Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Merry Christmas

This photo of us sitting on our fireplace has become a tradition on Christmas. I looked back in my photo collection to find exactly when I began asking for a photo with grandchildren on Christmas. The first photo together sitting on the fireplace was in 2013. Five years seems like such a short time to me, but the photos tell the story of how much they have changed. I enjoy these little Christmas moments.

I began this page by placing solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Silver Bells on a new 12×12 inch document. I changed the opacity of the paper to 80% on normal to lighten the color. I then placed transfer 4 from the artplay palette over the same image on the paper to bring the color of that part to full strength.

On the left, I placed transfers 2 and 8 from ArtPlay Palette Silver Bells to build a background for my photos.

I then placed two of the frames from ArtPlay Mini Palette Milestone above the transfers and enlarged them 25% vertically to accommodate my photos. I recreated the white frames with a 20px white stroke positioned inside the rectangular shape mask shape. I clipped the two photos to the frames and added the date each was captured.

Note: I gave the photos a black and white look in Topaz Studio.

I then placed the red heart, evergreen and word art from file 1 of MultiMedia Frames No. 5. I added a silver color overlay to the word Love at 100% on Color blend mode at 100%.

Finally, I added journaling.

I didn’t even notice until now that the kids are in about the same position this year as they were in 2013. I didn’t plan it: I just wanted to continue the tradition one more year.

Organizing for Projects with Lightroom

Creating artsy digital pages with photos and Anna Aspnes’ designs requires organization, especially for book projects. I use Lightroom to organize and edit my photos before exporting them to Photoshop for use on my digital scrapbook pages or the pages I create for books. I share below how I organize for my projects within Lightroom, but keep in mind that there are lots of ways to organize in Lightroom. Below are a few highlights of my system.

Import Photos into Lightroom

  1. Select Copy photos from camera to external hard drive at the top of the import screen. Select move photos for scans or photos located on your hard drive.
  2. Check the boxes for building Smart Previews and don’t import suspected duplicates in File Handling panel.
  3. Rename files using the File Name Editor based on date.

Note: My photos are currently stored on an external 4TB LaCie Rugged Mini. Renaming photos to their capture date and putting them in folders by year is the system that I started with in 2010 when I began using Lightroom. See the sample at the bottom of the File Renaming panel. Save the steps you use for importing your photos as a preset in the drop down menu at the bottom of the screen to speed up the process.

Add Smart Previews to Photos Stored on an External Drive

  1. Build Smart Preview upon import.
  2. Or build after by going to the Library drop down menu, selecting Previews and then “Build Smart Previews”.
  3. The small rectangle on the top right side of each photo grid indicates that a smart preview was build.

Note: When I stored my photos on my internal SSD drive, I didn’t need to build smart previews. Although it will take extra time to build smart previews when importing photos, those previews make it possible to tag, label and edit photos when the external drive is not connected. The information added to the catalog will write to the photos when the external drive is reconnected. All edits are non-destructive, meaning the original copy is not changed.

Develop a System for Adding Keywords to Photos

  1. Add keywords to photos after importing them. Use the shift key to select those needing the same keyword.
  2. Choose from a Keyword Set; sets are created with keywords most frequently used, i.e. immediate family.
  3. Or choose from Keyword List, a list in the panel on the left that might include for example, bokeh, lights, tree, etc. under Christmas.

Note: Adding keywords is a quick task now because I began using them in 2010, long before my photo collection was so large. Keywords are written to both jpeg and raw photo files. With time, I’ve refined my list, grouping them for ease of use. Lightroom rewrites keywords to your photos when you rearrange their hierarchy and saves any edits made in the Develop Module.

Use Filters to Find Photos for Pages

  1. Access filters by pressing the slash key in the Library module. Create filter presets with the most used criteria, i.e. date, keyword, flag, camera
  2. Search for photos to use on layouts by keyword and whether flagged.

Note: I searched for the photos that I used on the Christmas page for my anniversary book project by choosing specific dates and Christmas keywords. Once I located them, I flagged the ones I thought I would use by pressing P for pick. Those are the ones that I edited before exporting to Photoshop.

Add Digital Pages to Lightroom Catalog

  1. Save pages created in Photoshop to folders on an external drive.
  2. Import, (choose Add on the Import screen), pages and check the box for “Build Smart Previews, but do not rename the layouts.
  3. Add keywords to imported pages.

Note: My catalog also includes the pages that I am creating for my anniversary book project as well as the pages that I’ve created for other book projects. Each project is saved to a different folder.

Lightroom is a catalog of my collection of more than 100,000 photos and the layouts that I’ve created. It includes not only photos from several cameras but also scans of old negatives and photos. Having a database system like Lightroom for naming and storing photos, adding keywords and searching my photo collection allows me to focus on my creative process, combining my photos with Anna’s designs on artsy pages. Once a system is set up, maintenance is easy. Think of it as a habit that becomes easier with practice.

Note: If you have a photographer’s subscription through Adobe, you have access to Photoshop, Lightroom and Bridge. A number of free training videos are available through Adobe.

Santa’s Coming Soon

Friday afternoon, I spontaneously decided to drive to Lauritzen Gardens to capture the annual poinsettia display and maybe avoid the crowds. While the massive tree created from red poinsettias was still in the center of the room, there are always variations on how the staff displays the smaller Christmas trees, other varieties of poinsettias and the model trains running throughout. It was a great way to spend a few hours on a Friday afternoon.

It’s easy for me to capture the decorated trees and poinsettias. They don’t move. The little trains are another matter. I keep practicing. Notice the nice blur on the side of the caboose and behind the train. The focus is on Santa and the sign on the back of the caboose.

Camera settings: 55mm, 1/250 sec at f/4.0, ISO 1600.

While I don’t like the photo’s composition, I selected this photo for my layout because of the train’s angle and the amount of track showing on the right of the photo.

First, I placed solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Mistletoe on a new 12×12 document. Next, I sized and placed my photo before extracting the caboose with Santa and the track across the bottom of the layout.

Second, I placed the psd layers of file 3 from Evergreen Fotoblendz No. 2 and clipped linked copies of the same train photo to the layers.

Note: I deleted two of the mistletoe layers.

Next, I added silver paint 1 from ArtPlay Palette Mistletoe below the extraction along the top of the train. Above the extraction layer, I added a copy of the solid paper with an inverted layer mask. I brought back in just the silver edge on the left with a hard round brush. Above and below the paper, I placed two copies of silver paint 2. The top copy is on normal at 50% and the bottom copy 100% on normal with a color overlay.

To finish my page, I placed the psd file of branch 3 from MultiMedia Branches No. 12 along the top of the train. I added a title.

Note: I darkened the berries a little with a Hue and Saturation layer and masked out one white splatter.

I’d like to return to the gardens to practice capturing Santa clearly in focus with his caboose on the left. It’s not enough for a photographer to get the focal point clear, the composition also has to be good. That’s my goal!!

Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; celebrating the birth of Christ by exchanging gifts, decorating a tree, dinner with family, the music and the lights. As a child I remember a tree appearing on Christmas morning decorated with lights and strings of silver tinsel, but when I was older my dad would bring home a tree on Christmas Eve for us to decorate.

On our first Christmas, Bill and I decorated a tree with lights, round balls Bill’s mother gave us and silver tinsel. On the top we placed a little red angel, thinking that we’d have a collection of ornaments some day.

For these two layouts, I began by placing templates from Project Album Template No. 4 above solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Rejoice that I had clipped to the masks from Heritage Live template. On the left I placed the layers from template 15 and on the right I placed the layers of template 5. I turned off all but the fotoblendz masks from both templates.

I clipped my photos to the large fotoblendz masks but gave them each a sepia look with a Hue and Saturation layer. The color in my photos didn’t work well together.

Note: On the left I used the basic arrangement of the fotoblendz mask and text boxes, but on the right, I moved the mask to accommodate my overall page design.

Before deciding how to arrange the small photos that I wanted to include, I worked with layers from transfers 2, 4 and 5 of Artsy Transfers Rejoice. I placed all the layers for each psd file and began to turn off layers and move some around. On the right I used a combination of layers from psd files 4 and 5. On the left, I combined layers from psd files 2 and 4.

Next, I turned back on the frames on the left and deleted all but two square frames to accommodate the photo format of a Kodak Instamatic camera. On the right, I selected similar frames from those included in the template but moved them down below the fotoblendz mask. I clipped my photos to the small frames and added adjustment layers.

Note: I toned down the color in the two photos on the right by adding a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer for a sepia tone but reduced the opacity to 50%.

I filled the area to the left of the small frames on the right with two layers from transfer 4 of Artsy Transfers Rejoice.

To finish my layout I opened frame 3 from MultiMedia Frames No. 5 and placed only the deer included in the file on my layout. On the right, I used the heart, word art and branch from file 1 of MultiMedia Frames No. 5. I added the red and green paint from file 4. I completed my journaling, changing the size of one of the text boxes included with the template. With a title and a little more of the red and green paint, I finished my layout.

You may not be old enough to remember 1968, but gold was a very popular color. Anna’s new palette, ArtPlay Palette Rejoice, was perfect for remembering our first Christmas.

Summer 1970

We hadn’t been married two years when we volunteered to serve as leaders for a group of college students on a summer long trip to promote a singing group from our church, Van Nuys Baptist. We spent most of our time in the Philippines. I kept a journal in summer, 1970, handwritten pages tied together with yarn, filled with details about the Philippines: waking up to the sound of jeepneys, shopping for meat in open air markets, cooking in a pressure cooker, listening to the daily rain on a tin roof collected for cold showers, riding a bus out of the city, walking to a small village into a corn field to find a bathroom, laughing at our caribou ride, hearing Bill preach on David and Goliath in a little dirt floor church.The words tell a story not seen in these photos, my thoughts and feelings. Now that I think about it, summers before we had children, a detail about which Philippinos questioned us, are some of our best memories.

I continue to work on my heritage project, deciding which photos to include, what to write and simply remembering what it was like 50 years ago. It’s not as easy as I thought to create a page that conveys the essence of an experience in our early marriage. I took some time to think and plan before beginning this two page spread.

I began by reducing the size of templates 7 and 8 from Hipster Plume Album Template No. 2 to about 85% and placing them above solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Sage on the template provided in Heritage Live.

Note: I deleted the masks included with the template for the small photos. To each matte, I added a stroke style to keep the framing consistent through my project.

Next, I clipped a photo to each of the fotoblendz masks and some of the stains. I also extracted us from the photos and created a custom shadow.

Note: The photos on these pages are from old slides and required some work in Lightroom as well as adjustments in Photoshop.

On the left, I placed the layers from transfer 5 of Artsy Transfers Sage between the extraction and the photo copy clipped to the fotoblendz mask. I placed layers from transfer 1 below the cluster of frames on the far left. On the right, layers from transfer 4 of Artsy Transfers Sage are below both the extraction and the fotoblendz mask.

To accommodate one additional photo, I duplicated the square matte and shadow on the right and moved it to the place where the text box was originally. I gave the matte the same stroke style and clipped my photo to it.

Finally, I photographed the handwritten journal I kept that summer, reduced the size and gave it a shadow. I tucked it next to one of the small photos. I gave the gold yarn, a popular color then, it’s own custom shadow.

After rereading my journal, I decided that if my family wants more details about the summer of 1970, they can read my journal too.

As Simple as 1, 2, 3

Thanksgiving will be a little different for us this year, but I am so thankful for the constancy of fifty years with this man no matter what happens in life. This is one of the simplest layouts I’ve done and it came together so quickly. I love when that happens.

First, I opened .psd file of the frame included in ArtPlay Palette Epiphany and placed it toward the left above solid paper 1. I clipped photo to mask of frame and added an adjustment layer.

Note: ArtPlay Palette Epiphany will be released Friday.Second, I placed overlay 2, copper paint and transfer 3 below the framed photo.Third, I added a word art from Gratitude WordART Mix No 1 and journaling.Life gets hectic as the holidays approach. I’m very grateful for a few minutes to enjoy a little simple art play.

I Remember the Music

A few weeks ago, a cousin sent me the photo of the house in Dallas that my Grandfather and Grandmother Kennamer moved to in 1939. I have few memories of my grandfather, but I do remember his music. I remember dancing on his porch while he played Mockingbird Hill on his fiddle. Independent of a few photos, music is my strongest memory of my grandfather. The extraction above is from the last photo I have of him, taken in 1964. Below are the steps for creating this page.

Create a new blank document. Place file 1 from Luster FotoBlendz No. 1 on solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Luster.Clip the photo sketch to mask. Add Screen adjustment layers at 100%. Above the adjustment layer, place a duplicate of the original photo. Add an inverted mask and bring back in the roof. At the top of photo layers clipped to the mask, duplicate one more copy of the original photo on Pin Light blend mode at 50%. Place textures 3 and 6 from Paper Textures No. 1.

Note: I used a Lightroom preset by Studio Romy to create the sketch. I recolored the mask white so that I could change the blend mode of the sketch to multiply.Place transfers 1 and 6 from ArtPlay Palette Luster below the mask and photo layers.Above the fotoblendz mask and photo layers, extract subject with the Quick Selection tool from group photo. Give the extraction a custom shadow.Add a black and white adjustment layer to the photo. On the layer mask use a round brush to reveal the red bow tie and face. Above the black and white adjustment layer add an adjustment layer on Soft Light at 100%. Place musical instrument 6 of Instrumental No. 1 below the extraction. Give it a 1 px stroke. Place stitches 3 and 11 from UrbanStitchez No. 12 below the text box and extraction. Add title.On the left side, place the tag from ArtPlay Palette Luster. Add address of house. Add button from ArtPlay Palette Joyeux and a thread 6 from ButtonThreadz No. 3. Add text box and journaling.

I don’t have a photo, but I can see my grandfather standing on the porch and hear him playing his fiddle.

Color Challenge

This is the first layout that I have finished as part of the 100th Color Challenge with Anna Aspnes Designs. It’s all about red, black and white in combination with one of the quotes provided in the forum at Oscraps. I already had an idea for a photo when Kate and I walked to the park Saturday afternoon. Below are the steps for creating this page.

After extracting Kate and the play apparatus from four photos, I combined them to create one composite. I gave the composite a custom shadow.

Note: I made the black and white adjustments to the photos in Lightroom.

To color just part of the apparatus, I duplicated the composite and then used the Quick Selection tool to extract just the part I wanted red. I added a color overlay using the styles panel at the bottom of the layers panel.

To build a background, I placed brush 1 from Countryside No. 2 and brush 2 from Countryside No. 1 on the page below the extractions. I blended out part of the second brush with a layer mask.

To ground the play equipment, I added threads from UrbanThreadz No. 9 and three layers of stitching from UrbanStitchez Misc. No. 1.

The hardest part was scaling and combining the four extractions so that I could have a complete scene. That and adjusting to a new version of Photoshop CC. The rest was easy!

Start with a Brush

Sometimes all you need to begin a piece of art is just one brush as I share below.

Stamp brush 1 of San Francisco No. 1 on a new blank document.

Drag the frames, stitching and one text box from template 3 of Travel Album No. 4 on to the document above the brush.

Clip a photo to each mask. In this case I used just one photo, but changed the crop for each mask.

Below the brush place transfers 1, 3 and 4 from ArtPlay Mini Palette Harken.

Add heart and button from mini palette. Create title and write journaling.

Yes, I left my heart in San Francisco and I’d go back to see all the things I didn’t see.

Best Man

I can’t tell you how difficult it was to work with that old photo of my husband and his best man. I had to figure out how to correct the color and hide the photo crop and bland background. Stu and Bill have been friends for a long time; their parents had known each other for years. They both loved the outdoors: camping, fishing and hunting. That’s what gave me the idea to create an unexpected look for the background of them at our wedding. The guys were good sports when I asked them to recreate a wedding photo for our 50th anniversary.

To begin, I extracted my husband and his best man from the photo on the left. I gave the extraction a custom shadow. I placed the layers of file 13 from WaterColor Template Album No. 2 on the right side. On the left, I pulled the text box from page 1 of WaterColor Template Album 1. I moved one frame, duplicated another from the other side and changed the stitching.

Next, I extracted the guys from a photo I captured on our recent anniversary trip. I added a custom shadow.

I clipped some photos to the small frames and adjusted the exposure with adjustment layers.

To fill in the background on the right side, I placed layers of files 1 and 4 from Artsy Transfers Sonoma.

On the left, I placed transfer edge overlay 1 and transfer 4 from ArtPlay Palette Sonoma. In addition, I added artsy transfer layers to create a better edge for the old photo.

I am going to revise the journaling I think and try to find that photo of the red Mustang convertible.

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