No one stood behind the counter as I signed my name on a paper for an evening photography class at Lauritzen Gardens early in September. What a wonderful experience to search for light in a late summer garden, especially on the warm yellows. Pretty, isn’t it. I’m going back in October for another evening class to see what’s blooming.

For me, Anna’s FotoInspired templates are perfect for my photos. All I need to do is clip my photos to the masks, adjust the exposure by adding level’s adjustment layers and then add a bit of paint and/or a multimedia flower to finish a page. I used template is from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2G for this page.

I’ve explained before how I clip my photos to the masks. I thought that for this post, I would share how I add adjustment layers to my photos. Rather than duplicate the photo, I clip a level’s adjustment layer to the photo. I do make basic adjustments for  color balance, whites, blacks, exposure, clarity and vibrance in Lightroom before exporting my photos to a layout. However, once I have all the photos together I often find that I need to refine the adjustments more so that all the photos work together on a page.

First, I press option (alt on PC) plus the icon for adding a new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer’s panel. I select levels and then a pop up window appears. In the space for name, I type the blend mode I want to use, in this case overlay. I check the box to clip it to the photo and choose the blend mode from the drop down menu at the bottom of the window. I adjust the opacity of the layer after pressing ok.

Note: I often add an overlay or soft light blend mode with a levels adjustment to increase the contrast on my photos.

For this photo I left the opacity at 100%.

Because the photo still looked a little dark, I again pressed option and the adjustment icon and chose levels again. This time, I chose screen blend mode in order to lighten the exposure. Yes, I could have done the same with the camera raw filter, but this is quick and adjustable.

For this photo, I reduced the opacity on the screen adjustment layer to 40%. In combination with the overlay adjustment layer, that seemed to be enough. I use the number keys to quickly adjust the opacity. This is the only photo on this page that needed an exposure adjustment.

To most of the other photos, I added an overlay adjustment layer. The opacity for these was set anywhere from 40 to 70% depending on how it looked. I pressed a number key to adjust.

To finish my page, I stamped splatters from Splatters No. 1 and paint from ArtsyPaint No. 9 on new blank layers. I placed the psd layers of file 5 from MultiMedia Spring No. 3, recoloring two layers of the petals and adjusting the opacity. I placed a transfer from ArtPlay Palette Sol behind my journaling and added a title.

FotoInspired templates are so easy to use and perfect for focusing on the photographs in a simple artsy way. I prefer adjustment layers because they use less memory than duplicating a photo layer. That keeps my file size smaller. I’ve just finished one more page for my flower book.

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