Using Photography Templates to Wow Clients Plus FREE Yearbook Ad Template | Ashe Design

Using Photography Templates to Wow Clients

Plus FREE Yearbook Ad Template

Hey Thrifty Togs, it’s Christina from Ashe Design and I’m thrilled to be bringing you a tutorial on using photography templates to really wow your customers. Today I’m going to be customizing the Chalkboard Senior Girl Yearbook Ad ( I chose this design because it has some awesome features (that I’ll show you as we go through the design), plus I’m totally sold on using Yearbook Ads as a marketing tool – especially for new photographers!

Here’s why:

  1. I know you want to be super thrifty when you are starting out and Yearbook Ads cost nothing to produce. You simply deliver a digital file to the family or yearbook staff and you’ve got zero out of pocket cost! Awesome, right?
  2. Yearbook Ads get your images (and designs) in front of your target market – underclassmen – for FREE! Want to shoot more seniors, make sure you’re offering Yearbook Ads. If at all possible, sneak your logo or even just your URL in the corner of the ad and get ready for some new traffic to hit your site!

Okay, hopefully you’re sold on yearbook ads! Now, let me show you how easy it is to design a beautiful custom yearbook ad with our templates. (Also, this is pretty much the same process for customizing ALL of our templates, so if you can master these steps, you’ll be designing all kinds of custom photoproducts for your customers.)

If you want to follow along and try designing this template with me, just sign up for our newsletter ( and I’ll send you a coupon to download this design for FREE.

Using Photography Templates: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Open Your Files

I like to open my template and my photos and just have them as tabs inside of Photoshop. A lot of people wonder what the template they download looks like compared to the display on the website, so I thought I’d show you a side-by-side view.

On the left, you’ll see the website display for our full page Chalkboard Senior Girl Yearbook Ad ( and on the right is that template, downloaded from the site and opened up in Photoshop. You’ll notice they look exactly the same, except the template doesn’t have the images!


Step 2: Add Your Images

Next you’ll want to add your images to your template. In Photoshop there is always more than one way to do things and you’ll find what works for you.

With my image up, I generally either drag (with my mouse) my image over to my template, or you can select your image Control + A (Command + A on a MAC), then copy the image Control + C) (Command + C on a MAC), then go back to your template and paste Control + V (Command + V on a MAC).

Pro Tip: If you selected the photo layer in the layers palette first, your image will go directly above that layer when you drag it or paste it into the template. If your image is not directly above your photo layer, you’ll need to drag it to the correct position in the layers palette.

Most times, your image will be too large for the photo area and take up most of your page, like in my example below. We’ll need to resize it, but first I like to clip the image to the photo layer. To do this, make sure your image layer is selected (and directly above the photo layer) and hold down your ALT (PC) or OPTION (MAC) key and click between the layers in the layers palette.

Alternately, you can use your menu options and go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask. This will place your image inside the photo layer and it will also allow your image to take on any special properties of the template, as you’ll see when we add the background layer to this template.


Step 3: Resize Your Image

Believe it or not, this is where I see so many photographers struggle. I don’t know about you, but nothing drives me crazier than images that get all squished up or stretched out. It’s really easy to keep images proportionate as long as you know the trick. So, with your image layer selected you’ll want to transform (resize) your image. You can do this by clicking Control + T (Command + T on a MAC), or you can find in the menu, Edit > Free Transform.

When you do this, a box will appear across the top of your screen (see below) that shows the dimensions of your image. Between these dimensions, you’ll find a lock button. If you click that lock, Photoshop will not let your image become skewed. You can resize by adjusting the numbers in those boxes or by dragging the bounding box (gray box you can see around my image below) and it will stay in perfect proportion the entire time. Once you are happy with your image, just click Enter/Return to set the image.

Repeat steps 2-3 for all of your images. This template only has two images, so I needed to go through these steps twice, once for the foreground image and again for the background image.

Remember, I said this template had some really cool features? See how the background image looks in this design? Those effects are already incorporated into the design, so as soon as you clip your photo to the layer it takes on those effects. My background photo was a full color image, just like my foreground image until I clipped it to the photo layer. Pretty cool, huh?


Step 4: Customize Your Text

The images are added, now you just need to customize the text. Simply double click on the T in the layers palette to select the layer and then you can type in the correct name, year, message, etc.

Just like with the background image, this design already has a chalkboard effect added to the text layers, so you don’t have to do anything to apply that. Simply type in your new text and you are all set.

Note: if you do have the yellow caution signs on your text layers that you don’t have the fonts we used in the template installed on your computer. You can reference the website or the read me files that came with your design to find the fonts we used. Many of them can be downloaded for free, or you can choose an alternate font from your library.


Once you’ve finished customizing your design, you just need to save the files and you are done! Don’t forget, if you want to give this design a try, you just need to give us your email address ( and we’ll send you a coupon to get this design for FREE!

A special thanks to Artistic Images ~ Portraits by Elizabeth for letting us use her beautiful images in our designs and tutorials.

Thank you so much Christina and Ashe Design for this awesome post!!

Please comment and let us know if you enjoyed it; and we’d love to see a link to your own spin on this tutorial!


Filmy Effect Tutorial | Lauren Bee

I was in awe of this image I saw posted by Lauren when it popped up in my newsfeed, and she agreed to share with the readers of The Thrifty Tog Blog a tutorial on how to achieve the same effect! I can’t wait to try this out myself!

I was a fine arts major in college. At some point in my higher education career I also majored in theatre and performance education, history, English, and psychology, but I was a fine arts major the longest, and in fact, my changing majors so often was an indicator of what I truly am at heart: an insatiable artist gone rogue with a love of learning. My favorite thing in the whole world is having a flash of (what I think is) pure genius, and then gathering the knowledge, skills, and materials to bring that genius to life.

It’s this, I think, which drives my desire to take a shot perfectly in-camera. Even though I use a DSLR and can (and do) edit my photos after capture, it’s a challenge to perfect it before it ever gets to the editing stage. A competition with self. Just to see if I can. This means I often incorporate a lot of hands-on, in the moment techniques, using unusual (but common, household) tools in order to get desired effects.

Today’s tutorial uses just such readily available materials. No pricy equipment needed, oh no! Just head to your kitchen (and bathroom) to grab some ingredients – we’re cooking up a luscious film effect, a la Shakespeare’s doomed Ophelia. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ziploc bag (the smaller sandwich size works best)
  • scissors
  • powdered milk
  • bathtub (full of warm water)
  • gauzy fabric (like tulle or sheer lace)
  • DSLR camera (I’ve used a Nikon D7100 and 35mm 1.8 lens)

To set up, cut off the sealed end of the Ziploc bag, just a half inch or so. The more jagged and ragged the edge, the better; neatness doesn’t count. The idea here is to make a sort of plastic tubing that you can hold around your camera lens – just around the perimeter of the lens, to give a sort of blurry fringe to the frame of your shot. It’s a similar effect as using a Lensbaby, but without the pricetag.


Have your photographic subject wear the lace or fabric, wrapped loosely around her mid-section and shoulders (my model wore just a simple white tank underneath a lacy tunic from my closet), then submerge herself into the bath – make sure the temperature isn’t uncomfortably hot, but if you’ve got a little steam rising from the water’s surface, all the better for effect.

You’ll want to make sure you have adequate light. This shot was taken late afternoon with indirect sunlight streaming from a nearby window. My camera settings for this shot were ISO 500, f/4.5, 1/160sec.

Pose your model as desired and then have her remain as still as possible so that ripples subside. As soon as the water is calm and glassy, sprinkle some of the powdered milk into the water and over your model. This where you have to work quickly because the milk granules will dissolve instantly, and it’s the milky “tendrils” you’re looking for in the water; you’ll do your best shooting before the water becomes completely opaque, no more than five minutes. Shooting with the ziploc bag, adjusting its position accordingly to strengthen or weaken the blurry fringe around the frame.


After you’ve created the magic in-camera, just a few adjustments are needed in post editing. For my shot, I first cropped, then set up a subtle S-curve for matte, then I deepened the contrast, exposure, and clarity.


I decided the image looked better, so I flip-rotated it, then I added some very subtle grain, and a soft vignette.


Lowering the saturation, softening the shadows and vibrance, and scaling the temperature to a more blue tone completes the photograph.


And voila! The final effect is a little dark, somewhat creepy, and definitely evocative of film photography.

Lauren Bee








Are you a hobbyist or in the business of photography?

I’m “in the business” with a sharp side of experimental hobbyist. I definitely got into photography because I love it and the ability I have to express myself, and when I’m not shooting for clients, I’m going my own way, doing my own thing, learning by full immersion.

When did your love affair with photography begin?

I’ve always been interested in visual imagery, even as a youngster. I started out on point ‘n shoot Kodaks, throughout my childhood, experimenting with angles and such, but was always left disappointed; they just wouldn’t reproduce what I was envisioning. It wasn’t until I got my first real DSLR (a Nikon D3100) back in 2011, and started to learn manual settings, that I really hit the ground running.

What gear do you have in your bag? 

My best friend is a Nikon D7100 with (primarily) the AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G. I occasionally use my 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G II and 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G ED — but I much prefer the extreme lengths that I can push my lovely 35mm Prime.

What is your absolute best thrifted photography find?

All of my camera gear was purchased second hand, and I’ve actually sewn some camera straps out of fabric scraps. Art is, after all, about self expression and going your own way, and personalizing your gear falls into that realm.

Have you learned anything in your journey that you think would be beneficial to other photographers?

I can’t stress enough: learn your manual settings. Experiment with them — and with your surrounds. It’s not the gear that makes good photography; it’s a willingness to explore and push the limits of your knowledge. Play — and if it’s safe, do and use whatever you can to get the shot!

Thank you so much, Lauren, for sharing this awesome tutorial with us!

Picks for SUMMER LOVE by Guest Judge Erin Barkel Photography

Our OTTC, Erin of Erin Barkel Photography, was our guest judge this week. She picked the awesome theme SUMMER LOVE and wow! We were all blown away by the submissions!!


Thank you so much Adri & Jes for allowing me to be the guest judge for {Summer Love}.  Man!  My job was hard as I really do love every image! I want to pick them all but I can’t!

I’ve noticed in my selections that I love photos that really engage me.  That have a story.  I don’t know what the story is but I can relate to them and my imagination adds it’s own story to the image. I love that feeling of connecting to a photo.  The amazing photographers I’ve included in my favorite images really succeeded in connecting me with their images.  Congratulations to all of those who participated! Excellent work and capture on!
Nicole Humphrey | Photography
As I’ve mentioned I love love love sun rays and movement in photos and this photo has both!  The way the little girls hair is blowing back behind her, her arms out and the sun flare!  What’s not to love?!?  I also love that it’s black and white rather than color that you might except to see an image like this be!

Doesn’t this photo make you feel like you’re right in on the action?  Whoooooaaaa!  I’m about to get knocked over by a wave! The colors are vibrant and gorgeous. The suspended water drops are just amazing.  Great, great example of summer {surfing} love!

Some of my favorite photos aren’t of people.  There.  I said it.  I’m a portrait photographer that doesn’t need people in her photos. Sometimes though it’s little details that draw us back in time. I want to know why the dandelion has droplets on it.  How was it discovered? Was it left there or did some little one come by and make a wish?  This photo really engages my imagination and I leaves me wanting to know more about it. Plus the colors are stinking gorgeous.

So I seem to have a color obsession.  I’m sorry. I love the pinky oranges of this image against the nearly silhouetted little girl and her grown up.  It brings back great memories of my eldest who refused to wear anything but tutus and always clutched tightly onto her daddy’s hand.  Don’t you want to know what she’s looking at?  What she’s talking about?  Their body positioning in the image really draws me further into the photo. Makes me wish I was there.

The second I saw this image I loved it! From the vibrant green against the brownish-gray of the wet pavement.  The frozen in time water droplets and the adorable little shoes.  To me it embodies what kids do (and adults want to do) after a summer rain: GO SPLASH IN THE PUDDLES!
Last but not least:
Erin’s share for SUMMER LOVE
“I just snapped this picture of my eldest daughter, Mimi who will be 6 in July! I love it from her crinkly nose and wild hair to her crooked baby teeth. Love this summer baby.”

Thank you to everyone who posted to our timeline!
We hope you will continue to do so!
The new theme for June 15-30 is NIGHT TIME
Looking forward to what you all post!!

Picks for FREE (freedom) Theme | The Thrifty Tog Blog

First, we want to thank everyone so far for posting their FREE (freedom) images to our timeline – we loved seeing them all! You are all so very talented, and we hope that you continue to submit your images on our timeline for our future themes!!

I had chosen the theme FREE (freedom) because I had known the theme was falling on Memorial Day and I wanted to tie that into the theme.

Karen Hunt Photography – I am undoubtedly the biggest sucker for silhouettes. Just love this.


My Three Sons Images – I love the light, composition and conversion of this image!


KMills Photography – I love the composition, the hands, flag and hat being the main focus point.


Karen Osdieck Photography – Is there anything more freeing than swinging so high in the sky?!


Holly Nicole Photography – Love the colors, the subject jumping with the umbrella.. so beautiful.


Thank you everyone for posting!

The next bi-weekly theme is going to be awesome! Our guest judge and Official Thrifty Tog Contributor – Erin, Erin Barkel Photography has chosen the theme:


We can’t wait to see what you share over on our timeline!

Picks for ETHEREAL | The Thrifty Tog Blog

First, we want to thank everyone so far for posting their #ttapr2015ETHEREAL images to our timeline – we loved seeing them all! You are all so very talented, and we hope that you continue to submit your images on our timeline for our future themes!!

I had chosen the theme ETHEREAL and I just love images that look almost heavenly with the light and subject. This was a really fun theme for me.

Mountain Pearl Photography – I am immediately drawn to the seemingly magical light in her hands!


Wild Prairie Photography – I love how her hands are placed on the water to make it look as if it is solid..


Kelsey Smith Photography – love the out of focus look and all of the light!


Rose Amelia Photos – I am in awe of the way the light looks as if it is surrounding her!


Melina Nastazia Photography – Absolutely adore this image, the wind in the girls hair, the light.. so beautiful.


My own take on ETHEREAL – Forever Whimsy Photography

I chose this image of Adri & her daughter, Zoe that I took earlier this week. This was my first ever backlit session, and I am slightly obsessed with the way the light highlights and outlines the subjects. I preferred the b&w vs. the color for this one.


The new theme chosen by Adri is: THROUGH

Please post your THROUGH images to our timeline from now until 5/16!

Our BIWeekly Self LOVE Theme for April

Moments captured by Cyndi Greenwalt

Such a lovely capture of motherhood in the making.


Momma got Soul Photography 

So much expressed vulnerability


MV Clark Photography 

Adore the composition


Sarah M Photography

Motion goodness captured brilliantly


Sharon Covert Photography 

the message and emotion blew me away.


Whimsy Heart Photography 

So i choose this theme because my mind was filled with so many ideas to try for my own self love photograph. Unfortunately they all did not pan out, just being real. I sit here typing one handed because I have a tiny babe attached to me. Which is why I choose this image for our bi weekly theme.