How I Edit My Scrapbooking Layouts

Goodmorning everyone! Today I am sharing a quick tutorial with you on how I edit my scrapbooking layouts. I figured it might be useful to some of you who are not sure how to get the best quality. I have often tried various things to see what would be best and I think that the way I am doing it now, is the best way for me personally. I am using Adobe Photoshop CS6 to edit my photos, but you should be able to get the same effect with older versions or even different programs.

The first thing you need to do when you are going to photograph your scrapbooking layout, is find a spot where the lighting is good. Preferably below a window. I photograph my layouts from my bed because it is in front of the window and provides me with the best natural light. I use a Nikon D3100 to take my photos. You don’t need a DSLR camera to take good photos of your layouts. I wouldn’t recommend using your phone for it, but it depends of the quality of the camera. My Iphone 4 for example doesn’t really take good photos inside the house.

I personally think that the settings of your camera don’t really matter when it comes to photographing scrapbooking layouts since we are going to edit the brightness etc in Photoshop anyway. I just use the automatic settings on my camera to take my photos.


As you can see, we are going to have to crop out the layout from the rest of the image because we don’t want that to show in the final image. The more ‘straight’ layout is in the photo, the better you can crop it out into a square without losing any important elements of your layout. I found that a good thing to do this with, is to use the live video feature which basically means looking through your lens through the big screen so it’s much easier to see how your photo is going to turn out. I always use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) in Photoshop to select the layout. If you prefer so, you could also use the Crop Tool (C).


Once you have your selection, go to Image > Crop to change the size of the canvas. The resolution is way too big to post on a website, so we are going to resize our image. Go to Image > Image Size and put in width the size you want it to be. For my blog posts I use 650×650 pixels and for Studio Calico I make them a little bit bigger. When you put in 650 pixels in width, make sure that the height does NOT go below 650 pixels either. This layout would be cropped down to 650×653 pixels so that will work just fine. IF the height drops below 650 (or whatever height you want), increase the width untill it evens out. A few pixels too much don’t matter, but not enough pixels is a problem when we go to our canvas. You can either choose to keep the canvas this size or resize it to 650×650 px by either cropping out 3px or make a new canvas with the right resolutions.


So this is basically an un-edited version of the layouts before I post them anywhere. Any editing beyond this point is honestly just personal preference, there is no right or wrong really, but for this tutorial I will show you the editing process I like to go through.

The first thing I always do make my layouts a bit lighter. I do this by duplicating my base layer (CTRL+J) and set the blending mode to ‘Screen’. 100% Opacity for this layout makes it too light, so I play around with the opacity untill I am happy with the way it looks. For this specific layout I am putting the opacity at 60%.


Press CTRL+E to merge both layers together. Duplicate the layer (CTRL+J) and set the duplicated layer’s blending mode to ‘Soft Light’. Keep the opacity at 100% and merge it with the layer below.


It’s starting to look a lot better now, right? I also always like to go through auto color/auto contrast/auto tone to see if any of that might help with making it look even better. Sometimes Auto Color makes my layout look purple-ish but other times it helps with getting better colors. For this image I have decided that Auto Tone looks best. You can find it by going to Image > Auto Tone. Of course, adding any of these things is optional because they don’t always make your layout look better.

I like making my layouts bright and contrasted but sometimes it means that some of the elements on my page don’t really look that good anymore. To fix this, I grab my Burn Tool (O) > set the range to: Midtones > Exposure: 50% and go over the parts that I want to be a little bit more darker. Make sure you duplicate your layer first before doing this, so that if you are not happy with the result you can easily re-do it. You can of course also use it the other way by using the Dodge Tool (O) to light up areas that are too dark.


I added a little bit of extra contrast in the image above. Of course you can also play around with color balance if you are not 100% satisfied with the colors/tone of your layout. The only thing left to do is to sharpen the image a little bit. Duplicate your layer (CTRL+J), go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen . The reason I duplicated the layer is because I often find that adding Sharpen makes it look too sharp and by duplicating the layer we can also reduce the opacity of the sharpness, making it less sharp. I usually stay between 30-40% opacity of the sharpened layer. This percentage will make your layout look a little bit more polished but without making it look too sharp, which is never a good look. Of course, some layouts actually look good with a higher % of sharpness, but usually keeping it to a minimum looks best for me.



Of course, you might have to change little things depending on the layout, but I basically use this process for all of my layouts. I hope you learned something today, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 🙂

Have a great day!

– Claudia


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