I am asked all the time about how I photograph my scrapbook pages and what makes them so crisp and bright. I'm excited to finally bring this tutorial to you. I'm basically, just going to show you my workflow. I like quick and simple so don't worry, it's super easy and I hope it helps just a little bit on answering your questions.
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPHI use my beloved and super old Nikon D50 dSLR, with my Nikon 50mm f/1.4D lens (my baby). There is something to be said about this lens. It's never disappointed me and the focus and bokeh from it is amazing.
You can ask my friend Marcos who is an amazing photographer, I let him play with it last Easter and it was difficult to get it back from him. I know it's pricey and not in everyone's budget, but I did want to share with you what I shoot with.
I actually love this lens so much that when I look for a new camera body to replace my ancient one, I will have to upgrade to the D7000 series, in order for the lens to auto-focus. I seriously depend on my auto-focus with these old eyes of mine.
I have a really awesome sliding glass door that gets tons of light. That is where I set up my "studio". I use a white vinyl background on the floor. I love the vinyl because it's so easy to clean up if I get paint on it.
I then have a white foam board that I hold up opposite of the sliding glass door to bounce back more light onto the project. I have a really sweet assistant who loves to help me out, though he gets bored pretty quickly if I'm taking too long.
I stand right up against the white foam board and position the layout as close to the edge as possible. I'm short so I need it to be close to the foam board. I then lean over making sure that the camera is perfectly pointing straight down and not at an angle. This does two things, it gets rid of any glare from the light coming in and it helps the layout to be a perfect square rather than a polygon.
HOW TO EDIT AND SAVE FOR WEBI start off in Lightroom. I will import them into Lightroom just like I do with my weekly photos. I then pick the best photo for sharpness and angle. Since I'm too lazy to pull out my tripod, I do have some photos that aren't in focus because I moved or aren't straight on. If I don't like any of the photos, I will go back and re-take them.
I do a really simple edit... I click Lightroom's "auto" for exposure, and use the eye dropper to click on the white background for white balance. I then pull up my favorite My 4 Hens Lightroom presets, and click on "Brighten Up (Helper)" and "Soft Sharpen (Helper)". Lastly, I will crop the photo to a 1x1 ratio and that's it for editing!
I then will right-click on the photo and choose to edit in Photoshop. Once it's open in Photoshop, I don't do a whole lot. I use my favorite "save for web" Photoshop action. If I have more than one photo, I'll do a batch action. This is my favorite action, it's "Resizing Action" by Sahlin Studio at The Lilypad and it re-sizes and does a little sharpening to finish it up. People have asked me how my layout photos are so crisp and I truly believe that this action along with My 4 Hens Lighroom preset "soft sharpen (helper)" is why.
So, let me share with you how to do a batch edit using a Photoshop action. It's just a couple steps but super fast and a major time-saver. (to install into Photoshop CS versions you can just double-click on the action file and it will automatically install it for you) (I have not used PSE in a very long time and don't know if they have made it easier to install actions)
- STEP ONE File > Automate > Batch
- STEP TWO choose the action set you want to use... for Sahlin Studio's action set it is labeled "Resizing". Then choose the action you want to use, I choose the "web flatten, resize, sharpen" action since that's what I want to do. (she has a save for print action included in the set that I use for converting my PSD layouts to JPG for printing my digital layouts). Click "OK". I just leave the rest at it's default and let it run the action on all the photos.
After the action has run on all the photos, I'm ready to save the photos for web.
- STEP ONE File > Save for Web & Devices...
- STEP TWO Make sure it's set to JPEG and then click on the little menu button to choose "Optimize to File". Some galleries have a limit of 250k for file size which is why I need to do this step.
- STEP THREE Set the Desired File Size to 249K and click "OK".
After that you can click on "Save" at the bottom of the pop-up and save and name your photo to the folder you want it in. I have a folder on my desktop labeled "layouts to upload" and that's where I save them until I am ready to upload them to the galleries or the blog.
Next week I will share with you how I upload to the galleries and what my favorite galleries are. Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to help.
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