Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

In the End

There are times when a photo reminds me of something; I make a connection to something else. For example, I captured this photo in February while at the Japanese Tea House at the Huntington Library with my sister. The lack of clutter brings a feeling of calm. On this annual visit, I always resolve to find something else to throw out when I get home. This year we talked about two different authors on the idea of organization and decluttering.

I’m not sure which method for organization I like better: Marie Kondo’s idea to keep only what brings one joy or Margareta Magnusson’s Swedish death cleaning. I have rolled my t-shirts, socks and underwear per the Kondo method. My drawers do look nice that way; I guess that is a form of joy.

However, at my age, I think I might find more joy in Magnusson’s concept of death cleaning: getting rid of the abundance rather than leaving a mess for family to deal with after my death. I resized my birth stone ring for my daughter last Christmas. Her joy was priceless; the ring valuable to her. Yes, I am the type that finds joy in the process of decluttering, remembering what’s valuable and letting go of the rest.

Below are the details for how I created this page.

Clip Photo to Mask

Vertical photos don’t alway fit masks. Sometimes, I adjust the mask, but at other times I adjust the photo.

  • Place the layers of .psd file 4 from UrbanThreadz FotoBlendz No. 3 on a new blank document.
  • Clip a copy of the photo to the FotoBlendz mask.
  • Duplicate the photo and place above the original photo. Adjust the position so that it covers the left edge of the mask that wasn’t quite covered.
  • Attach an inverted mask and bring back in just enough of the color to fill the mask.
Place Transfer
  • Turn on the layers of the frame set.
  • Place Transfer 1 from ArtPlay Palette Ochre below the photo and frame layers.
Build Background
  • Place Transfer 4 on the left side.
  • Place Overlay 1 on the right side.
  • Above the Overlay, place Artstroke 2.
Embellish
Add Journaling and Title
  • Place word art from Onward WordART Mix No. 1 on the right side.
  • Place At Once word art from Onward WordART Mix No. 1 below the title and reduce the opacity to
  • Create two text boxes for journaling, placing one above and one below the title.
  • Add subtitle “Inspiration”.

If your photo doesn’t quite fit a mask, there are multiple ways to fix the problem. Shifting the position and masking a second photo is one way.

Little Lime Hydrangeas

Three years ago, I was looking for some hydrangeas that would live through the cold winters in Nebraska better than the Endless Summer variety I had grown in my yard until all but two died. I found this variety: Little Lime. The plants are no longer little but this green bloom changes to a beautiful rose color in the fall. And they live through long cold winters.

My hydrangeas are in full bloom right now, so I went out with my Fuji XT-3 and 60mm f/2.4 macro lens. In order to deal with a mild breeze, I set my shutter speed to 1000, put the ISO on 800 and placed the aperture at 2.4 so that I could blur the background. With my arms tucked close into my sides and patience, I captured some fairly sharp photos even with the large aperture.

As much as I love my little camera, including a very sharp LCD display, I went inside to upload the photos for viewing on my computer screen. I reviewed and then went back outside to photograph again and again, changing my angle and waiting for the still moments.

Template

Initially, I had already chosen a different template from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2L to print and display my photos. I changed my mind. I decided to use template 8 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2L.

  • Open template 8 and place on a new blank layout.
  • Reduce the size to 85%.
  • Enlarge the mask on on the top left by dragging to the right.
  • Delete the mask to the right.

Note: At some point I will publish a book of flowers, all using the format of FotoInspired Templates. I have already completed nine pages.

Photos
  • Adjust Clarity and Saturation on photos in Lightroom to sharpen just a little. No other adjustments were made.
  • Clip the photos to masks, adjusting size and focusing on details.
  • Below the text, clip a blurred portion of a photo and place Transfer 5 from ArtPlay Palette Summer Days above it.

Note: I captured the photo on the right side of this 24×12 page on a white board on my deck where the lighting was different.

Add Color with Transfers
  • Place Transfer 4 from ArtPlay Palette Summer Breeze on the right.
  • Use the warp tool to arrange.
  • Duplicate the transfer, flip horizontally and place on the left side of the template.
  • Warp again.
Adapt MultiMedia
  • Open .psd file 2 of MultiMedia Spring No. 3. Place below the template layers on the right side.
  • Delete the flowers.
  • Recolor paint layers to blend with leaves in photos.
  • Erase lines as needed.
  • Above the template layers, place three copies of the brown art strokes and angle as desired.
  • Duplicate layers, placing set on the left.
Place Splatters
  • Place a copy of the splatter from ArtPlay Mountain High on the right below the leaf but above the green transfer.
  • On the left, rotate a copy of the splatter and arrange it on the left so that it looks different from the right side.
Embellish

I’m definitely going to have to create another page in the fall when the color of these hydrangeas changes.

A Simple Story

I’ve been vacationing with family, remembering old memories and making some new ones. Five years is a long time in the life of a little boy. Corbin began asking about returning to Wisconsin Dells just after Christmas this year. It’s a simple story that he remembered, feeding and petting the deer. Corbin added to his stories about Wisconsin Dells this year, a new memory of riding on a big tube behind a boat, something he wasn’t big enough to do five years ago. I’ll have to add that new story to another book.

On this page, I used the things I love: the clean look of a white background, photos clipped to FotoBlendz masks and simple designs.

Clip Photo to Mask
Build Background
  • Below the mask, place the Silver Paint from ArtPlay Palette Axiom.
  • Next stamp brush 9 in black and position on the top right. Change the blend mode to Linear Blend at 75%.
  • Stamp brush 6 on the top left and change the blend mode to Linear Burn at 100% opacity.
  • Stamp brush 9 in a larger size on the lower left. Change the blend mode to Linear Burn and reduce the opacity to 75%.
  • Below brush layers, place Transfer 2 from ArtPlay Palette Axiom.
Add Overlays
  • Positon Splatter Overlay 1 below the photo layers.
  • On the left, place Overlay 1. Duplicate the layer and change the blend mode to Overlay so that it will show up better on the light background.
Use Brush to Create Second Focal Area
  • Drag the .png version of brush 5 from NoteBook No. 4. Reduce the size and position just above the photo layers.
  • Place FotoBlendz 8, available in the AnnaRelease 26 July 2019. Reduce the size to fit the notebook page.
  • Clip older photo to the mask.

Note: I used the warp tool to adjust the mask to fit my photo.

Add Journaling, Button, Thread and Dates
  • Write journaling. Tilt to follow the angle of the notebook brush.
  • Place “story” file from Axiom WordART Mix No. 1.
  • Below that, place “beautifully simple” file.
  • Then place the word transfer Axiom file. Change the blend mode to Darken at 50% opacity.
  • Place the Dark Blue Button from ArtPlay Palette Axiom.
  • Tack it down with thread 9 from Knotted UrbanThreadz No. 1.

Simple pages that tell a story are my favorites.

Up Not Down

Every Wednesday, I have a play date with Kate. She takes the lead on these afternoons. First she decides where we are going to lunch, often Chick-fil-A or McDonalds. Sometimes we paint, build with Legos, go to the park or read. Today we walked up to the school playground. If you have the strength, climbing up poles is just as easy as sliding down. I captured these shots with my iPhone as I sat under the equipment in the shade.

Choose a Template

Since all of the shots were vertical, I chose vertical template 7 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2K to help me get started. Then I made some adjustments.

  • Reduce the size of all template layers to 85%.
  • Lengthen three masks and eliminated the others.
  • Move the frame, staples and shadow on the right.
  • Adjust the size of the tags on both frames to accommodate photos.
Create Background
  • Reduce the size of paper 7 from ArtPlay Palette Playout to 85%
  • Duplicate paper twice.
  • Clip a copy to each mask and adjust position.

Note: This paper is from a retired ArtPlay Palette, but any other blue will work to mimic the sky.

Extract Subject
  • Use the Quick Selection Tool to extract the little pole climber.
  • Place one extraction over each mask.
  • Give each extraction a custom shadow.

Note: I changed the size of the second and third extractions to accommodate not only the third photo but also the photo I wanted in the frame on the right. I adjusted photos in Lightroom before exporting to Photoshop CC 2019. Inside Photoshop, I added Levels Adjustment Layers as needed.

Use Brushes
  • Load Park Play No. 1 into the Brush Panel.
  • Create three new blank layers.
  • Stamp brushes 2, 6 and 9 each on a separate layer in a dark gray.
  • Change the blend mode of each to Linear Light at 100%.
  • Adjust position and mask any parts necessary to recreate the look of playground equipment.
Add Splatters and Stitching
  • Load Splatters No. 6 into the Brush Panel.
  • Stamp in a dark gray brushes 3, 4, 5 and 13 on separate layers.
  • Place stitch 3 from UrbanStitchez No. 9 above the splatters to ground extracted foot.

My little climber is going to love these photos; I know I enjoyed capturing her climb on our play date. I’m still not sure how she held on long enough with one foot on the pole and the other against the equipment for me to capture that shot on the lower left.

A Photo and Artsy Transfers

There is a pond on the greenbelt behind our house. Periodically, I’ll see ducks or geese swimming on the water. Then I walk out to capture them with my camera, near sunset for these ducks. I like that I gave can give our simple pond an artsy look with a few Artsy Transfers. Below I share how I masked the photo and created the background.

Blend and Mask
  • Duplicate the photo and place on Solid Paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Evenfall.
  • Add layer mask to a copy of the photo and stamp with brush 9 from ArtPlay Palette Evenfall.
  • Add layer mask to a second copy of the photo and stamp with white on a inverted layer mask with brush 10 from ArtPlay Palette Evenfall.
  • In Topaz Studio, apply a watercolor filter to another copy. Reduce the opacity to 50%.
  • Place another copy of the original photo above these layers on Normal blend mode and change the opacity to 50%.

Note: I adjusted the white balance of this .jpeg with the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop.

Artsy Transfers
  • Place the layers of file 4 from Artsy Transfers Evenfall below the photo layers.
  • Below file 4 place the layers of transfer 2.

Note: I deleted two of the layers and added a layer mask to one to hide part of that layer.

  • Below those layers place transfer 8 from ArtPlay Palette Evenfall and reduce the size to 85%.
Embellish

This is a favorite photo of some ducks swimming in the pond, but I love the artsy look with my new background!

Three Ideas for Brushes

Bill remembers that his grandfather was 13 years older than his grandmother, definitely a man of the 19th century, meaning the woman was expected to do everything. His grandmother hated her middle name (Garfield after a President) and the pipe his grandfather smoked. She’d say when Samuel retired, he retired. Families are complicated aren’t they.

After initially losing this entire file on Wednesday, I started again, challenging myself to practice distinct ways for using brushes and at the same time, make it easier for myself. The time was well spent in my mind.

Extract and Mask
Stamp Brushes on Inverted Layer Masks

Rather than bring back in the entire background on one inverted layer mask attached to a photo, I think it is easier to see what’s happening to the photo on a page by using different brushes on different layers.

  • Duplicate the photo and add an inverted layer mask.
  • On each layer mask stamp a brush with the foreground color on white.

Note: On this page I used brushes from ArtPlay Palette Patriarch and the bonus brushes included with the full release, Anna Release 7 June 2019 on the multiple layer masks.

Place Overlays and Artsy Transfers

Note: I moved the transfer layers around to provide color and texture where I needed them, i.e. grounding the couple.

Place Frames
Stamp Brushes on New Blank Layers

Stamping a brush on a new layer makes it easier to adjust the position of each brush while adding texture and interest below frames.

  • Create a new layer below the frames and stamp brush 9 just below the frames.
  • Create new layers for each brush: brushes 16, 17 and 18, available in the Anna Release 7 June 2019.
Duplicate, Enlarge and Arrange Extracted Couple
  • Duplicate the layer of the extracted couple twice.
  • Move it down in the layers panel.
  • On one copy, add a layer mask and hide one person using a brush with the foreground color on white.
  • Repeat for the second copy, masking out the other person.
  • Reduce the opacity of both to 25% on Darken blend mode.
  • Rearrange both layers as desired.

Note: In order to darken one part, I stamped brush 4 on a new blank layer. Then I merged the two extractions to create one copy and clipped that to the brush layer.

Add Title and Journaling
  • Use two fonts to create a title; I used Hello Sunshine and Hello Sunshine Marker again on this page.
  • Finish journaling.

Note: The text boxes I used for my journaling are from the same file with the small frames: WaterColor Template Album No. 6.

My self-challenge for this page was to practice distinct ways for using brushes and at the same time, make it easier for myself. As I explained in a previous post, I initially stamped the brushes on one blank layer just so that I could see what they looked like. From that sample layer, I decided which brushes I wanted to use. I used brushes in three different ways on this page.

  • Stamp brushes on layer masks clipped to multiple photo layers.
  • Stamp brushes on new blank layers to add interest below small frames.
  • Use a brush as a mask by stamping it on a new layer and then clipping a photo to the brush.

I challenge you to experiment with brushes and find ways that make it easier for yourself.

Peonies

Every Memorial Day my Sarah Bernhart Peonies bloom. This year I grabbed my camera and walked out to capture the blooms in the early morning light. Then this afternoon, I went out again to cut some for a bouquet. I love these flowers. I will cut the new blooms each day while I have them, but I wish that they lasted longer than a week. They are spectacular blooms. So when those buds start appearing, I’m out in the yard practicing with my camera, an art medium that I’ve been neglecting recently.

Place Photograph and Template Layers
  • Create a new 24×12 inch document in Photoshop
  • Select a focal photo and size it to fit one side.
  • Drag the layers of template 4 from FotoInspired Template Pack 2J.
  • Reduce the size of all layers to 85%.
Place Paper
  • Place solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Rougir on the left side just above the large photo.
  • Add another copy of the paper but flip it so that the flowers are on the left.
  • Add a layer mask to the second copy of the paper.
  • Use an AnnaBlendz Artsy brush to mask out all but the flowers of that paper layer.
  • Add a Color Overlay from the FX panel at the bottom of the layers panel. Select a darker pink from the photo and change the blend mode to Color.
Clip Photographs to Small Masks
  • Clip photos to small masks.
  • Add Adjustment Layers as needed.

Note: I adjusted the white balance on the photos that I shot on my deck in the afternoon light. I clipped Levels Adjustment Layers on Soft Light blend mode to most of the photos.

Add Artsy Transfers
  • Place the layers of Transfer 1 from Artsy Transfers Rougir above the paper layers but under the double frame at the bottom of the template. Delete two transfer layers and dark splatters and art stroke. Adjust position.
  • Place the the layers of Transfer 3 below the masks on the left side of the template. Position and delete layers as desired.

Note: I added a Color Overlay to a stain in Transfer 1 and a transfer in Transfer 3 to coordinate with my photos.

Add a Button
  • Add a button and thread for dimension.
  • Give the button a shadow.

I had wonderful light as it rose above the roofs when I went out with my camera about six o’clock in the morning. There wasn’t even much wind, something we don’t get often in a prairie state like Nebraska. By the afternoon, the wind was blowing again, but I found a protected area with good indirect light on my deck. I placed a piece of white board on the table and used with my small macro lens to capture different arrangements of the blooms that I had cut before putting them in a vase to bring inside.

The hardest part of this page was deciding which photos best told the story about photographing my peonies. Looking through my photographs in Lightroom, I can see some changes that I need to make for better photographs next time. Unfortunately, as I look out the window, my poor peonies are bent to the ground with all the rain and wind we’ve had over the last two days. I could bring some in to photograph, but the time to capture them outdoors is over for this year.

I encourage you to play with your camera and some flowers both outside and indoors. Then create a page using one of Anna’s FotoInspired Templates. I will add this page to the other pages that I’ve created for a book with my flower photography.

Add a Sketch to a Mask

I like the artsy look of a sketch placed above a photo, especially combined with texture in FotoBlendz masks. While I have used Find Edges under Stylize in the Filter drop down menu, I don’t like the weight of the lines. So I’m experimenting again with different techniques for creating a sketch from photo. Below is the simplest version for creating a sketch that I know.

Start with a Photo
  • Place photo on new 12×12 blank document in Photoshop.
  • Resize photo.
Apply a Filter to Create Sketch
  • Open the Filter Gallery from the Filter drop down menu in Photoshop.
  • Choose Photocopy from the menu.
  • Adjust the settings and click ok to apply.
  • Turn off sketch.
Clip Photo to FotoBlendz Mask
  • Clip original photo to mask 6 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 15.
  • Clip Levels adjustment layer to photo and change blend mode to Soft Light at 100%.
Adjust Blend Mode and Opacity
  • Turn on sketch and clip to Fotoblendz mask layer.
  • Change blend mode to Multiply at 50%.
Paper
Cluster

I have another sketch technique that I’m experimenting with that I hope to share in the next few weeks, something I’m trying to simplify within one Photoshop file. I really do like the lines created from a sketch with the texture in a mask like the one I used on this paper.

A Template and an Old Photo

Relationships with older fathers are not always easy to describe, especially by their sons. My husband remembers his father telling stories about hopping trains around the country as a young man. The photos tell another story, but there aren’t many words on this page. From my husband’s perspective it’s enough; I’m smiling as I call the page done.

I am still working on the other side of this double page spread, using photos about my husband’s mother. As I near the end of my anniversary project, I am relying on templates to get me started.

Place Layers of Template
  • Drag layers of template 5 from Travel Album Template No. 5 on to a new blank 24×12 in Photoshop document.
  • Turn off the postage stamp layer and small frames.
Use a Heritage Photo
  • Drag an old photo below the template’s small frames but above the the fotoblendz mask.
  • Resize as needed.
Extract Around the Frame
  • Use the Quick Selection tool to extract the framed portion of the photo.
  • Clean up edges with the Magic Wand tool.
  • Add a shadow to the framed photo.
Artsy Transfer and Small Frames
  • Below the extracted frame but above the fotoblendz layer place the layers psd file 1 from Artsy Transfers Airy.
  • Clip photos to the small frames and add adjustment layers as needed.
  • To each small photo mask add a 20px white stroke.
Add Texture and an Element
  • Below the photo on the top right, place Overlay 2 and the Gold Paint from ArtPlay Palette Airy.
  • Place the Tape from ArtPlay Palette Airy just below the Gold Paint.
  • Below the bottom photo, place another copy of the Tape.
  • Add the Daisy, warp the stem a little and tuck below the top frame.

One wouldn’t expect that a travel template would work for an old photo, but in this case placing the layers from an artsy transfer file below the old photo creates a soft and modern background. I encourage you to try using your old photos with modern templates.

Engagement

This two page spread tells the story of our engagement, another page for my anniversary project. I shared details about how I constructed the left side as part of a video event with Anna Aspnes, ARTPLAY LIVE 2019, available in Anna’s Store. Today I want to share a brief overview of the right side which uses some of the same techniques for using transfers and adapting templates that I shared at the event.

Place and Adjust FotoBlendz Mask
  • Place file 4 from Autumn Romance FotoBlendz Mask No. 1.
  • Clip a photo to the mask.
  • Add a layer mask to the fotoblendz layer and adjust to with a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy to accommodate the photo shape and edges.
Add Transfers to Text
  • Copy text from newspaper announcement and add a title.
  • Place Transfer 6 from ArtPlay Palette Sashay above the text.
  • Align along the left edge Overlay 1 and Transfer 3.

Note: Just below the text box I stamped on a new blank layer with a soft round brush in white. Then I reduced the opacity just enough to make the text more visible against the photo.

Use Transfers to Soften the Edge of the Masked Photo
  • Open and place the layers from file 4 of Artsy Transfers Sashay just below the masked photo.
  • Adjust position of each layer to soften the abrupt line of the photo.

Note: I deleted three layers that didn’t fit with my photo.

Place Small Frames and Clip Photos
  • Place the threads, frames, masks and shadows from file 13 in WaterColor Template Album No. 7.
  • Turn off the frames and add a 20px white stroke to each mask.
  • Clip photos to masks.
  • Add adjustment layers as needed.
  • Clip a 4×6 file from ArtsyKardz Sashay MultiPack No. 1 to one of the small frames, reducing the size of the file to fit the mask on the top right.

Note: I added a Black and White Adjustment Layer to one photo. The other adjustment layers were all on Soft Light, the opacity varied depending on the photo.

I am almost finished with this project and looking forward to publishing soon. It’s taken time to sort the photos, decide which stories I wanted to write and create the layouts. If you want to create your own book, there are lots of tips and more information available on Anna’s Blog and in her classes. I encourage you to explore the opportunities.

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