I shared some of my tips for editing Instagrams last week and I mentioned that I was going to share more tips and tricks that I've learned over the years for blogging.
While I think it's always helpful to hear advice for blogging and "how to be successful," I do think that there's some tangible skills that can make your blogging experience more seamless. Today I'm sharing my absolute NUMBER ONE most asked question. Seriously, if I had a dollar for the number of times I was asked about this, I could retire.
"How do you make collages for your blog?"
The short answer is that I use Photoshop. But I'll walk you through how I do it exactly.
Now, I've been using Adobe products since I was 13. I first was introduced to Adobe InDesign in seventh grade when I joined yearbook. Once you know one Adobe product, it makes it easier to learn the others. I was involved with yearbook/journalism through my senior year of high school so by the time I graduated, I had a LOT of experience with InDesign and Photoshop. One of my close friends from high school and I used to swap tips and advice... teaching each other how to do cool things. This was one of my specialties back in 2006, ha! In college, I even took a digital art class where we learned more about Photoshop and Illustrator, but for the most part I taught myself how to do a lot.
Even if you have zero experience with Photoshop, I do think anyone can learn it. If you're new to the program, don't splurge on the entire Creative Suite. If you're just starting out, Photoshop Elements will do the trick. You can do just about everything you'll need to do with Elements. I used it throughout college before upgrading.
... Now here's how I do it. Let's pretend like I'm doing a post on fun sandals for summer and want to do a collage for the blog post.
1. Start with a blank document
Everyone will have a different dimension depending on the width of the posts in their blog. My blog post width is 500px and I typically start with a length of 1000px. (I might keep it short, cropped down to 750px. Or long at 1250px depending on the layout and number of products I want to include.)
2. Open your images
I always open images separately, so they're in their own document.
3. Isolate the product (aka get rid of the background)
This is really the biggest thing and probably what gets most people hung up. There are a few ways you can isolate the product. Magic Wand, Polygonal Lasso, or Magnetic Lasso. If you're lucky, the image is on a white background like these J. Crew sandals.
This is super simple and easy. Click on the Magic Wand Tool, set the tolerance to 10, and click on the background. You'll see the background highlight with a dotted line, and the outline of the product will be highlighted as well! While that's selected, right click, and choose "select inverse." This highlights the product only, literally isolating it from the background. Then right click again and choose "layer via copy." This creates a new layer that is the product only.
Once you have the product isolated, drag that layer (make sure you're clicking the layer with just the product) over to your blank document.
Sometimes there is a background that doesn't work very well with the Magic Wand Tool. The Magnetic Lasso is great because it "sticks" to the outline of the product way easily!!! Just click on the Magnetic Lasso tool, make one click to start the trail, and just glide your mouse around the product, you shouldn't need to click... but you can if the trail isn't sticking to the product (like around a shadow).
When you get back around to your starting point, a tiny open circle will pop up, clicking that will "close" the outline. Then you just right click and layer via copy. Drag that layer over to your blank document as well.
Sometimes the product won't cooperate with the Magic Wand or the Magnetic Lasso. Then you have to be a little patient and go with the Polygonal Lasso. You basically create points around the product, similar to tracing.
Then it's the same pattern. Right click, layer via copy, and drag the product to your new document.
4. Rename layers
Once you have all the products in your blank document, rename the layers so you know what you're working with.
5. Resize the products to be consistent
Resize and rotate layers as necessary! The shortcut (at least on my computer/version) is command+t. This brings the "free transform" up. You can make the product bigger or smaller and even rotate by dragging the corners. Click the shift key while doing this to keep the ratio the same (aka you won't distort the product).
6. Rearrange and save
Once you get more comfortable with the tools and tricks, you can really do anything. You can add text, add tons of products, come up with cool layouts, whatever your heart desires!!! Save the document and then upload to your blog!
Explaining Photoshop is kind of tricky, but hopefully you feel confident enough now to at least give it a try. No one will be perfect when you start. The best way to learn is to experiment, watch Youtube videos, and just simply play around with it! The more you play, the more you'll learn. You may even find a better way that works for you, this is just how I've been doing it for years!
Any other blog-related things you'd love to learn?