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.
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.
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
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.
Check the boxes for building Smart Previews and don’t import suspected duplicates in File Handling panel.
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
Build Smart Preview upon import.
Or build after by going to the Library drop down menu, selecting Previews and then “Build Smart Previews”.
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
Add keywords to photos after importing them. Use the shift key to select those needing the same keyword.
Choose from a Keyword Set; sets are created with keywords most frequently used, i.e. immediate family.
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
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
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
Save pages created in Photoshop to folders on an external drive.
Import, (choose Add on the Import screen), pages and check the box for “Build Smart Previews, but do not rename the layouts.
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.
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.
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 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.