Tutorial: Blending a Photo into a Background

I love the look of photographs that have been blended into a background paper.   Today let’s take a look at a few examples of this technique and then review how easy it is to do.

This layout was created by Norma, a member of my Creative Team, using Firm Foundation. (Edit 2020: This kit is not currently available). I really like how Norma blended this lovely photo of her and her Dad into the background, then included the color photo in her cluster.


In this layout, Norma placed her photo into a photo frame and blended just the edges of the photo into her background.

Here’s another example from Cathy, also a Team Member.  I really like how Cathy has highlighted her husband by blending his image into the paper strip below her cluster.

Here’s how to accomplish this look:

1. Place a photo above a background paper layer.  For this tutorial, I have used 2 papers, simply because I liked the look.  Vintage Overlays Set 1, paper 3 is set at 100% opacity, and Firm Foundation Paper 19 is set at 75% opacity. My photo is the top layer.


2.  Change the Blend Mode of your photo, selecting the effect that you like best.  I chose Screen for this photo.

(Need a quick review of what Blend Modes are? See Blend Modes – Just what are they? and How to Quickly Change Blend Modes.)


3. Experiment with the opacity of your photo. I set mine at 81%, using the Opacity Option at the top of the Layers Panel. There’s nothing magic about that number. I just moved the slider, keeping my eye on the photo, and stopped when I was happy with what I saw.


4. If you are happy with the results, you are done. I didn’t like the harsh lines along the edge of my photo, and I wanted a little more of the background paper design to show thru on the top and left edges of the document.


I placed a mask on my photo and brushed away the parts of the photo I didn’t want. (Using Layer Masks in Photoshop.) Here is the result:


That’s all there is to it!


When you experiment with this technique, or any technique you learn through our tutorials, we encourage you to upload your results to our Gallery! Show off your hard work!  Please include the name of the tutorial and provide a link to it, in case some of our readers missed it!



Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the tutorial on theStudio’s blogpost to find the link to download this Firm Foundation free Stacker to practice with!


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Comment (1)

  1. Stacey

    another excellent tutorial and beautiful gift! thanks so much! those lessons really helped me understand the tutorial more for sure!

    June 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm
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