a layout before and after - photo tutorial


Today, I want to share with you my tips for editing scrapbook pages. I know it's quite a problem for some of you and I recived lots of questions how I make my layouts look so bright, white and colorfull in the same time ;) (btw - thanks for all your lovely comments about it!).

For my Polish readers - please visit Color Hills blog, where you will find a polish version as well :)

Don't think that you have to have an expensive DLSR camera with a very bright lense because the equipment isn't everything! Also don't tell yourself that you can snap a bad photo and than you will work magic on it in editing software.. but let's start from the beginning!

To make your layout look great in picture you need to find a bright place to take a photo of it. Have a look around your home and pick a place where you can find a lot of natural light. It could be a desk by the window or floor next to the balcony door. Just remember, don't let the direct sunlight to hit on your page! Place your layout on white background- it could be a sheet of paper, piece of fabric, table cloth, stand above it and snap a photo- just remember not to cover your light source, you want to avoid any shadows laying on your page.

I have some more technical tips for you:
- most of the times setting the white balance on ''cloud'' mode will give you nice and warm image, but if the photograph comes too yellowish change the setting to ''sun'' mode
- remember that you can manually set the exposition (the amount of light) - it's a zip which you can slide from -3 to +3, I usually leave it on +1
- try to set the lowest ISO possible, it'll help you to avoid noises and grain in the picture. Of course when the days are dark and gloomy it might be tricky, set the ISO to max 400 and take a quick series of photographs- one of them should be sharp
- the apperture setting depends on the lense you use. I take most of my photos with bright Canon lens (50 mm f/1.8) so I close my aperture to f/5.6 to get a sharp image. If you use the lens from your kit (18-55mm) or other zoom lenses try to set the lowest aperture possible like f/3.6
- never ever use flash!

Once you are done with photographing, open your images in photo editing software. If you don't have Photoshop I can recommend you it's free substitute- GIMP, which you can legally download from the Internet.

So, this is my picture I opened in my Photoshop CS5. It doesn't look impressive, does it? ;)

 First, I crop it to square:

My first step in editing is to edit curves. It will helps you get a nice, white background.

Then I try yo play with more/less brightness and contrast.

 You can do it also with exposure (but I prefer to make it on my camera, while I take a photo). I recomend you to go and play with most of this settings by yourself - everyone has his own "idea" how the page should looks like.

My last step is to resize my photo.

I always make it 840x840 px - it suits my blog size.

 So, here is my picture before:

 And my final effect:

 Some details:

I hope you liked my tips and I wish it will help you with improving your photos :)


  1. Thanks for this insight in your work process. Yes, editing makes all the difference... the before-after-difference is amazing. Warm regards, Sandra

  2. Thanks for sharing it! They are a good tips! ;)

  3. OMG!!! At last!! Thank you so much for the wonderful tips and for sharing your brilliant work....I am totally inspired and have been snapping away and the photos look amazing....and it's the evening!! I can NOT wait for the daylight. What is even better is that my cousin is getting married on Saturday and now I will be able to present her with a scrapbook album full of beautiful photos....thank you, thank you, thank you x You really have no idea how much this means to me....although you may be starting to realise after all my gushing!!! LOL