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The Perfect Blend: A Photoshop Tutorial

Good Morning scrappers! Tamara here back with another fun tutorial! A couple of weeks ago, I asked all of you to give me some suggestions on what you would like to learn, and I had several people ask me to write a tutorial on blending a photo into your background paper.  I know you have all seen the technique, and I am sure that there are several ways to go about blending, but today I am only going to share with you my preferred method.

You have all seen the beautiful layouts in the galleries that have a photo blended into the background..but just in case you haven’t, I searched the gallery at Gotta Pixel and found a few examples using some of Mye’s kits.

This layout by dodiegonzales using Mye’s “Thankfully” Kit is a fantastic example of blending. She used the photo she already had and flipped it horizontally and then blended the photo. It fills in an empty space (a great idea for those of you that don’t like to add a lot of journaling); adds to the composition of the  page because it draws your eye across the page instead of it just falling  onto dead open space, and it also just adds a fun artistic emphasis on her photo adding to its importance.

and here is one by shaz515 using Tropical Paradise by Mye.

Even though this is also a blend, it is done in a different way. She used a mask and clipped her photo to it to create a beautiful blend on her layout!  By reducing the opacity of the mask, you reduce the opacity of your photo, and it blends in nicely with her background!

Now that you see how a blend is used, I am going to show you a quick and easy way to get your photos blended on your page!

Begin by opening a blank document.  Open the paper that you wish to work with and drag it onto your blank document.  I personally  LOVE to use a background paper that has some texture or a VERY SMALL pattern to it because it gives the photo that same texture when you blend it in.   Once you open your new document and then drag the paper on it, I like to save it really quick with its new file name so as not to accidentally save over my original.
In the essence of time, I am using a layout from one of my new  Thankfully QP album pages  created using Mye’s kit Thankfully.
I added my photos in the empty spaces, and now I have added the photo I want to blend on the top of the page and arranged it to follow the tilt of the paper. When you are doing your page, if you have layered papers like this, you can clip your photo to the page you  want it to lay on and that will keep the edges from hanging over and you from  having to erase them!
Once you have your photo in place, you are ready to begin blending the photo. The first step to blending is to a.) change your blending mode and b.) lower the opacity of the photo. To change the blending mode, you must first go to your Layers Palette, (on the right hand side of your workstation) and highlight the photo layer you will be working with.  With the photo selected, you can now go and change the blending mode.  I prefer to use the Soft Light or Overlay Modes, but scroll through the different Blend Modes that are available to you in PS or PSE and see how they effect the look of your page.
HINT:   A Quick and easy way  to view the effects that each blend mode has on your photo is to highlight your photo  layer  in the Layers palette.  Once you have it selected,  press the Shift key, and use your + and – keys to  scroll through the different blend modes and see the effect on your photo OR select Normal from the blending modes drop down menu and use the scroll button on your mouse to scroll through and to view the effects of the modes on your photo.
Here are  just a few of  blend modes that I like to use. See how different they look on the layout.
Hard Light Mode
Overlay Mode
Soft Light Mode
I chose to go with the Soft Light blend mode but  you can choose the one that will suit your picture best and the one that helps you achieve the look you are after.  Once you have chosen your blending mode, reduce the opacity of the layer. I changed the opacity of my photo to about 35, but you will need to choose the one that is best for your page!
Now that you have changed the blend mode and the opacity of the photo, we are going to erase the part that we don’t want by adding a layer mask to your photo and using your brush tool to brush away the parts of the picture you don’t want. The reason I use a layer’s mask instead of the erase tool is because the erase tool is a permanent change to the photo and the layer’s mask is not. So if I decide later that I wish I hadn’t erased so much of the photo, I can go back in,  change my brush to white and paint over my mistake and try again. That is WAY better than having to get rid of the photo and start all over.
You want to select  a soft brush (about 50% hardness), and change  the opacity of the BRUSH to about 40%.
Next, you will select your layers mask and your brush from the tool palette and begin to brush away the parts of the photos you do not want to see.  I generally erase the hard edges of the photo first and then work my way in closer to the photo as I see fit,  By taking away the hard edges, you leave it soft and pretty and  well blended.
And that is it!! See how easy that was? and it really gives that layout a polished look when you have finished!
Final Layout
So there you have it..everything you need to know to start your first blended photo layout! I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial today, and remember that if you would like to see a specific tutorial from me,  just comment here and I will add it to my list of topics! I want to make sure I am teaching you what YOU want to know, so drop me a line and let me know if there is something you want to see!
Until next week…. Happy scrapping!

comments +

  1. Judi says:

    Wondering if you can do this in PSE?

  2. judi says:

    Thanks! I see it’s mentioned in the tutorial so ignore my previous email post.

  3. Connie says:

    Great! I really wanted to know how to do this successfully…another wonderfut tutorial, Tamara! Thanks so very much.

  4. Marilyn says:

    I’ve got this marked so I can refer back to it. Great tut.

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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.