My Fave Digital Photography Tools

My Fave Digital Photography Tools

When you have the right tools, it just makes things so much easier and less stressy. I’m in love with my digital photography tools for organisation, backup, and editing, and I’m excited to share them with you…

My Fave Digital Photography Tools

Photo Organisation Tools

Adobe Bridge CC

free!

This free tool has amazing organisational functionality. It’s preferred over Adobe Lightroom, because Bridge is an organisational system first, while Lightroom is an image processor first, and organisational system second.

Backup Tools

Google Drive

15GB for free / 1TB for $9.99 per month

Google Drive is the ultimate option for backing up to the cloud. Play Music, Google Docs, and photos smaller than 2048x2048px (6×6” printed) do not count towards your limit (yay!).

Dropbox

2GB for free / 1TB for $9.99 per month

Dropbox is a good alternative to Google Drive. There is no advantage of one over the other except for how they “feel” and that one is developed by Google.

External Harddrive

about $60 for 1TB from Amazon

If you are not always online and/or would like a physical backup, harddrives are inexpensive and the right choice. While CDs and DVDs look really pretty, they are not stable over time.
photo editing

Photo Editing Tools

Adobe Photoshop CC

$9.99 per month with the Creative Cloud Photography plan

The ultimate in photo editing. Relatively steep learning curve, but there is so much free knowledge on the internet, and it’s totally worth it.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

$9.99 per month with the Creative Cloud Photography plan

An “image management application database which helps in viewing, editing, and managing digital photos”.

Photoshop is for editing in great detail at pixel level (intermediate to advanced), and Lightroom is for editing high volumes of raw files (beginner level).

Read more about the difference

Canva

free

Incredibly intuitive basic photo editor. Also has a great design section with great templates for blog images, and eBook covers.

PicMonkey

free

Online basic photo editor that allows you to edit and retouch photos, create collages, and create designs.

The Photo Organisation Toolkit - free PDF downlload

PS: you can download this in PDF form to print and read or stick up on your wall. 

I have been using one particular way of organising my digital (and physical!) photos since 2003. I’m not cocky about a lot of things but I am cocky about this system. It’s the best. Organising my photos in this way means that I don’t have anxiety over trying to find a certain photo, and it means that my scrap process is even smoother. For the past thirteen years, these have been my organising rules, and I cover these ten commandments in my new course, Photo Organisation 101.

The 10 Commandments of Digital Photo Organisation

 

1. thou shalt backup

Cats love knocking over computers and coffee is naturally drawn to a laptop keyboard. Your memories are important, and so you should treat them as such.

2. thou shalt not backup too much

There is no need to have five kinds of backup unless you are a wedding photographer. Back photos to the cloud where it’s their job to look after your data. Along with the photos being stored on your own computer, this is enough.

3. thou shalt minimise storage USAGE

Delete photo duplicates. Delete blurry photos. Delete nineteen out of twenty photos of your dog eating a slipper in which he has pretty much the exact same expression. Don’t keep photos that you will never look at with fondness again.

4. thou shalt keep all photos in one place

Keep photos from your Big Camera (DSLR), iPhone, GoPro, family photos, and scanned in images under one big Photos folder on your computer. Don’t have bits and pieces on eight different SD cards.

5. thou shalt be consistent

Use the same naming template for folders and photo files so that it’s easier to find something.

6. thou shalt have a hierarchy

Hierarchies are the key to a well-organised photo system.

7. thou shalt make it your own

Allow your photo organisation to fit your style.

8. thou shalt have a processing plan

Have a plan so that when something pops up, you have a list of objective “rules” for how to deal with it.

9. thou shalt schedule

Make it a priority to update your photo backup. It’s no good having a backup system without actually being backed up.

10. thou shalt streamline

Make it as easy as possible for yourself to stay organised so that you do, indeed, stay organised.

Photo Organisation 101

Photo Organisation 101 is now open!

Moleskine Photobook Tutorial

Moleskine Photobook Tutorial

Moleskine Photobooks are my favourite photobooks by far. I’ve put together a step-by-step for how I create one just for you, right from the beginning of choosing a notebook to the order button. Are you ready? There are a whole bunch of photos. Step. By. Step. This is a visual tutorial after all.

Click to make the images larger.

Moleskine Photobook Tutorial - The complete step by step - from photo to book

Moleskine Photobook Tutorial - The complete step by step - from photo to book

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And… done!

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

My love for handwriting knows no bounds and today I’m showing how I cut my handwriting from my brand new Silhouette Portrait. It really adds a personal touch to projects. A commenter on the old blog suggested doing this with your child’s handwriting and that just sounds like the best idea to me. I kinda need to have a kid so that I can do that.

Here’s how you do it:

Caylee Grey :: How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

02 : Write out your word or phrase on a piece of plain white paper with a thick pen, such as a Sharpie.

03 : If you have a scanner, scan in the image.

04 : If you don’t have a scanner, you can just use your smartphone or “big” camera. We don’t need the quality to be great, we just need to get it onto the computer.

05 : Drag the image into Photoshop and select each word with the Magic Wand Tool. Make sure to include the title (yep, that’s what the dot about the i’s and j’s is called). If it is selecting more than just your text, lower the Tolerance. If it is selecting too little, increase it. To add titles and other bits to the selection, hold down SHIFT when clicking.

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

06 : Right click on the selection and choose Layer Via Copy. Repeat the selection process for each word, making sure that you’re on the right layer for selection (usually Background).

07 : Change your document size to the same as what you’re wanting to print on. This makes it easier to see how it will turn out, especially if you’re wanting to use the negative of the text. I turned mine into an A4 size paper

08 : Rearrange your text to the way that you want it by moving each word layer.

09 : Merge the layers once you’re happy with the positioning.

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

10 : Right click on this merged layer, and choose Blending Options.

11 : Under Color Overlay, choose a black overlay at 100% opacity. This makes sure that the lines are better defined.

12 : If you feel like your handwriting was too thin, you can give your text a Stroke. Make sure the Position is set to Outside, the Color is Black, and play around with the size.

13 : Ta-dah. Hide your background layer to make it transparent and save it as a .png file.

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

14 : Now open up Silhouette Studio. Choose the correct Page Settings.

15 : Drag your saved .png image into the program and align it the way you want. I’ve aligned mine Center to Page.

16 : Under the Trace tools, choose Select Trace Area and click and drag over your text.

17 : Uncheck High Pass Filter, and play around with the threshold so that all your black text is now yellow and selected. Click Trace.

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting

18 : Click on the black part of your handwriting and delete it. You will be left with your handwriting in white with a red outline.

19 : Choose the appropriate Cut Settings and adjust your blade accordingly. Send it to your Silhouette (eek – excitement !).

20 : Watch as the most beautiful robotic noises and movements come from your Silhouette Cameo / Portrait.

21You get a nice little negative of your writing. As well as your own handwriting… but better.

How to Die Cut Your Handwriting with a Silhouette Portrait (or Cameo)

This post originally appeared on the Essence blog.

How to Use Templates

How to Use Templates

Templates are a fantastically easy way to get a page or a pocket done quickly. I use a template that I made myself every week of my Project Life. For pockets I love using Liz’s 6×4 Photo Templates, as well as Tracy Larsen’s Simply White Collection – v1. For inserts, I like getting fancy and using the paislee press Press Plates. I used No. 39 for this tutorial. I’ve had questions about how to use them mailed to me a few times. I’m using Photoshop CC (I pay $9.99 per month and spend hours every day on it), but it will be similar for any version of Photoshop. I’m not sure about Photoshop Elements but you can give it a try (and let me know). This is how I get it done.

Click each image for a larger size.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Open up the .psd file. Save it as a different filename so that you don’t overwrite the original (or, if you like to live on the edge just save it with a different name at the end). You’ll see the layers on the right and hopefully they are well-named so that your life is easier. Those layers act as little placeholders for the images.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Make sure your pics have been colour corrected before they go into the template. The easiest way to get your pics into the template is by clicking and dragging them into the document. You could also use File > Place, or copy and paste the image into the template. It’s easiest to do the files in order to avoid confusion or unnecessary time wastage. I used a sequence of snapshots from a video of my new pooch, Griffin, so it was important to me to get it in the right order.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Once the file has been dropped into the template, put the image layer above the “placeholder” layer that you want it to be positioned at. In my case, I put the layer “1” above “1-CLIPPING MASK” layer.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Drag the image over the placeholder. Don’t worry too much about getting it the right size or exact position for now. Right click and choose “Create Clipping Mask“. I do this so often that I made my own shortcut for it.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Move the image around so that it fits in the box the way you want it to. Resize, drag, etc, until it looks the way you want. I wanted minimal noise in mine so I made a lot of white space with the grass and made little Griffin right in the centre.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Repeat the process for the rest of your images. Put the different images above different layers, obvs. If you don’t like the order of your photos then move them around.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

 

Then make it yours. Add elements, text, photo filters, backgrounds, whatever. Templates are great because they are the foundation blocks. You can build upon them so that they suit you. I used a paislee press woodgrain background from The Weekender as a “photo” and made its own clipping mask for the last image. I deleted the captions in this Press Plate (under the TEXT folder), and I moved the TITLE HERE text to the bottom right, and changed it to my own fonts (Oswald and Archer, as per normal).

…et voila

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Any questions ?

 

A lot of readers have mentioned wanting Photoshop tutorials. What tutorials specifically would you like to see ? I’d love to know through a comment or email as it’s something I’m passionate about. Any tips, suggestions, or constructive criticism is highly appreciated. 

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