playing with bits one byte at a time

Tutorial on using my Photo Pockets

I was reminded that I promised a tutorial on using my Photo Pockets … so here we go. The example I’m going to use is a layout I did with my newest kit Chasing the Sun and my Photo Pockets Pocket Templates 2 (I used template 5). To see the screenshots better, just click on them for the full size image.

Tutorial on using my Photo Pockets

Step 1 — obviously it’s open the template in Photoshop or whatever graphics program you’re using. The first thing I do is delete the text layer (the one that says delete this text).

photo_pockets_step 1

Step 2 – I start adding my photos. Note the little chain links on the layers? I’ve linked the pockets and clipping masks so that they move together (as in you don’t get a pocket on one side of the page and the clipping masks somewhere else). Also, a little trick, if you select the clipping mask (CMD/CTL click on the layer thumbnail), when you drag in your photo, it will be centered within the selection.

photo_pockets_step 2

Step 3 – Since the photo is larger than the clipping mask, I “clip” it to the mask. You can do this by right clicking on the layer and selecting Create Clipping Mask or do it the easy way by placing your cursor on the line between the two layers and click while holding down the OPT/ALT key.

photo_pockets_step 3

Step 4 – I bring in the rest of my photos, resizing and clipping them. The great thing about these pockets is I can quickly crop out things I don’t want (as in the person laying on my pristine beach).

photo_pockets_step 4

Step 5 – Time for the journal card. From my 4×6 Journal Cards pack, I use one already sized for my pockets, which makes this really easy. Just select the mask and drop the card in (or copy/paste it in).

photo_pockets_step 5

Step 6 – I then added my text on top of the card.

photo_pockets_step 6

Step 7 – My pockets are pretty much done for now. Since I’ll be adding stuff to the background, I group them to make things easier.

photo_pockets_step 7

Step 8 – I added one of my papers from the Scenic Papers pack for the background.

photo_pockets_step 8

Step 9 – I then added in some graphical elements to create a mini scene.

photo_pockets_step 9

Step 10 – Rather than leave things completely flat, I did a very slight drop shadow on the chair and the tree. For the foot prints, I did a pillow emboss so they looked more realistic.

photo_pockets_step 10

Step 11 – After looking at my layout, I feel like the contents in my pockets look kind of dull, so I decided to fix that by playing with the opacity of the layer containing the pockets. The idea is that the pockets should enhance, not overpower, your layout. In the case of my layout, I set the opacity at 57% … just play with the slider until you get something you like.

photo_pockets_step 11

Final Step — save your layout and show it to the world.

I’m hoping that showing you how I use the photo pockets will give you some new ideas on how you can use them. However, if you have any questions, feel free to email me or post them in the comments below.




  1. Thanks, Jill, for the Tutorial. Very clear instructions!

  2. Thanks for the freebie! I cannot wait to use it — several times!

  3. Hay Jill!!!! I think FINALLY got it!!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!

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