Friday, July 23, 2010
Frugal Friday: Photo Editing without the Expensive Software
This past week I spent a couple of hours cleaning out my big box-o-photos. I systematically went through and separated out the photos that I will never scrap; pictures that I do still need to scrap and ended up with a nice little pile of photos that were destined for the garbage (don’t panic here, these are extra prints and/or bad pictures).
My little mind began stewing, what can I do with these? And I came up with a few ideas to share with you.
Because there are so many ideas…I am going to break them out over the next several weeks, but this is what you can expect:
& Shaping Fun
Think of it like photo editing without the expensive software…and I promise, 99.9% of the supplies needed will already be in your stash of tools!
One word of forewarning, these ideas and techniques will permanently alter your photographs. Do not, I repeat DO NOT try this on any photos that are one of a kind, without negative or digital back-up or are antique photos. If you would like to use an antique or one-of-a-kind photo, I suggest you scan them and reproduce them, using the reproduction to play with. This probably seems really logical; I just feel better stating it before we start…
This week I am going to start off with Distressing Fun!
These are few tried and true techniques that I use quite frequently, both in my editing software and on printed photos. In my software program these are action such as vintage photo, antiqued, old paper, edge burn among others.
Each technique can be done subtly or over-the-top! Your choice, just have fun and experiment!
1st: Distressing Edges
There are a couple of ways to accomplish this technique. The easiest and cheapest way is to use the edge of a scissor blade. Please be careful trying this.
Simply open up the scissor blades and gentle running the photo edge along the blade, in one direction, repeatedly. The more pressure you use the quicker the edge will fray.
But too much pressure may tear the photo…but hey, that’s a neat look all on its own!
There are a few distressing tools on the market; Tim Holtz/Tonic Studios Paper Distresser ($5.50); the Stampin’ Up Cutter Kit (comes with additional tools for $19), the Heidi Swapp Distresser and the Zutter Distrezz-it-All ($40).
The Tonic Studio, Stampin’ Up and Heidi Swapp distressers work in pretty much the same way.
Simply place the photo in the slots and run the internally housed blade along the edge repeatedly. To achieve a more worn look, try running the blade back and forth along the photo edge…
The Distrezz-it-All is a small electric machine that runs a cylindrical blade similar to a pencil sharpener.
The photo is placed in the opening and distressing magic takes place.
I love sanding the edges of my photos. It really gives a neat effect and again, can be done subtly or not so subtly. There are several scrapbooking produced products on the market.
I personally have both the Precision File Set by Basic Grey ($6.99) and Tim Holtz’s Sanding Grip ($5.99). I prefer the sanding grip, but found that a simple piece of sanding paper from the garage works just as fine. There are several grits of sanding paper from super fine (1000) to extra coarse (24), but if you need to purchase it for scrapbooking, just buy the cheap stuff which is usually labeled ‘fine’, ‘medium’ or ‘coarse’.
For sanding, start slowly and run the sandpaper along the edges of the picture.
You will achieve a different look by sanding parallel with the edge
or in a circular motion.
I generally try to round the corners,
but sometimes I leave the corners cross-hatched.
Occasionally I find that with the home printed pictures I will actually accidentally lift off some of the printed image…just go with it…have fun and make it work (or re-print the picture and start over, your call)
I generally use Tim Holtz Distress Inks ($5) for inking on my pictures; Distress Inks stays wet a bit longer are transparent and can be quite subtle, depending on the color.
You can ink over the plain edges of your photo, using either the ink pad...
or an ink blending tool ($5), this is similar to an “edge burn” in photo editing software.
Or achieve a very vintage look by inking over the distressed edges
or sanded edges.
If you don’t have any Distress Inks on hand, try using a chalk ink like Clearsnap’s Cat’s Eye Fluid Chalk Ink ($2) or Tsukineko Versamagic Dew Drop ($2.50). The chalk inks are more opaque on the surface of the photo, but the end result is very similar.
If you are thinking that these distressing techniques are too much for your everyday layouts…take a look at the samples below, both layouts have distressed picture edges but the subtlety of the distressing makes them fit right in on the traditional layouts.
Or for something a bit more artsy…here is an over-the-top distressed picture…a layout destined for the wall above my nightstand. (This layout is still a work in progress…)
So was the experiment worth it? Here is the tally:
Cost: Varies…I have all of these items on hand…and I bet most of you have them on hand too, otherwise I tried to list the prices above. But it still beats the cost of editing software ($80 - $700)
Fun Factor: Super…one of my favorite things to do!
Time: Not too long, but there may be a learning curve. I got all of these samples (excluding the layouts) done in about 30 minutes…
Skill Level: Intermediate
So there it is, Fun Photo Distressing! Easy Peasy…and Cheap! Cheap!
And remember to check back next week for Water Fun!