish thumbnail.

How to blend photos for digital scrapbooking, by Laura Vanderbeek for Creating Keepsakes magazine


8. Open the Brush Tool menu.To blend the fish you’ll need to choose a brush to work with. You’ll find the Brush Tool menu in the Tools palette under the fly-out menu that holds the Brush tool, Pencil tool, and the Color Replacement tool.

9. Choose a soft brush from the Brush menu.

10. Set the hardness at 0%. We want to blend, not create hard lines, around the fish. A soft, feathered edge will help us do this.

11. Adjust the size of the brush to fit your needs. Every image is different, just choose a size that gives you flexibility without being too small.

12. Brush around the secondary image. You should see black appear in the Layer Mask thumbnail in the Layers palette. As you can see, when I brushed around the little fish, I created an oblong black shape in the layer mask.

13. If the Layer Mask thumbnail doesn’t show the outline, check to make sure black is the foreground color.

14. The secondary image is now blended with the primary image. Here you can see the fish blended in perfectly to the jar below.

Option 2: Opacity and Eraser Tool

Now let’s get started with Blending Option 2. You can easily do this in Photoshop and  any version of Photoshop Elements. I’m going to use my new photo combination as the focal image for this technique.

How to blend photos for digital scrapbooking, by Laura Vanderbeek for Creating Keepsakes magazine


15. Select the photo you plan to blend in over your primary photo. I chose a photo of a map.

16. Open your primary photo. Here is a copy of my blended photo complete with fish and all.

17. Add the secondary photo as a new layer and adjust the opacity. Adding the secondary photo as a new layer is as easy as using the Move tool to drag and drop it onto the primary photo. You can adjust the opacity to whatever level you like, although I usually shoot for somewhere between 20% and 60%. It really depends on how much you want to see and how much it will distract from the subject. This time I chose 30%.

18. Erase areas of the secondary photo to allow your primary photo to shine through. I grabbed an Eraser tool from the Tools palette, choosing one that has a soft feathered edge, and erased the map from his face and arms using the Eraser tool at 100% opacity. Next I erased around the subject and over the background using 50% opacity, and then touched up with 20% opacity.

Now you have a really fun photo that includes a great photo of the subject, the secondary subject, and a map of the area.  As you can see, enlarging this photo to take-up most of the room on a two-page spread creates a dramatic, eye-popping focal point.

Tony Grove Lake by Laura Vanderbeek.

Laura Vanderbeek

P.S. You’ll find yet another technique for blending photos on page 112 of Better Digitals Photos & Scrapbooking, a special issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine, along with plenty of other easy digital scrapbooking how-tos and digital photography tips. Would you like to win a copy? Leave a comment here telling us what digital technique you’d like to learn more about. From the comments received by Monday, September 24, at 9:00 am (MT), we’ll choose one winner to receive a copy of this fantastic special issue. Our international friends are welcome to participate in this giveaway.


Congratulations to our winner!

heaney says: I love digital scrapbooking as I will never run out of digital paper and the fact that I can adjust the elements until I am satisfied with the result without worrying of wastage. Hope to more about shadowing elements.

Watch for an email in your inbox with instructions on how to redeem your prize.


 

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12 Responses to 2 Simple Techniques for Blending Photos on Digital Scrapbook Pages

  1. Sheri K says:

    I’ve tried digital and failed miserably! I would love to learn “basics”–like how to start, what to do and how to become confident. I know I need to practice–just not sure how to start.

  2. Kim H says:

    Anything, I am not very good at the digital crafting. I like the hands on items alot better, than the point and click method. But love some of the effects you can create to use in traditional pages.

  3. heaney says:

    I love digital scrapbooking as I will never run out of digital paper and the fact that I can adjust the elements until I am satisfied with the result without worrying of wastage. Hope to more about shadowing elements.

  4. Steffanie S says:

    I would really like to lern how to cut unwanted things out of the background and fill naturally without it looking distorted. Also, how to add someone into a photo that was not originally there. I have tried both and just can’t make it look seamless. Maybe this special issue would help!

  5. Melinda Wilson says:

    I would love to learn more about changing colors on a photo.

  6. Lynda says:

    I’d like to learn how to digitally improve photos that aren’t so great.

  7. Karen Lingel says:

    How about techniques for removing double chins or wrinkles or making me look skinnier? (Lots skinnier.) Or adjusting the lighting. Sometimes my 2-year-old nephew will do something cute and I will whip out my phone camera and snap a picture without regard to lighting and shadows, and if only I could adjust the crummy lighting it would be a fabu picture.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win.
    Karen Lingel

  8. Pingback: CraftCrave | Blog | Scrapbooking Tutorials (large): Sunday, 23 Sep 2012

  9. tape says:

    I’d like to learn about using Curves to edit photos.

  10. Candy says:

    Layers…just seems to be my biggest point of confusion.

  11. Lisa P says:

    I can’t pick one technique cause I feel like I need the whole shabang! I tell you , every time I see a tutorial I learn something I had no idea could be done with my Elements. I need to take a class! Would love to win a copy and would put it to great use.

  12. Pingback: Digital Scrapbooking Technque and Tips | DailyCraft - Your Daily Dose of Arts & Crafts Tips, Projects, & Inspiration. Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, Scrapbooking, Card Making and more!

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