{the art of photo layout...}

picnik is closing in april. for those who don't use picnik (myself included), the online service allows you to edit and embellish your photos, and many bloggers (and non-bloggers) use it. the website states that the company is moving to google, but it's unclear to me whether the availability of the service will remain. 

i know many of you expressed sadness/frustration when the announcement was made last week. i thought it might be helpful to share with you what i use to edit photos and create layouts. warning: what i'm about to share is only good for mac users who have the pages ($20 via the app store) and iphoto software installed on their computer. that being said and because i'm not sure how many of you fall into that category, i will provide a very basic tutorial. however, please feel free to either leave a comment or email me directly with any further questions you may have. i'm definitely here to help.

i also want to add that it is my absolute dream to attend blogshop and learn proper photoshop one day. (i do have photoshop elements and will use it when a project requires more than what these two programs can handle.) pages is just my work around and happy medium for now.


special notes:
  • source images on the web that you want to use in your layout (always credit). i either drag and drop the photo onto my desktop or save it in my Wishpot account, always with the proper credit link.
  • or, use your own photos. i use either my iphone or lumix to take my own photos.
    • when i upload my images to the computer, they automatically get dumped into iphoto, which is an image organizer and editing tool. you can edit (adjust color, contrast, brighten, add a filter) and size your images in iphoto.
and there you have it. i admit, my process probably takes a bit more time than picnik, but it's more user friendly than photoshop? there are many more tricks i can share. but, as i mentioned above, i purposely kept this tutorial very basic. please ping me with any questions and do let me know if this post was helpful. i'm also curious to know whether you use a mac or pc.

ps~please know that i am by no means an expert on, well,  anything. the method i use to create photo layouts is one that makes sense to me, but is by no means the best method. please, please feel to share any tips you may have to offer.

image source clockwise: lonny / lonny / anthropologie / room & board

11 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. Gah! That seems faaaar more confusing that using Photoshop, I have to say. The ability to be able to just save something as a jpg or png without having to take a screen shot of it is a HUGE benefit. I've been working in Photoshop for years, though, so I'm more comfortable with it (getting a degree in Photojournalism certainly lends itself to spending hours in Photoshop) but the process is basically the same. You just open a new document ad you can decide the dimensions right then. Next you just copy and paste your images onto the new document, and size them as you would in Pages. To keep the proportions constrained, you can hold down shift while you make the photo smaller. Then it's just a matter of moving each image around and putting them where you want. And again, when you're all done, you just hit file, save as and it saves it as whatever file format you want. No need for print-screens!!

    You might be able to pick up a copy of an older version of Photoshop on ebay or craigslist (I'm running CS5 now, but moved up from CS2 and don't think there's that huge of a difference) and there are hundreds of youtube videos that can work as tutorials. Though Blogshop does look like it's a good time.

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  2. Well, hmmm. This is very interesting. I've used photoshop too. The cheapo Elements version and even lightroom for layouts, and I still find the templates in Picnick easier. This is interesting, I have to say, and I love your tutorial!

    I can't tell at all what Picnick is going to do, and that's the most frustrating part. I'm just going to have to dig in and create some templates on my own. Grumble.

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  3. Theresa, I agree with Erin.. PS so much easier.. never used picnick.

    Thank you for sharing though as always good to know other ways. Is there anything else than Macs?:)

    Blogshop looks fun but believe that it's impossible to learn so much info in a short time. Much prefer youtube or lynda.com. However, the social and networking must be fun.

    Lauren, a lot of people seem to find picnick easier. As I've never used it I am assuming it has to do with how comfortable we are with certain programs. Photoshop is quite sophisticated and sometimes that's off putting. Erin's explanation was spot on and if you need help, just ask!

    Erin, might ask you a few things from time to time:)

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  4. hello theresa, thank you! i rarely alter my pictures, but when i made collages, it was in picnik. i'll look at what you are using. needed this!

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  5. @ERIN - Thank you for this addition. Really helpful. You actually inspired me to create the layout for tomorrow's post in PSE. It took some time (as all unfamiliar and unpracticed tasks do), but after a while I got it done! You know, that's a great idea to buy an older version of PS online at a discounted price. Thanks for the idea!

    @LAUREN - Gosh, the uncertainty of Picnik would be frustrating. From what I've gathered, it does seem that Picnik is user friendly and intuitive...i.e., upload photos and plop them into a template? Sort of like when you make those photo books on Shutterfly?

    @TINA - Hm, Linda.com, I've never heard of her/it. My husband is always telling me, "If you want to learn something, just YouTube it." He's right...It (and Google) is how I taught myself how to do a little customization on my blog.

    @NOREEN - Well, glad the tutorial was a little helpful. If you do give it a try and need an ear, I'm here. :)

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  6. I've been using templates in PSE which I find really easy. What I like about them is that you don't have to crop the photos first if you only want to show a detail. I found a brilliant demo on the web but annoyingly didn't save it as I'd share it. I find it really quick to use.

    I've never thought of using pages but I know another blogger who uses Keynotes to make her concept boards and they look really good.

    We're all feeling our way with this so it's great to share how we do things. Thanks T!

    I was looking at Blogshop the other day as it's in London in March but OMG it was $750 for a two day course! I thought that was extortionate so passed on that one.

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  7. I took a design class through the UCSD Extension program that covered the entire Adobe Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, etc.) and it was great. Each course was focused on one program and lasted 6 to 8 weeks (2 nights a week.) I agree that it would be tough to learn everything there is to know about Photoshop in a two day class... seems like the time and money would be better spent at a junior college or even at CSULB (probably cheaper.) You already have a great eye and design sense so it's not like you need to learn that from the BlogShop gals... just the Photoshop skills to pull it all together! Though it does look like fun and good networking;) I admire your savviness to come up with this workaround in Pages!!

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  8. Thank you thank you thank you! I am one of the picnik users who doesn't own photoshop and am trying to figure out a new platform for editing my blog photos. I just added pages to my Mac and I'm excited to try it out! Thank you for this FAB tutorial! I've also recently used Pixlr (free online editing tool similar to Picnik) which was pretty straightforward for making collages.

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  9. @ANNIE - You know, I bet I can find that demo. Thanks for the tip and reminding me that learning anything these days is just a google search away.

    @TPS - A CC or CSULB course is a great idea! Your course taught the whole suite? That is definitely worth the money. Thank you for the vote of confidence. It's always nice to receive as I'm working in my one-woman bubble over here ;)

    @JENNIFER - You are most welcome. I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know how you like it and, if you have any question, don't hesitate to ping me.

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  10. Theresa-
    I've just been playing around with Pages and had
    a couple of questions: how did you get the blue lines to show up?
    is there another way of saving the layout other than screen shot? Screen shot makes the pictures show a bit less clear.
    Thanks! Teri

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  11. Tips for mac only boo hoo (sniff sniff). My office uses Picnik alot so we r def one of the ones that r very sad to see it go since it saved us sooo much time in framing pics. We have Photoshop, but again Picnik was a quick drop in, frame, add text ... boo hoooo back to my crying :( Oh well, the show must go on :) Have a great day!!!

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