Whether you’re creating a collage for a family memento or prepping photos for insertion into your work-in-progress LIFEazine project, achieving a good balance and flow between photographs can be difficult. 

Luckily, we have just the solution: this blog! 

In this article, we’ll go over the best (and most basic) tips we have for creating stunning photos that look like they were professionally taken. Here are our top 10 most helpful photography tips: 


#1: Check Opacity

Opacity is a common tool used in photo editing that determines how visible or see-through your photo is. Generally, you’ll see it implemented in the form of a draggable dial so that you’re better able to select the opacity that best suits you. 

Oftentimes, using photos that are too colorful or busy as a background to text can make the text hard to read. In these cases, you can easily adjust your image opacity so that your readers/viewers can appreciate both the photo AND the story.


#2: Never Underestimate Lighting

Lighting is a powerful tool in photographs and can make all the difference. For example, if you’re going for a very light-colored and aesthetically pleasing design but it’s being bogged down by dark photos, then your style is going to conflict in a very harsh way. 

In cases like these, you can edit your photos in apps such as Canva, SnapSeed, or Photoshop and use the brightness tool for a lighter photo that’s much easier on the eyes! 


#3: Blur Can be Good (Sometimes)

Again, if photos are too busy, it can be a hassle to look at anything else on the page—including specific elements of the photo in question! 

A common way to fix this during editing is to use what is called a blurred vignette. Essentially, this creates an adjustable ring around the outer edges of your photo that can be adjusted inward to cover more pictured objects, or made to be more or less blurry. 

By utilizing this tool, you can easily clean up a photograph to focus around a specific object or person, effectively making them the highlight of the page. 


#4: Avoid Zooming and Cropping if Possible

Zooming and cropping during the editing process can be incredibly detrimental to your photo quality. 

This happens because your photo, when taken, has a specific resolution and a specific number of pixels. In print-ready magazines, this resolution is usually around 1920 by 1080. 

When you crop or zoom in on that photo, however, you enlarge those pixels and make the photo seem blurrier or more pixelled than it otherwise would. So, instead, opt to use other techniques in this article to get rid of unwanted objects in your pictures! 


#5: Preselect Photos for Better Organization

With creating photo collages and magazines, planning is everything. For the best results with LIFEazine (and other photo collages as well), we recommend preselected photos and putting them in a specific file or folder for easy access. Then, have a look at the page layouts you want to use and predetermine which photos should go where. 


#6: Embrace Filters

When you aren’t experienced with photo editing, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Using apps and programs with pre-made filters can be a lifesaver in these situations. 

VSCO, for example, is a photo editing app that you download on your phone and which comes with tons of pre-created filters you can apply to your photo and make it look totally different! Not only does this minimize the work you have to do on your photos, but it also helps save you time! 


#7: Don’t Be Afraid to Not Use a Photo

When you have tons of photos that you love, it can be difficult to sort through and decide which ones should be used in your LIFEazine or collage and which ones shouldn’t. However, it’s important to understand that even if you decide not to use a photo, you’ll still have that picture! It just won’t be in your magazine. 

It can be hard to leave details out, especially when you’re creating a LIFEazine that tells your life story. But there’s nothing wrong with keeping some of those photos for yourself. 


#8: Contrast is Your Friend

We’ve talked a lot about what happens when photos are too busy, but what about when you can’t see enough of them? 

When this happens, contrast is bound to be your best friend. By adjusting your photo’s contrast, you make all the elements within easier to see. This is a technique that is usually used for stand-alone photos rather than backgrounds, but you could use it for a background as well if need be.


#9: When All Else Fails, Go Black and White

At the end of the day, sometimes you just can’t get a picture to look the way you “pictured” in your head (haha, see what I did there?)

In cases like these, there is always the option of applying a simple, black and white filter to your photo. This will make it much easier to and simpler to edit, as well as add a touch of class to your LIFEazine. 


#10: Don’t Be Scared of Imperfections

At the end of the day, you aren’t a professional photographer, and your photos will inevitably have imperfections. 

The most important thing to realize is that those imperfections are as much a part of your life as the photos and stories you’re telling. Instead of trying the scrub them away, try leaving them intact and letting them tell parts of your story that you can’t find the words to.


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