Creative Photo Edges

with 17 Comments

Nannette-200I almost always add a frame to my photos. To my eye, a frame draws the eye to the photo and creates a finished look. I usually just add a stroke around the edge of the photo because it’s easy to do and always looks nice to my eye.

I have another easy way to add a frame to your photo that you can do in just a few simple steps. I will show you how you can create a beautiful decorative border around your photo using the photo itself to create the frame.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Open the layered scrapbook page (File > Open) with which you wish to work.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • In the Layers panel, activate the photo layer.


Step Two: Create a Clipping Mask

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon to create a new layer.
  • Get the Rectangle tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Style to None and click on the Create New Shape Layer icon. (Photoshop: Set the Tool Mode to Pixels, the Blend Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%.) Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained.
  • On the scrapbook page, click and drag out a rectangle shape that is smaller than your photo.


  • In the Layers panel, activate the photo layer.
  • Press Ctl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the photo.
  • In the Layers panel, drag the duplicate photo to be above the rectangle shape.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

Step Three: Create the Frame

  • In the Layers panel, activate the original photo layer.
  • Change the Opacity to around 55%, or to your liking.


Step Four: Add a Small Drop Shadow

  • In the Layers panel, activate the rectangle shape.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings. (Photoshop: Choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.)
  • In the dialog box, check Drop Shadow. Set the Size to 13 px, the Distance to 15 px, and the Opacity to 45%. Click OK.


Here is how I used this technique on a layout. I love the subtle addition that the frame gives to my photo and how it blends the photo with the paper underneath. I hope you’ll give this method a try. Post your layout in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery, and I will be sure to give it some love!


Digi Scrap Tutorial: Decorative Photo Frames by Nannette Dalton
Layout: Love Letter p2 by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Love, Mom by Karla Dudley; May 2014 Premier kit

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

17 Responses

  1. Annette
    | Reply

    You rock Nan. Always looking for new ways to frame a photo

  2. Barb
    | Reply

    Very cool, Nann!! I love this!

  3. Lidia
    | Reply

    Oh, wow! This is good to know! Awesome tutorial! Thanks for sharing this. I will have to try it sometimes.

  4. Pat Tankersley
    | Reply

    Nan, I love this new method. I will give it a try. Thanks for sharing. Pat

  5. ouisiekelly
    | Reply

    I really like this lookl. Thanks a lot Nann 🙂

  6. acmonroe
    | Reply

    This is great! Thanks!

  7. Janine
    | Reply

    What a clever idea and it looks so beautiful. I will be using this a lot. Thank you so much.

  8. Sharron
    | Reply

    Love the look! Thanks so much.

  9. Donna
    | Reply

    I love your tutorial. I am always looking for frames (like you said) and am sure I will use this idea often. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

  10. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    Very clever idea, Nann! Your page looks so cute with it!

  11. Nann
    | Reply

    Thank you all, for your kind comments.

  12. rfeewjlj
    | Reply

    Another awesome tutorial!! Love it!

  13. Vivian
    | Reply

    Well, how cool was that? Your instructions were great. I love love love this technique. Thank you for sharing it!

  14. Shirl
    | Reply

    I see your ingenuity is still on overload with another unique and fantastic framing technique. I come to the conclusion that you dream these brilliant techniques and then store them for future members’ use. I will definitely use this one for sure. Love it. 🙂

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Oh Shirl, you make me the laugh and you have put a huge smile on my face. Thank you

  15. Sharronn
    | Reply

    This is amazing – thank you so much!!

  16. Tammy Graf
    | Reply

    I’ve never seen this before but really like it! Thanks for the great tutorial.

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