One of my favorite things to do on my layouts is use what I think of as a "background photograph" as the place I put my title or journaling. Yep, right on top of the picture! Quite often I add the text in Photoshop, but I've also put sticker letters, die-cut words, or stamped phrases on top of the photo. For example, in this layout I put my title on top of a wildflower photograph:
I like that the image combined with the title adds a little bit more to the story I'm trying to tell. It becomes a sort of personalized embellishment.
If you want to use a background photo on your layouts, though, you have to plan ahead a little bit. While you're taking pictures of an event or an experience, watch for images that would make good background photos. You want to leave some white space (though quite often the space isn't actually white, of course!) that you can later fill with text. Also include something that connects to the place or the experience. I often find myself down on my belly taking pictures that later become the background for text—odd angles are always interesting!
Here are ten ideas for taking background photos...watch for them on your summer adventures:
1. Flowers and trees. I confess: I have a weakness for photographing flowers. I can't resist their colors and textures. Same with trees. Like in the layout above, I use a lot of my flora photographs as background images. It's like keeping the flowers with me forever!
2. Feet. But not just any feet—feet doing something. Wearing cute shoes, dangling in chilly water, racing through sand. They tell a good story. Just leave a bit of space for writing in.
4. Garden details. I admire beautiful gardens and try to snap photos of them whenever I find myself in one. The background photo in this layout (I put the journaling on top of it) is from a water fountain that was in the garden where the wedding was held.
I liked the shape of the fountain, and the water with the mountain in the background, so I took the picture (even though my sister-in-law thought I was weird!) just because I liked it. It became a perfect background photo for the layout.
5. Sunsets. The visual drama is a perfect spot for a powerful title.
6. Related objects. Bowling pins at your best friend's fortieth birthday party. A pile of seashells at the beach. The mess left on the counter after your daughter's prom preparation. Almost anything you experience has the potential for objects that tell a story. Photograph them!
7. Beachscapes. The beach is full of "white" space...usually those beautiful shades of turquoise and blue. I like to include people in my beachscape photos because they give a sense of scale to all that beauty.
8. Natural landscapes. I tend to take a lot of photos of nature when I'm outside. It's one of my favorite things about going hiking. Watch for interesting perspectives—as with this picture, I like to include something small balanced against the larger vista:
9. Man made landscapes. This can range from your favorite spot in Disneyland to the architecture of a busy street in New York. The pond and water fountain in this photo are both man made (the ducks aren't!)
10. Signs. Signs in a background photo serve double duty...they are visually interesting and they let the viewer know where you are. (Sort of like a subtitle for your layout, yes?) I take photos of signs nearly everywhere we go, and I find them endlessly useful.
Have you ever used background photos in your layouts? What other images would you add to this list?