Here is my finished quick page. Click on the preview below to download it.
SUBJECT: Blending a photo into a background page
PROGRAM: PSE8 (can be adapted for other versions of PSE, notes provided for Photoshop)
PREREQUISITES: Familiarity with layers and the layers palette, dragging and dropping photos and elements onto a page and resizing
Start by downloading and unzipping the complimentary background paper and clipping mask to use as you go through this tutorial. Download here.
Start PSE/Photoshop and open the background paper and clipping mask. Click on the clipping mask and drag it onto the background paper canvas. Position the clipping mask so the straight edge is flush with one of the canvas edges.
The next step is to ‘clip’ your photo to the photo mask. In Photoshop, right click on the photo layer in the layers palette and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’ from the drop down menu. In Photoshop Element, use keystroke Ctrl+G.
The above three instructions (the hard light blend mode, brightness/contrast adjustment and low opacity) are just some of several possible blending recipes. You can refine your look by playing with other blending modes such as Overlay, Pin Light and Luminosity. Additionally you can duplicate the photo layer and set each photo layer at different blend modes and opacity until you find just the right look for your page.
If there are still parts of your photo that you don’t want, use a large soft eraser brush on the photo layer to remove them.
The background paper is easily recolorable. To do so, click on the background layer in the layers palette to set it as the active layer. In PSE go to Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation. In PS, go to Image>Adjustment>Hue/Saturation.