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Fix So-So Photos

Problem: Crazy Colors

Design by Patricia Anderson.

Fix: Converting images to sepia tone
These photos of her daughter in a vintage hat proved a challenge for Kristy Nerness to scrapbook. The strong colors and too-in-focus background had her stumped. Patricia Anderson made the process easier by removing color from the equation. She converted the photos to a sepia tone to match the vintage-hat theme, and she chose a soft palette of printed papers and fabric accessories to complement the shots.

Tip: Patricia used Adobe Photoshop to adjust the color and contrast in the scanned prints, but you can do the same thing at a photo kiosk. Simply place your prints on the scanner bed and let the machine walk you through the adjustments.

SOURCES Card stock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Patterned paper, rub-ons, tags, fabric flowers: Autumn Leaves. Fonts: Gettysburg (date) by Autumn Leaves, Times New Roman (journaling). Chipboard letters: Heidi Swapp. Brads: Making Memories. Design: Patricia Anderson.

Problem: Too Many People In Background

Design by Erin Roe

Fix: Digitally blurring the area
A busy beach filled with people created a cluttered backdrop for this portrait taken just before a new member of the family was born. Erin Roe used Adobe Photoshop CS to blur the background area, making the subjects pop.

  1. Use the Marquee tool to select the background. Erin chose only the top portion of the shot to make the blur feel more natural.
  2. From the Select menu, choose Feather to soften the selection line. Go to the Filters menu and choose the Lens Blur filter to give the shot a realistic softened background.
  3. Select the middle portion of the background and repeat the steps using less blur to create a gradual softening so the background and foreground blend naturally.

Tip: Less computer-savvy scrapbookers can try a variation of this technique. Have your photo developer print two copies of the photo -- one in color and the other in black-and-white. Ask the processor to lighten or darken the black-and-white copy so the details are hard to pick out. Then use a pair of micro-tip scissors to cut around the subject in the color copy, and layer the two to create a composite image.

Sources Patterned paper: Flair Designs. Fonts: Century Gothic (journaling), Patriot (title) by Autumn Leaves. Stickers: Flair Designs ("family" strip), American Crafts (numbers). Embroidered scroll: Autumn Leaves.

Problem: Distracting Clutter

Design by Jen Lessinger.

Fix: Tight cropping & creative use of accents
This photo of Jen Lessinger's son and grandma captured a tender moment between the two but was marred by an overly busy background. Jen used basic scrapbooking skills to crop the image and remove much of the distraction, and then she cleverly hid one spot with a hand-cut swirl that links the photo and page.

TIP: Pre-plan crops by ordering a print larger than you think you'll need, or ask your lab to crop the image during the printing process. You also can crop your shot into a shape -- try a circle or oval -- but make sure the shape matches your message.

Sources Patterned paper: A2Z Essentials. Font: Futura. Stickers: American Crafts. Chipboard letters, acrylic paint: Making Memories. Buttons: Autumn Leaves. Binder clip: Target.

Problem: Person Interrupting Scene

Design by Lee Anne Russell.

Fix: Computer cloning
Lee Anne Russell loved this photo of her daughter learning to surf but wasn't so thrilled with the distracting person entering the scene on one side. Using the clone tool in Adobe Photoshop CS, Lee Anne replaced the person with more waves, making the scene seamless.

  1. Choose the clone tool from the toolbar -- it looks like a rubber stamp -- and find an area of the photo you want to copy. Take a sampling from that area by holding down the option key and the clone tool.
  2. Working in small sections, click the clone tool over the area you want removed until you are satisfied with the results.

Sources Patterned paper, acrylic letters: KI Memories. Font: Avant Garde.

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