Wednesday, October 19, 2011
“Why be perfect? Nobody else is.” – Julienne Beasley.
Hi everyone. It’s Jenelle here, with my very first Shabby Shoppe blog post. (Can you hear my knees-a-knocking?! I’m a bit nervous!) Today’s post is not going to be a ‘technical’ style focus on photos (they are best covered by our photography expert Beckie!) but I do hope you enjoy reading along and that it inspires you to continue scrapping and preserving your precious memories. Most of all, I hope it encourages you to keep posting your layouts in our wonderful inspiration gallery.
We all know that scrapbooking and photography go hand in hand, but I don’t believe that being a first-rate photographer is a pre-requisite for creating eye catching layouts. A photo doesn’t have to be perfect to touch our hearts, capture a memory or tell a story.
When I scrap my photos, I naturally choose the pictures that are visually powerful – colourful, bright, in focus and sharp. Great photos make great layouts, right? But what about the not-so-perfect pictures? You know the ones – out of focus, poor composition, bad lighting, too far away, not everyone looking at the camera etc. We all have them! Sometimes our lives are recorded by more ‘not-so-stellar’ photographs than ‘stellar’ ones. This is especially true for me, with two little boys who don’t like to sit still and the fact that I don’t have a top of the range camera. I have so many imperfect photos on my hard drive, but I just can’t bring myself to delete them. I love some of these bad photos I have – they’ve captured a memory that is dear to me and they’re part of the story I’m trying to tell through my scrapbooking. Sometimes they’re the only picture I’ve managed to capture at that time. So… I’ve decided to scrap some of them – warts and all! And I think you should too.
Let’s look at some tricks that might help you to scrap some of those imperfect photos stored away on your hard drives.
Of course, the first step would be trying to manipulate these photos in your software editing program and seeing if you can improve some of the flaws. Some ruthless cropping, using the unsharp mask, making adjustments to lighting and/or a bit of extraction work can vastly improve certain photos (and no-one would ever know the difference). However, if you have a really poor quality image (or you’re still learning how to master these editing techniques like me) you may have to call upon a few other tricks to help mask the imperfections.
I’d say the most common issue would be blurring in our photographs. Agree? Don’t be shy, we all have them in our stash! How do you keep a toddler still for long enough to take a good photo? What about an energetic pet? Photographing a sports game? Trying to get a good family photograph when everyone is fussing about? Blur, blur and more blur!!!
Here are two blurry photos I took of my sons and nephew chasing the waves at a surf beach during a recent holiday/vacation. I took lots of photos this particular day, as the kids were having such fun. So many blurry images resulted from this cavorting with the waves, mind you… and I was really disappointed. I still got some other great shots, but I really liked some of the blurry ones (particularly the one where all three boys are in the frame because that didn’t happen again) and I wanted to include these pictures in my album of our trip.
For both photographs I set the blending mode to ‘overlay’ and the opacity to 100%. (For more information on blending modes check out this Tips and Tricks post.)
As you can see, the raised texture seemed to give the photos the look of a painting, even a bit like a watercolour and the blurriness (although not gone) seemed to work here! So I added some frames and other Shabby Shoppe goodies to come up with this layout of my blurry beach photos.
I’m so glad I didn’t leave them out of my album and hidden away on my hard drive. They’re not perfect, but much better than the images I had SOOC (straight out of camera) and I was happy with my final layout in the end.
Here are some more ideas for helping disguise bad photos in your scrapbook layouts:-
Play around with the artistic filters in your photo editing software to give your photo a completely different look. Try converting it to a sketch or a watercolor.
Leave the main focal point in colour and desaturate the rest
Play around with masks and gradient blending to help hide imperfections
Use a large title and lots of journalling to detract from poor photo quality
Strategically place an element or cluster over a particular part of a photo that is distracting (like a bin/trash can or stranger passing by in the background, etc..)
If the bad photos are of a famous place or landmark, consider finding stock images to mix in with your good photos (always check copyright first). It is often difficult to get good photos in museum exhibits, but museums often have great images on their web site
Blending an image into a different background is another great way to minimize negative issues. When you blend a low resolution image in with a high resolution image (a background paper for example), many of the flaws are hidden
When an image is beyond repair (eyes closed, silly face, fuzzy picture) why not just go with it and incorporate a funny title or theme to match the photo or accentuate the imperfection. Here are some examples:- ‘Blink and you’ll miss him/her’, ‘You’re growing so fast, sometimes you’re just a blur’, ‘Fuzzy Memories’, ‘When Life Rushes By’, ‘The photo may be blurry, but your beauty is crystal clear’… (can you think of some more?)
Sometimes you may have a layout in mind for a particular event but when you get your photos off your camera and onto your screen, you find that some of the shots aren’t so good. This also happened to me recently. I had a mix of good and bad photos from the one outing but wanted to include them all to help tell the story. Here’s one of the blurry photos I took on this outing at the park.
It’s blurry and badly composed, but I wanted to include it as I remember the boys laughing so hard as they ran away from their cousin (who was about to throw grass all over them)! I recalled reading about using storyboards in your layouts and how they can often help minimize the flaws in your photographs. So I decided to make all my photographs smaller and add lots of them to my page, giving that storyboard effect. I also ran an instagram action over the pictures, added in a big title, large elements and widely spaced journalling - all helping to distract from the original blurred photographs.
Tucking away these photos because they weren’t perfect would have resulted in missing this moment in our family album. I’m so glad I scrapped them in the end – the boys think they’re great pictures anyway and really, they’re my main audience aren’t they?!
So, next time you are scrapping a memory or special story and find that you only have bad photos, don’t get discouraged. Why not consider using some of the ideas I’ve mentioned in this post to still create a great layout. You will still be preserving those precious memories and may even be surprised with your end result. We’d love to see how you scrap some of your imperfect photos in our inspiration gallery soon.
Thanks for joining me today for my very first post! Kylie will be here tomorrow to share the latest Project SCRAP templates!