a little lesson

I've had a few people ask me how I blend my photos so I thought I'd put together a small tutorial for anyone who's interested.  I should qualify this by saying that I know very little about the technical names and so some of the names I use are bound to be wrong.  A lot of what I've learnt has come from trial and error and reading around the internet.  I also did a wonderful introductory e-course on Photoshop/Photoshop Elements called 'the skinny' by Kim Klassen.  This gave me the basics and the confidence to play around with Photoshop on my own - it's a wonderful course and I would recommend anyone wanting to learn how to find their way around these programs to take the class next time she is running it.  

And now onto the lesson:

Some general remarks: This little lesson is Photoshop specific, but I think it could probably be applied to photoshop elements as well.  It relies on you having a basic command of these programs to follow along.  If you have any questions, send me an email and I'll try to help out.

As a rule I think if you're going to blend photos you're better off starting with a fairly uncomplicated photo, with a chunk of foreground or background to play with.  Landscape photos or a simple still life are  good places to start.

Step One - Spruce up your photo: I'm going to leave this part up to you.  I generally copy my background image and adjust the 'levels' a bit until I'm happy.

Adding the first photo: The first thing you need to to is select the foreground with the Quick Selection Tool and create a new layer from this selection.  
- Open the image you want to blend into the foreground (I found a map on the internet).
- With your cursor button selected, drag the map onto your photo and adjust the size so that it extends over the foreground.
- Attach the map to your forground layer (you achieve this with the option key and the mouse hovering over between the two layers).
- Now is the fun bit...  Play around with the 'light' options (overlay, screen, soft light are good places to start) and the opacity until you are happy with the way the image looks.

Adding text: Create a new text layer and copy and paste (or type) some text of your liking.  
- Play around with the 'light' options and opacity until you like the way the text looks.  
- In this photo I also erased some of the text to get less severe look, but this is a personal preference

Ta-Da! Finished.  You can keep going and add more, introduce some texture, add a vintage effect - let the creative juices fly.  If I was going to keep going with this picture I'd probably end up decreasing either the writing or the map as I think it looks a bit busy at the moment and maybe bring the whole piece together with some kind of textured overlay.  

I hope this has been at least a little bit helpful to the people who emailed and asked.  If you have any other questions, just send me an email or post a comment


Divas and dreams photography blog said...

Wow, what a great lesson dear!!! I´m sure you will make many happy with this one!! Very good inspiration!

Have a fantastic day sweetie :-)

Stella said...

cool! Now I just need photoshop!

Anonymous said...

I want a real time lesson when you're home in November! Roll on but in the mean time it has to get WARMER! We haven' had a winter like this for ages. Can you beleive the water restrictions are about to be lifted! SB

Diana Mieczan said...

That is one great lesson..I am going to try this for sure! Thanks so much:)
Have a great day

Ashley Sisk said...

Thank you for the brief lesson...it's not too far removed from what I do already so I'll keep playing with it.

Silver Strands said...

Thanks for the tutorial ... but I'll just say that I think the real talent is your eye for what looks good with what! LOVE checking out your blog :)

Karli said...

This is FANTASTIC!!! I love it, and I've never tried anything like it. I really know so little about Photoshop; I wasn't aware how to do the selection tool thingy to select the foreground...so you just add the map to that part. OK...I kind of get it! If you'd ever like to... feel free to include a tutorial anytime if you link up for touch-up Tuesday, because people would love this! (No pressure, you totally don't have to...but just know I wouldn't mind at all). This is wonderful! Very interesting and something I've never done!

Mandy [Mandy's Yellow Corner] said...

Thanks for sharing! It's definitely a really cool effect! :]

Adeena said...

Really cool! I'll have to try it sometime. :)

cindy said...

i've never done that, but your tutorial makes it seem so easy. thank you for taking the time to show us and i love the end result in yours.

Jamie said...

So cool! I finally figured out textures a bit over the weekend (again with the help of Kim K.) Now I can't wait to give you tutorial a try!

its simple love said...

Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!


Anika said...

Great lesson! Thanks!!
You have a new follower in me, great blog! Beautiful work.