Photographic Backgrounds


Photographic Backgrounds
by Jenifer Juris

Make your own unique and dreamy photographic backgrounds. In three quick steps you’ll have the beginnings of something beautiful.

Step One: Open a Photo

Keep in mind the following ideas when selecting a photo for this tutorial:

  • Repeating Pattern – Images of autumn leaves, white snow, confetti on a table, or rain on green grass are all great ideas for photographic backgrounds.
  • Shoot at 90˚- Often photos that are shot straight down or straight ahead will make the most sense visually for a background image. If they are shot at an angle other than 90˚, it can cause confusion for the eye.
  • Open a photo (File > Open) that you wish to use as a background for your digital project.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips.
  • Press the letter X to switch the Foreground Color Chip to white.

Here are a few examples of good photos for this tutorial:

Step Two: Crop the Photo

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon. Set the Feather to 0px and the Aspect to Normal.  (Photoshop: Set the Style to Normal.)
  • On the document, hold down the Shift key and click and drag a selection around the portion of the photo you wish to use.

Note: Using the shift key here will ensure you get a square selection. I’m doing this because I plan to make a square (12×12) scrapbook page.

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Image > Crop.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.

Step Three: Add Haze

Adding haze to your image helps create a softer background. This keep your background from competing with the other items you add to your project.

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and choose Solid Color.
  • In the dialog box, the color chip should be white. Click OK.

Note: At this point, your document will fill with solid white. This is exactly how it should be.

  • In the Layers panel, lower the Opacity of this new layer to 30%.

Note: You may need more or less haze depending on the photo you’re using so feel free to adjust the opacity of this layer as needed.

Step Four: Merge and Save the Image

  • In the Layers panel, make sure the top layer is the active layer.
  • Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the two layers together.
  • Save the image (File > Save As) as a high quality JPG with a unique name.

Now your photographic background is ready to be used on a scrapbook page or other digital project.

Here’s a look at my finished scrapbook page:

I can’t wait to see how you use this idea in your own project!

Page & Photos: Jenifer Juris
Tutorial: Photographic Backgrounds by Jenifer Juris
Kit: Baby It’s Cold Outside by Jady Day Studio
Fonts: Trajan Color, Marcella Script, Argent CF
Example Photos (above): Stock Photos

After posting your results online,
return here and include the link in the comments.



Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris |
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12 Responses to “ Photographic Backgrounds ”

  1. Julie Singco on January 16, 2017 at 9:15 am
    • Jenifer Juris on January 16, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Such a fabulous job on this!! Your two page spread is just fantastic!! LOVE it! 🙂

  2. Deborah Wagner on January 10, 2017 at 8:38 am

    What a great idea! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Jenifer Juris on January 10, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Thx so much! I can’t wait to see how you use it!! 🙂

  3. Donna on January 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    I love the snow background paper and thank you for showing us how to make our own paper. I’m going to check my photos and see what I can come up with . . . so much fun!

    • Jenifer Juris on January 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Woot! I’m so glad you like it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂

  4. Dorrie on January 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Never thought of doing anything like this, yet it was so simple. Thanks for all the inspiration you give us with your tutorials. Here’s what I came up with…..

    • Jenifer Juris on January 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks so much – I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Love your page, too!! Great job. 🙂

  5. Joan Robillard on January 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Anxiously waiting the new classes, so this is something I can play with. Snowed last night if I need a picture.

    • Jenifer Juris on January 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Thx! I look forward to seeing your page! 🙂

  6. Julie Singco on January 8, 2017 at 7:47 am

    This will be perfect for one of the beach photos I took during our end-of-year camping trip to Florida. Thank you for the inspiration, Jenifer!

    • Jenifer Juris on January 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      You’re welcome! I can’t wait to see how you use your beach photo! 🙂

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