WOW!!! If you haven’t been by the forum or joined in on the LIFE 365 project, it is not too late to start…you can start your 365 anytime you want so don’t feel like if you missed taking pictures January 1 that you are out for this year! NOPE… could do 365 starting today! We are having lots of fun and meeting lots of new friends…some are just new to us and some are brand new to digiscrapping so no matter your scrapping level, there is help and fun to be had HERE! OK…enough of that…

Today I have a photo tutorial to share with you from Alice!!! Thank you so much Alice for making this for us…it fits great with all the photo fun we are having so take some of your photos and play with these tricks and see what you think.



One of the main reasons we scrapbook is to preserve our memories. The photos we use are key to this. However, I know that I have tons of photos that are either under exposed or over exposed or just not quite right in some way. There are lots of programs out there that are specifically made for fixing photos. A lot of scrappers use Lightroom. I’m going to show you a few ways to edit photos using Levels and blending modes in Photoshop.

Here’s a quick break down of the blending modes in Photoshop.

Darken, Multiply, Color Burn and Linear Burn all make your image darker. Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge and Linear Dodge all make your image lighter. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light and Hard Mix all increase the contrast in your image.

Here is the photo I started out with. I love this picture of my parents but the colors are a little dull and the overall photo looks somewhat flat. So the first step is to create a level. Click on the little circle in your layers palette and select Levels.

This window will pop up and just click Ok.

Now I wanted to darken the photo so I went to the blending modes and chose Multiply.

You can see that this darkens the whole photo.

While I liked the effect it had on the background, I felt that it was much too dark for my parents so I selected the brush tool and set the Hardness at 0%.

When you created a Levels layer it automatically created a Layer Mask connected to it. I made sure that I was painting with black and basically painted over my parents, erasing the Multiply Layer where they were but leaving it everywhere else. You can see in the Layers Palette that there is a black shape where they are in the Layer Mask connected to the Multiply Levels.

I accidentally erased too much of the layer, leaving a little bit of a white glow around my parents so I switched my brush to white and painted it back in.


I wanted to lighten the whole photo so I created another Levels Set and chose the blending mode Screen. This has the opposite effect of Multiply, lightening the whole photo. I know it sounds like the two layers cancel each other out but trust me, they don’t! Multiply darkens everything but the highlights, while Screen brightens everything but the shadows.

I liked the lightening effect but it was a little intense for me so I lowered the opacity.

Then I did the opposite of what I did with the multiply layer and painted out everything except my parents.

Another thing I wanted to do was add more contrast so the photo didn’t look so flat. I did this by creating another Levels Layer and setting the blending mode to Soft Light. Overlay is usually the most popular choice but I personally prefer Soft Light in some cases.

This added contrast nicely but it was a little too harsh for me so I lowered the opacity a little. I’m really happy with how my photo looks now.

Here’s another picture from the same day that was also a little overexposed.

Here it is after I played around with it.

Just in case you’re curious, here are the settings.

These techniques aren’t just for pictures that you might’ve thrown away. It’s easy to use them to enhance photos that are already really good. Here’s an example. I absolutely love this picture my dad took at a family friend’s wedding.

Here’s what I had after I added various Levels.

I wanted to make the photo pop just a little bit more. Here’s what I did. I created another Levels layer and set it to Multiply. Then I erased everything except the corners using a huge brush set at 0% hardness.

And this is what I ended up with.

These are just the basics. It’s easy to play around. What I like about using Levels is that everyone who uses them will end up with something slightly different depending on their own preference. The opacities will vary from picture to picture. Not every picture needs all three blending modes. Hope this helps you save those pictures that are absolutely adorable but don’t look as good.

Have a great week taking photos and playing with them!

Posting for Alice 🙂