• Adding Photos and Shadows to Vintage Frames

    Designer Digitals offers a wide array of frame sets which can be used to enhance the look of photos on your scrapbook pages. Many of the frames are designed with custom shadows. Some sets like some of Katie Pertiet's Vintage Photo Frames are delivered as PNG frames without shadows. These images are single-layer frames with a transparent "window". You use them by positioning your photo behind the window so that the picture peeks through.

    After dropping the photo into place, you'll add a drop shadow to the framed photo so that it looks like it is attached to the page with the light casting a slight shadow. This makes your project look more realistic and gives it dimension. But you'll also want to make sure that the photo looks like it's actually printed on the vintage paper of these frames, not glued underneath it. In the previous tip, we explored one method for doing both. Here's another technique for achieving the same results:

    • Begin by opening a photo and a digital frame in Photoshop or PSE. Use a flat PNG frame with no shadow to play along. For the sample, I'm using one of Katie Pertiet's Vintage Photo Frames No. 49.
    • Open a piece of digital paper, a scrapbook document or a new blank document. Use the Move tool to drag the photo and the frame onto that document.
    • In the Layers panel, drag the photo layer under the frame layer. Then reposition the frame and the photo on the document so that the image peeks out from under the frame opening.
    • Resize and reposition the photo to make it fit into the frame. Target the photo layer and press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform controls. Once you see the bounding box surrounding the photo, you can drag the corner to resize the image. Note: If your image is becoming distorted as you drag, undo and hold the Shift key as you drag. Some versions of the software require the Shift and others do not in order to maintain the original aspect ratio. Tick the checkmark to confirm the change after resizing.
    • Note: If you still have excess photo sticking out behind the frame, refer to our tip on How to Use Torn and Ripped Photo Frames to non-destructively mask out the portions of the photo you donít need.
    • Now you'll want to add that shadow to make the frame look like it's glued to the background. If you add a shadow the photo layer, it doesn't show up behind the frame. And if you add a shadow to the frame itself, your photo looks like it's stuck behind instead of printed on the vintage paper with a border around it. So the problem is how to get the shadow around the frame without getting it inside the frame. Like most things Photoshop, there are several ways to accomplish this. Here's a way that is different from the previous tip.
    • Add a shadow to the frame layer by double-clicking the frame layer outside of the layer name to bring up the layer styles dialog. Under fx, choose Drop Shadow and tweak the shadow settings. Or go to Window > Styles to apply an installed, purchased shadow style to the layer. In PSE, go to Window > Styles and choose Drop Shadow or the name of a purchased shadow set from the Layer Styles drop-down menu. Click the shadow you want to use.
    • Now move the shadow to its own layer. In PS, right-click on the fx icon on the right side of the frame layer. Choose Create Layer. This creates a new layer named drop shadow. Drag this layer under the photo layer in the layers panel. In PSE, your workaround is to copy the frame layer. Select the frame layer and press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard. This creates a frame copy. Drag this frame copy layer underneath the photo layer in the layers panel. Now drag the fx icon on the top frame to the trash bin at the top of the layers panel. This deletes the shadow from the frame on the top, but leaves the shadow under the photo layer where you want it.
    • Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) the frame, photo and shadow layers to select all three at the same time. Click the link icon in the layers panel to link them together. This keeps them perfectly aligned so that when you move one of them, they all move together.


    Whether you prefer this technique or the method in the previous tip, you'll know how to get the vintage look you want with the shadow appropriately placed.