Quick Idea! Photo Titles

The days are starting to get shorter and a lot cooler around my part of the world. With that in mind, I wanted to make a scrapbook page about how much I love to spend time at home, enjoying simple things like slow cooking food and snuggling up on the couch with a hot cup of tea in hand.

I played with a few different designs, including a photoless page, but it felt like I needed a picture to represent my home. I didn’t want the photo to be the focal point of the page though, so I needed to find an idea to complete my layout. The page finally “clicked” for me when I clipped a photo taken out my front window during the winter to the best title word for my page – “Home”.

Here’s the final page:

I’m pretty happy about how it turned out!

Easy to Do

For the title, I selected the extra thick font Chunk Five, which is a free font and one of my absolute favourites for journaling and titles. It’s so versatile!

I typed the title in all caps on its own layer and adjusted the size so that it spanned almost all the way across the page, to make a statement. I also added a drop shadow to the text layer to give it dimension.

Then I opened my photo and clipped it to the text layer via Layer>Create Clipping Mask (or CTRL+ALT+G), as you can see highlighted in the layers palette below.

So simple and so effective! I hope this quick idea inspires some of you to try it out!

Text on a Selection in Photoshop Elements

Are you ready to discover one of the hidden gems in Photoshop Elements?

Imagine if you could just make your text go where ever you want it to, without having to upgrade to Photoshop and spend hours learning about the pen tool?

With Text on a Selection you can!

It’s simple to make your text follow any shape you can imagine.

  1. Click on the Type tool in the Tools panel. type-tool
  2. Choose Text On Selection tool in the Tool Options panel.
  3. On the image, create your selection by dragging the mouse over the area you want to select (see tip below for how to create a quick selection).
  4. Drag the Offset slider right to expand, or left to contract, your selection.This will give your text a bit of breathing room around the object you’ve selected.
  5. Once your selection is complete, click the green check mark icon to apply the selection.
  6. Move your mouse over the path and when it changes into an I-beam like this
    click the path and type your text.
  7. When you finish entering your text, click the Commit icon.

To make further adjustment to how your text follows the selection, double click on the text then:

  1. Hold down your Control key (Cmd key on a Mac) and drag the little X at the start of your line of text.
  2. Your mouse pointer will change to look like this: i-beam-arrow or this i-beam-arrow-right to show you which way the text will run.
  3. You can also edit any attributes, such as font size, just as you can with point or paragraph text.

Want the Quickest Way to Make a Perfect Selection?

Watch this video to see how Ctrl+Clicking on any layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel will create a selection for your text to follow in no time.

Learn more about creative ways to use text in Photoshop Elements by reading the other articles in this series:

PS Title graphics from Captured by Studio Blagovesta

Organize your supplies in just a couple hours

Is your hard drive filled to overflowing with gorgeous digital scrapbooking? If you struggle to find kits when you come to scrapping or get frustrated using the folder system, help is at hand.

Get Organized: Supplies takes your from a download folder overflowing with zip files, to a zen organized stash which you have designed to work hand in hand with the way you scrap. In five lessons, I show you how organizing doesn’t have to be time consuming or fussy.

After using Photoshop Elements Organizer for the past seven years, I’ve learned a lot of shortcuts for organizing your digi scrapping stash – and I reveal them all inside this class!

You can watch step by step videos and follow along in the detailed handouts. Each lesson includes motivating, 15-minute challenges, that will help you to achieve your goals in bite-sized chunks. Melissa will demonstrate different ways to organize and the best part is, with Photoshop Elements Organizer, you can mix and match your organizing system to make it work for you!

No matter how big or how disorganized your stash is you can start getting organized today.

*These classes are in a PDF format with the lesson videos embedded directly in the PDF*

Thanks again Melissa . . . you can’t begin to know how thrilled I am that this finally worked. I’ve struggled with so many other options and I so happy this one really paid off. If it weren’t way past my bedtime I’d be dancing but it is time for sleep. Thank you a hundred times over… you are truly awesome and inspiring !!! – Anna

When you have gigabytes of supplies it can seem like a never ending task to get organized.

  • Some people tell you to rename and move files
  • Some people tell your about expensive new software or obscure plugins
  • Some people tell you to convert your files to new formats
  • Some people tell you to give up

I tell you that it doesn’t have to be that hard.

You can organize your photos and supplies in minutes not hours, and all you need is Photoshop Elements. There’s no converting, no endless tagging and no lost and corrupted files.

Who am I to claim that organizing doesn’t have to be boring, time consuming and fussy?

G’day, I’m Melissa Shanhun, digital scrapbooking educator, Aussie mum and all-round creative person.

Over the years I’ve moved my creating to my computer to help me create more projects in less time. Being a teacher at heart, I can’t help but want to share my inside info with you, so you spend less time organizing and fighting with software and more time doing the scrapbooking you love.

Over the past three years, I’ve helped over hundreds of women here in Perth and around the world, learn how they can organize their photos using their computers. With the automated features inside Photoshop Elements Organizer, managing your digital scrapbooking stash doesn’t need to be tedious or time consuming. Thanks to the overwhelming feedback from over 350 students the first run of this class, I will be running Get Organized again, this time focusing on supply organizing.

Why struggle on your own, when I can show you how to get organized?

Don’t go it alone – you’ll need someone to help you get over the hurdles and hiccups that come along with the technology jungle.

  • Do you have piles of digital scrapbooking supplies?
  • Do you have a mess of folders on your computer?
  • Do you want to get organized quickly?

Join me to SUPERCHARGE your supply organization.

you will learn:

  • Simple ways to organize your supplies – saving hours of your time!
  • How to import your supplies into Photoshop Elements Organizer
  • Time-saving, ready-made keyword tags to download
  • Fast searching techniques that will help your complete layouts with the perfect supplies in no time!
  • Managing the import process – so you don’t have to remember what you’ve imported and what you haven’t
  • Setting up your Digi home base – so everything is in one place
  • Unzipping your files – so you don’t find corrupt files and need downloads reset
  • Advanced searching techniques so you can find the supplies you need in a snap – forget hunting for that perfect red button
  • How to maintain your system in just a few minutes at a time – so things keep running like clockwork
  • Creating a hands-free backup system that won’t cost the earth – so your memories are safe

I know you’ll be ecstatic when you have your supplies at your fingertips and put your software to work for you.

Get Organized: Suppliesis on sale for a very limited time for $33.60 (reg $42).

This class is designed for Photoshop Elements 11 or newer on a Mac or PC. Most the material is relevant to earlier versions (6+ on the PC and 9+ on the Mac), but the interface has changed a little.

Scrap 1500 photos in 14 hours!

Do you ever wonder what to do with all the “other” photos on your hard drive?

You know the ones: the ones you haven’t scrapped. The ones you love. The ones that tell your story.

I had the same problem.

I stumbled upon the solution by accident.

After creating a set of templates, I wanted to test them. I grabbed some of my favorite photos from the month of January and plopped them in. Before I knew it, the page was done. Week one of 2013 was recorded!

I kept going. It was so easy! I then started timing myself…could it really be this fast? The answer was YES!

In approximately 14 hours (over the course of a weekend), I had more than 1500 photos placed in templates, week by week. The result was far more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for.

Let me take you on a virtual retreat.

As much as I would love to fly away to a cabin in the woods with all of my favorite scrapping friends, it just isn’t possible. In this class, however, we’ll pretend we are on a weekend retreat. And during this retreat, we’ll get all of your photos from an entire year placed in album pages.

I love a good retreat!

You’ll get a packing and prep list. You’ll have sessions through the weekend. You’ll be inspired. And the best part is…you don’t have to leave your home.

This class is broken into five main sessions. You’ll watch a video (embedded right into the .pdf file!) After watching the video, you’ll have specific tasks to do.

I’ll get you organized and ready to get your photos scrapped using the 12 FREE 2-PAGE TEMPLATES (a $15 value!)

You can choose to scrap your year week-by-week or month-by-month. It’s up to you!

You’ll also receive a free layout-planning guide, helping you decide which template to use.

Come away with me! Together let’s create an album your family will love!

Scrap Your Year is on sale for $28 (reg $35) for a very limited time!

*These classes are in a PDF format with the lesson videos embedded directly in the PDF*

P.S. When I created this class and recorded the videos, I hadn’t yet had my album printed. I have since printed it (in two volumes) from Adorama Pix. When I opened the box, I started giggling. Those two albums are one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Although I have scrapped more than 2000 pages in the last ten years, this is — by far — my favorite project to date. I guess when all is said and done, it really is the photos that matter most.

Here is an email I received from someone after taking myWATCH ME SCRAP class:

Dear Janet,

I just finished your last video from the Watch Me Scrap class and I’m on the verge of tears. Don’t worry! They are tears of joy. I have been digi scrapping since 2007. I’ve completed and printed hundreds of layouts each year since. But for some reason, I hit a major slump last year. I lost my way. By then end of the year, I had maybe 3 pages done. Frankly, it frightened me a little. As a mother of 6 children, ages 23 to 5, I wondered if I would ever get back to scrapping.

Monday afternoon I was going through some emails and noticed that you had a class and thought to myself, “I LOVE her templates and style. Maybe I should take the class?”. It wasn’t long before I was downloading it. I was excited to see how you put your pages together. I was not disappointed. While much of it was a great review for me, I loved seeing the simplicity with which you execute your pages. I realized that I USED to be a simple scrapper. I USED to focus on my photos. I USED to enjoy capturing my family’s memories…

Just watching you create, reading how you organize your layouts, and my favorite part the WHY you scrap, was really powerful. My light was ignited again and I’m looking forward to returning to the hobby I love. I know that what I do is important to my children and to those who come to follow.

So, I wanted to write to you and tell you thank you. You gave me a great gift.

Tutorial: Using Project Life Live Brightly (from The Digi Files) in the Project Life App

This layout was made entirely on my iPhone using the Project Life app, Quick app, Over app, DropBox, and Live Brightly Project Life included in The Digi Files this month.

Live Brightly is the Project Life collection that is in The Digi Files exclusively this month. Therefor, it hasn’t been released in the iPHone app yet. Would you like to know how you can use it in the app? Here’s a little video tutorial that will show you how to bring Live Brightly into the app and fill up those pockets!

***One thing to note is when you export a Project Life page into another app (like I do in the video) the app will most likely change the resolution of the app to a lower 72dpi, so it won’t be good for printing after exporting from another app.

Lightroom to Layout – My workflow for creating a collage in Lightroom and turning it into a layout

Since I recorded the Digest episode with Wendyzine about Lightroom, I’ve had a lot of questions about my workflow process for creating collages in Lightroom (using my previews) and then scrapping in Photoshop. You can also read Wendy’s tutorial for creating collages in Lightroom. I recorded a video that shows my process.

In this ten minute video, you will see:

  • How I have all of my photos and supplies set up in a collection in Lightroom
  • How I use that collection to create a collage
  • How I use my organized previews to hold spots in a collage
  • How I save the collage and then import it into Photoshop to create a layout
  • How I use the preview spots in the collage to create a clipping mask for papers and other items in my layouts
  • How I go back to Lightroom to find my supplies to bring into Photoshop
  • Directions for bringing the completed layout into Lightroom, if you want

Here’s a look at my finished layout after I was done putting it all together in Lightroom. The whole process (including what you see in the video) took me about 20-30 minutes.

Supplies: Traci Reed, Jenn Barrette, Cluster Queen Creations, Bella Gypsy; template by Janet Phillips (adjusted for Lightroom); QR Code template card by Cindy Schneider; Fonts: Matura MT Script and Typewriter Scribbled.

As promised in the video, if you would like to know how to take a jpeg from a video, you can find that video tutorial on Capturing Magic today.

QR Codes

If you have listened to this month’s Daily Digi Digest podcast, you’ll remember that Steph asked Peppermint about where she stores her videos that she put on her layouts via QR Codes. I had planned on sharing a bit more about QR Codes and thought that this would be a great time.

It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing QR Codes, but for those who might not be familiar, here’s the simple definition.

“A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.”

On your phone or tablet, you can download a QR Code reader (there are free ones). Then, you just hold your phone up to the code and it will take you right to the URL that is embedded in the code.

When I first read about using QR codes on layouts (from a blog post by Traci Reed), I was instantly overwhelmed with the way that this could change and enhance scrapbooking.

Here are a few great ways to use QR Codes on layouts:


YouTube clips

Personal videos


Fun commercials


Recipes (such as my Ranch Turkey Burgers layout)

Blog posts (including comments)

Online manuals

Photo galleries (for example, if you had a family photo shoot and only put a few photos on your layouts, you could link to the whole session)

A few things to consider:

In the DDD podcast, Peppermint mentioned some of the issues with deciding where to store the videos. She recommends YouTube because it is the most likely place to keep the links forever. However, you could choose to direct the QR code to a place on your personal computer. Listen to the podcast for more thoughts on where to store the video/URL.

Technology is changing so fast that there is no guarantee that your codes will work forever. Remember this when you put them on your layouts. They are fun now and a great way to enhance your layouts but your grandkids may one day be very confused!

Here are a few great places to read more about using QR codes:

Capturing Magic: Easily Adding Videos to a Photo Book using QR Codes

Traci Reed Designs: Add Video to Your Project Life

Fabulously Artsy: More Fun With QR Codes

Happie Scrappie: Adding QR Code to Your Pages

Britt-Ish Designs: Using QR Codes in Your Digital Layouts

And here are some great examples of pages with QR Codes (all linked to source)

Scrapping Faster With Lightroom

CREDITS: There’s Always Blue and Eclectic Moments by Kaye Winiecki; Every Day Bouquet (journal card altered) by Quirky Heart; Font: DJB Storyteller.

With less and less time to devote to my personal scrapping, I decided to harness the strengths of Lightroom to speed up my process. Lightroom comes with the ability to create collages of photos which is so fast to do. But, Lightroom won’t let you add drop shadows or layer papers and elements well. So, I set out to find a way to create my photo collages in Lightroom, export the completed page to Photoshop where I can add drop shadows and decorate them with my favorite digi kits. It works brilliantly and I’m able to scrap through an entire year’s worth of pictures in just a couple weeks once the set up work is done! (If you want to skip the setup work, I do have pre-designed Lightroom templates available for purchase, and a bonus free sample at the end of this tutorial.) This tutorial does assume that you are already familiar enough with Lightroom to import your images, create collections and find your away around a bit (find more
Lightroom tutorials here).

1) Set up collage templates in Lightroom. (Or install the preset templates – a free sample is below – and skip this step. A video tutorial is in the download.)

  • Open Photoshop and save a solid black 5×7 as a jpg.
  • In Lightroom, import the 5×7, create a new collection and add the black 5×7 to it.
  • With the collection selected, go to the PRINT module on the top right.

  • Click PAGE SETUP on the bottom left of the screen. Set your page size to 12×12. Some windows users aren’t able to do this unless they install a large format printer. Try one of the large format Epson printers.

  • Now your screen should appear as a 12×12.
  • We need to change some settings before we begin. Under the LAYOUT STYLE section, choose CUSTOM PACKAGE.
  • Under RULES, GRID & GUIDES, I recommend turning on the rulers, page grid and image cells.
  • Under Print Job, choose JPG FILE, 300ppi, sharpening (optional), media type (to your preference), JPG Quality (100), Check CUSTOM DIMENSIONS on and enter 12×12, use sRGB for color management.

  • Now, let’s start adding boxes for our photos. Expand the CELLS section and click one of the sizes to add it to the page. Or, click the arrow next to a size to edit it. Continue adding boxes to your collage and drag them around on the page until you are happy with the layout.

  • Let’s save our template. First, click the + button to the right of the TEMPLATE BROWSER on the left side. Click the FOLDER drop down and choose NEW FOLDER and then name the folder. Now, name the template, ensure the new folder is selected and click CREATE to save your template.

  • If you want to make changes to the template and save over it, right+click on the template name in the Template Browser and choose UPDATE WITH CURRENT SETTINGS.

2) Create drop shadow overlays. (You can skip this step if you Print your finished collage to a PDF instead. See Step 3.)

  • Now we need to export a blank version of this template to Photoshop. Drag the black jpg from the photo bin into each photo spot so you end up with lots of black boxes on the page.
  • Click PRINT TO FILE on the bottom right. Save the template as a JPG.
  • Open it in Photoshop. Get the magic wand tool (W) and Shift+Click on each black box to select it. Copy to a new layer by clicking CTRL/CMD+J.
  • Now delete the original layer (or fill with white.)
  • Select the new clipping layer and add a drop shadow style. Save this file as a layered TIF or PSD for use later.

3) Create your collage in Lightroom.

  • Return to Lightroom. Add your photos to your collection in the LIBRARY MODULE. With the collection open, click the PRINT MODULE.
  • Drag and drop your pictures onto the picture spots. If your photos are not cropped as you like, pop over to the DEVELOP MODULE, crop the picture and then pop back to the PRINT MODULE and it should update. To move your photo, hold in the ALT/OPT key and drag inside the photo box. You will only be able to move it left/right or top/bottom if there is more to the photo.
  • Click PRINT TO FILE and give the layout a name.

  • To print your
    finished collage to a PDF instead, choose Print to: PRINTER
    instead of JPG FILE, then choose the PDF option for your operating
  • On a Mac, click PRINTER, then PDF, then SAVE AS PDF.

  • On a PC, click PRINTER, Choose AdobePDF from the drop down. Or, install doPDF and choose that from the drop down.

4) Embellish your layout.

  • Return to Photoshop and open the overlay. Open the layout you just saved. Copy and paste it into the overlay file.
  • Clip it to the overlay layer to allow the drop shadows to show through.
  • Now you can add a background paper, your favorite embellishments and journaling!

This layout took 30 minutes at most, with the majority of my time spent picking out my kit and deciding how to do the journaling, with a few minutes spent documenting my steps along the way. So much faster than the 2 hours my traditional layouts often take!

To give scrapping with Lightroom a try, download
this free template and import it into Lightroom. A video tutorial on how to use the templates can be found here. If you want to skip the creation of the templates and jump right into scrapping with them, check out my full line of
Lightroom templates (on sale through August 15th). If you want to purchase a video on the entire process of creating your template, you can find out more on my blog.

To learn more about Lightroom Print Module, visit Adobe’s
Lightroom Help.


A New Lens

Back in college I had an amazing professor who took me under his wing and taught me many amazing things. One of the ideas that he gave me that has stayed with me ever since and has affected me in many ways is the idea that we can change what we read by what lens we read in through. He explained that when he reads a book he first decides what lens he wants to wear. Is he reading it as a professor? As a husband? As a dad? As a runner? As a student? When we choose a different lens, the material—and the way it impacts us—changes.

It was a life-changing discovery for me. Through the years I have read with many different lenses and it is amazing to see how the same words can impact in me in different ways.

What about applying this principle to our photography and scrapbooking?

Let’s face it. There are some activities where you feel obligated to bring your camera and yet inwardly you cringe thinking, “Another set of photos from the zoo!?!”

If there are things that you do often and have many pictures of, it can sometimes be hard to scrap them. Because to be honest, we don’t need 10 different zoo pages from 10 different times going to the zoo. Or the playground. Or on a walk. Or playing the yard. And yet, there is another part of us that is eager to capture each moment in our lives so that by chance, we can hold onto the memories forever.

A few nights ago, our family was at a local park and we were grilling burgers for dinner. This is something we do often. I usually bring my camera and so I was sitting there, itching to take pictures. And yet, I knew that there are only so many ways to photograph us grilling in the park. I don’t need 20 park pages in my albums and so I started thinking about what I could do. As I sat there watching my family devour the piles of watermelon my husband was cutting, it dawned on me. If I want to breathe new life into an “old” activity like going to the park, I need to a new lens. Not a new lens for my camera, but a new lens for my eyes.

I needed to look at a normal activity that we do on a regular basis and see it through a different lens. I needed to choose a perspective from which to view everything else. It could have been anything, really, but as I watched the watermelon juice drip down my children’s arms, I decided to focus on that yummy goodness.

And so I started snapping away, focusing on just one aspect of our time at the park.


It’s yummy. It’s sweet. It’s messy. And it’s oh-so-beautiful.

The fun thing in this is that it gave me a way to see a regular activity in our lives in a new way. It gave me inspiration for new photos and for a new way to document our lives. Rather than a general “we went to the park” page, I was able to create something more specific, with more of an interesting tidbit of the details of our lives. Because the truth is, we eat a lot of watermelon.

What about you? How do you photograph and scrap photos of activities that you do on a regular basis?

Dressing Up Black & White

One of the best things about digital scrapbooking is the ability to change papers and elements to suit our tastes. We can take a piece of paper and use it multiple times and in multiple ways. Changing sizes, colors, orientation, and more offers us amazing flexibility.

A while back, Shawna Clingerman came out with an awesome set of black and white papers that I just loved. I saw so much creative potential in them. They are gorgeous as-is, but I also knew that that they would be super easy to customize, offering me endless options!

I had so much fun playing with them!

First, I took this fun wavy paper and added some bright pops of color.

This took just seconds. I used my magic wand tool and clicked inside the wave I wanted to color. Then I chose Edit > Fill Selection and then chose Foreground Color and clicked OK.

I then repeated for the remaining parts I wanted to color.

I then used it bright and happy paper (as well as the typed paper) in my layout.

The next time I used these papers, I decided to use the pattern to make my own paper. I had some photos of my daughter helping me make tortillas and I thought the circle paper would be great.

Again using my magic wand tool, I clicked on the black in the paper. Then I went to Select > Similar so that all of the black on the paper would be selected. With the black pixels all selected, I hit Command C (copy) and then Command V (paste) so that the circles would now be on their own layer.

Next I chose some papers from Life Stories: This Girl by Kristin CB and Zoe Pearn. I chose the cream woodgrain print for my background and the pink solid paper for my circles. I used a clipping mask to clip the pink paper to my circles and then I adjusted the opacity of the layer until I was happy. Presto! Done. Adding the rest to my layout took just a few minutes.

So how about you? Do you alter your supplies to make them work for you?