Aww blending there is so many options when it comes to photo blending, not to mention layout blending. Here I'm just going to mention a few of my favorite blending techniques. I will be using Adobe Photoshop CS4, but I know most programs have blending options. Please ask if you don't know where to find them. We're all here to learn.
As always there are several ways to do things, I am just going to give you the way I have found to work best for me.
Full Color Blend
This is a fun blend I learned in my digital art days. I find I don't use it nearly as much with photos as I did with digital art, but every now and again it comes in handy.
CS4 has an adjustment mode called photo filter. This is an easy adjustment to do manually and I prefer having more control anyway.
First I'll actually show you an example, then I'll show ya how to do it.
I'll give you an example from my digital art, but this surely can apply to your photos as well.
usually with my digital art I am taking pieces from several different photos and chopping them together.
There that's kinda pretty, but it doesn't portray the "feel" I want. Using some simple blending modes I came up with this.
To get this effect I opened a new layer and filled it with a light brown. I then set the blending mode to Color. This turns everything brown. This is a fabulous way to get a very controlled sepia tone. But, that's not what I was wanted. After playing for awhile I put my color blend to 64% opacity.
Next I added another new layer and filled it with dark blue. I set the blending mode on this one to Overlay. It looked far too dark so I changed the opacity to 48%.
There's no special secret to this technique. Just play with colors and opacities till you get what you want. brown and blue are my favorite combination. Brown and green also work well together. An orange overlay will give you a warmer feel, where a blue overlay will give it a cooler feel. This can be handy when trying to match your picture to a kit you've chosen to use. Play with the opacities to give an artistic yet natural look. You don't want to go overboard and make it too dark.
Perhaps by now you are familiar with the Dodge and Burn tool. No? Well you should be cause they are great tools! The name comes from a dark room method of lightening or darkening a spacific spot on the film. All I can say is YAY for the digital age!
You probably have a dodge and burn tool they look like this:
But, we're not going to use those tools right now. We're going to use a blending mode that had the same effect.
I'm going to take this picture and make it a bit more dimensional.
First add a new layer above this one. Set it to Overlay Blending mode. Now paint on that layer with black or white. Black (burn) will make parts darker (I'll use on the edges) and White (dodge) will make parts lighter. (I'll use on the subject.) I use a fairly large soft brush.
If the effect is too strong, as mine certainly is, you can then reduce the opacity of your overlay layer.
I changed my opacity to 53%. Of course you can always do your white and black on two seperate layers and can then adjust the opacity individually on each.
You can make a smooth gradient to give a more gradual even effect.
Sometimes you may want to add some texture to your photos. This can add a neat look!
You can find textures all over the place. Check flickr or photobucket, or just make your own! Go out and take a close up picture of the sidewalk, or fence or tree. Inside you can try the bath mat, the ceiling, the recliner. Texture is everywhere! Take advantage of it!
This sidewalk texture is one of my favorites.
Place your texture over your photo and play with the blending modes and opacity till you get something you like. You may be surprised at which blending mode ends up looking the best.
For this I took my photo from before with the dodge/burn overlay and added a brown color blend at 41% Then added my side walk texture with a Linear Light blend mode at 65% opacity.
You can do all sorts of things with textures.
Wood texture - overlay blend mode - 75% opacity
Shredded texture - color dodge blend mode - 71% opacity
marble texture - Hard Light blend mode - 54% opacity
As you can see your possabilities are endless! Have fun playing, but again I beg you keep it somewhat natural. You are showing off the subject of the picture NOT the texture itself.
That should be enough to keep you playing for awhile, but in case you wanted 1 more here ya go.
When making this layout I realized the original photo I chose did not match my chosen kit as well as I'd like it too. Rather than changing the kit, I edited my picture and was very pleased with the results.
Here's the original picture:
To get what you see in the layout I added a brown color layer and selected the Hue blending mode. Then reduced the opacity. This gave all the blues that weren't matching the kit a nice orange tint, as well as the overall photo. To make it a touch more rustic I added a texture border.
I'm just saying play! Play with your photos and those fabulous blending modes! You never know what accidental beauty you'll achieve!