Taphophile Corner - Christmas cards

So you've spent the year browsing cemeteries… what will you do with all of the photos you took?  I have a fun idea to share with you, and I just can't wait to get started!

The main photo at the top of this blog is a fantastic example of the versatility of the art work found in the cemetery. If you are considering an inspirational seasonal image for a Christmas card, you can't beat the cemetery. It is a gold mine for angels and other iconic religious symbols. A closeup of the Greek symbol  – Chi Rho – on a stone would also be a great option for a card, just add "the Reason for the Season" as your caption.

In just a few steps, you too can have a card-ready image that will impress your friends. To capture the image seen here, I waited until the end of the day and strategically placed the setting sun behind the dove in the angel's hand. The effect is great! I use this technique a lot to add brilliance to an image. The sun at the end of the day adds warmth to photos… this is called "the golden hour" in filming.

Now that you have a photo ready to go… open up your favorite editing program. My program of choice is Adobe Elements, but anything that allows you to work with multiple layers is preferred. If you don't have an advanced editing program on your computer, there are some great ones online. You might want to check out Photobucket or Picnik.

The card above was done in just 3 layers. Here's how: First do any basic editing to the original, crop out distractions, correct lighting and color, you get it. Then add any special filters or effects you are partial to. Play around with a few, nothing is permanent till you hit save (Never save over your original! Always use the SAVE AS option) 

Step 2: Open a new layer. From the options menu choose Layer –> New –> Layer  then hit –>OK.  In this layer I used the text tool to add a text box to which I added the words from the song Ave Maria. I copy & pasted them from a lyric site right into the text box. Make any spacing correction needed to fill the entire background. Next use the opacity slider to fade out the text to your desired level of prominence.  Looking good? OK, now for the magic!  Choose the eraser tool with a soft edge to erase the words away from the part of your image that you want to stand out. Make sure the text layer is highlighted in the tray on this step or you will erase the background photo instead.

Step 3: Open another layer and again open up a text box, write any greeting or such that you wish.  Note: Items in the side layer column can be moved around. make sure your final greeting is at the top of the stack. If you lose a layer, make sure the background photo is the last one listed and not on top of another layer. To make changes to a layer, make sure it is the layer highlighted in the column.

That's It!  Hope you had fun making your card.  This projects all done… now on to the gingerbread cookies!




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