It’s time for another Tidbit Tuesday – and this week I have a tip about taking creative self portraits or “selfies.”  How many of you are involved in Project Love Me, or resolved to get more photos of yourself this year?  I have to say that I am definitely someone who loves to take photos, but I tend to shy away from including myself in the frame.  This year I decided to take on the Project Love Me Challenge and joined the Sweet Shoppe Facebook group to help prompt me along the way.  You can start at any time, so if you’re interested go to THIS POST in the SSD forum and join us!

So, on with the tip . . . I take my weekly selfies with my DSLR camera and a trigger remote.  I’ve had a lot of fun following along with the Facebook Group prompts and coming up with different poses and photo compositions, but – let’s face it – posing options are somewhat limited, even with a trigger remote.  In response to a couple of recent prompts, I decided to use my iPhone as a photo prop.  I love the creative effect it adds and how you can change up the focus of the photo just by adjusting the focal point of the camera (and the aperture setting).  Compare these two photos:


In the left photo, the focus is on the phone and the aperture is set at 2.8.  In the right photo, the focus is on both the subject and the phone with an aperture of 5.0.

So how did I get the smaller photos in the iPhone?  With a super easy and quick technique.  🙂

Just follow these simple steps:

1.  Use the polygonal lasso tool to make a selection around the screen on the phone.

2.  With the selection still active, create a new layer above the photo and fill the selection with any color.  I usually click either Ctrl or Alt/Backspace and fill it with the foreground or background color.  It really doesn’t matter what color you use, though, because this layer will be a clipping mask for the smaller photo.

3.  Now clip the photo you want to appear in the phone screen to the clipping mask you created in step 2 by placing it above the mask, pressing the Alt key, hovering the mouse between the two layers until a box and arrow appear and then left clicking on your mouse.

4.  Now the photo should be safely tucked inside your phone.  You may need to adjust the perspective of the photo if the phone isn’t completely parallel to the camera lens.  You can do this by putting the photo in transform mode (Ctrl T), hitting Ctrl key again and, while holding it down, moving the squares on the edges of the photo until its perspective matches the orientation of the phone.  You can avoid this step altogether by making sure that the phone is parallel to the camera lens when you take the photo.

5.  An OPTIONAL last step is to add a haze layer on top of the phone photo (to make it appear more realistic).  To do this, add a layer above the phone photo and clip it to the photo.  Now fill it with white, change the blend mode to soft light and reduce its opacity until you like the effect.  I generally set the opacity between 15 and 25.

And that is it!  Imagine all the creative possibilities with this effect.  You don’t have to limit it to cell phones either – try it with digital tablets, laptops or even your desktop screen.

Here are some additional tips for taking the original photo that will help to make this technique easier:

1.  As mentioned above, make sure the phone is parallel to the camera.  Also try to position yourself so that there is little or no glare on the phone screen.  You will be masking this part out so a little glare is OK, but it is easier to select the screen if you keep it to a minimum.

2.  Make sure that no part of your fingers or fingernails overlap the phone screen.  I learned this lesson the hard way the first few times I took iPhone photos and realized that I had to extract around my fingers to make the clipping mask of the screen.

3.  Selective focus is a great way to add creative effect to  your photo, but always make sure that the entire phone and the part of your hand on the phone is in focus.  Otherwise, you will need to blur the insert photo to make it look realistic.

I hope you have fun with this technique and it gives some good ideas for making your own creative selfies!  Oh, and once you start taking those selfies, don’t forget to scrap them. 🙂  Here is one that I scrapped with Shawna’s Dare 2 Be kit:


Until next time ~