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Tutorial ~ How to Photograph Layout

I’ve never exactly done any tutorials on anything besides my scrapbooking projects. So, today I’ve received a message from Gazel asking me some questions on how I photograph my layouts.

Hey Gazel, no question is ever dumb, silly or stupid, please remember that. I’ll be more than happy to answer them. 🙂 So, I’ll try my best to help you in any way I can but remember, this is just a simple guide to what I usually do. I hope this will help you.
G: do you scan or photograph your layouts?
L: I photograph all my layouts
G: i don’t think my scanner’s big enough and i doubt it can scan it nicely.
L: I could not advice you on this because I don’t own a scanner and I’ve never tried scanning my layout. But I’ve seen people scanning their layouts and the outcome is amazing! 🙂
G: i have never been able to photograph my layouts to appear like yours or the many others i see people do..
L: Yes, you certainly can do it and you can make yours look like mine or others too.
G: is there a way to do it?
L: Yes and I’ll guide you how I do it on my layouts.
The short tutorials below will by based on how I photograph my layout and I’ll go a step further on how you can crop, resize and save the picture of your layout.
Step 1
First, before you photograph your layout, make sure you find a good light source because this will help you take clearer and sharper images. The best time to photograph your layout would be during the day.
Second, prop your layout against a sturdy background such as wall. I used an easel to prop my layouts and projects. You can get them at Art Friend. Please make sure the layout is facing the light source.
Third, start composing your layout with your camera, be it a P&S or DSLR (it doesn’t matter) through the viewfinder. Make sure you frame your layout by moving yourself forward or backward or tilt your camera until you’re happy with the position of your layout. Please note that this requires a lot of practice to perfect the angle of your layout.
Next, photography the layout.
Here’s a sample of how I captured my layout with my DSLR.

Step 2

I will show you how I crop my picture using Photoshop CS2 because this is the only software i’m currenty using to edit my pictures. But if you’re using other programs, please feel free to do so. If you don’t have any program, I would recommend you to use Picasa 3. I used this before I switched to PS. It’s easy to use and you can download it for free here.

Once I opened my layout picture in the PS, I select the Crop tool in the Tool bar as shown in the arrow below


I would then drag the cursor from the corner of the layout and define the area that I want to crop. Double click your mouse to crop.

This is how my layout will look after cropping.


Step 3

I usually re-size my pictures before I post them in my blog or any of the SB gallery. Most SB galleries would allow you to upload a limited picture size. (I’m sure you know how to upload your pics and how the galleries work). I always re-size my picture to a width of 580 650pixels (new blog width) because it fits perfectly into my blog. Click Ctrl+Alt+I simultaneously and a separate window will pop up. Key in the size that you prefer as shown below


I will also select Bicubic Sharper at the bottom of the window to ensure my image maintained its sharpness. Then click OK.

Step 4

I would usually save my pictures under “Save for web” as this will significantly reduce the the size of my images. Doing so will allow me to maximize my gallery space in my blog, Flickr, SB galleries and also my hard disk. To do this, go to File and select Save for Web. A window will pop up as below


On the left is the original image with the size of 469kb. On the right is the image I want to save as web with the size of only 82kb. Can you see the difference now?

The last step would be to save your picture into your folder. Voila! It’s not as difficult as you may think. 🙂

And here’s my final image


Play around with the contrast and hue to get the image color as close as possible to your masterpiece. 🙂

I hope this tutorial will help you photograph your layout in the simplest way and also to guide you how to crop, resize your image and save space in your galleries.

Remember, practice makes perfect! 😀

  • WirdaJanuary 22, 2010 - 9:17 am

    I like this! Thank you, Thank you and Thank you!

  • winnieJanuary 22, 2010 - 9:40 am

    thanks for this blog post! (:

  • GazelJanuary 22, 2010 - 12:38 pm

    Thank you sooo much leena!!
    (: now i need to practice how to get as close to a perfect square as possible. haven’t been able to take a photo of my layout and crop it out so nicely.
    THANK YOU (: (:

  • ValenciaJanuary 25, 2010 - 8:07 am

    Nice! Thanks for sharing the tip and also lovely LO!
    You are inspiring!

  • merdreyJanuary 25, 2010 - 1:21 pm

    left you some love on my blog! =)

  • Metal_MinishJanuary 26, 2010 - 5:25 am

    I love all your layouts, and this tutorial is very helpful!
    I hope you don’t mind that I added you to my link list? I’ve watched you on Flickr before, but only just now found your blog… ^^;;

  • MarinaFebruary 3, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    So interesting. I will try soon to photography my layout like this. Thnak you so much 😉

  • ScrapdrineFebruary 3, 2010 - 6:29 pm

    Thank you from France, Leena. I didn’t know the tip “Save for web”… I will try it !

  • CortalineFebruary 3, 2010 - 8:29 pm

    Merciiiiiiiiiiiiiiii !!!! La Biz La Delf

  • DeirdreOctober 1, 2013 - 10:04 am

    Searching your sight to see if you ever shared how you photograph layouts and found this. I’d love to see an update showing how you photograph Project life layouts. They seem especially challenging with the plastic reflecting light. Yours are especially clear (I’m almost convinced you’re shooting them without the pocket pages—am I right?)


  • FindingnanaOctober 1, 2013 - 10:22 am

    Hi Deirdre,
    Yes you’re right! I photographed my PL cards without the pockets. 😉 I laid them all on top of the protector and photograph them. Once I’m done I’ll just insert them back into the pockets. I’ll share one of these days how I photograph my PL spreads along with some tips. 🙂

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