Photographic Backgrounds

with 16 Comments

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.


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Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris |
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16 Responses

  1. Jessie
    | Reply

    Here’s how I used your idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Jessie 🙂

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Wonderful job!! LOVE it! 🙂

      • Jessie
        | Reply

        Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

        • Jenifer Juris
          | Reply

          You’re welcome! 🙂

  2. Julie Singco
    | Reply

    Here’s the link to my 2 page spread compliments of this tutorial.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

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

  3. Deborah Wagner
    | Reply

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

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

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

  4. Donna
    | Reply

    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
      | Reply

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

  5. Dorrie
    | Reply

    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
      | Reply

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

  6. Joan Robillard
    | Reply

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

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thx! I look forward to seeing your page! 🙂

  7. Julie Singco
    | Reply

    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
      | Reply

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

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