Jazz Up Your Photos

Add an original, distinctive border to your photos!

In this tutorial we’ll make a custom border in Adobe Illustrator, and then we’ll add it to a photo in Photoshop. It should only take about 10-15 minutes.

Start by choosing a photo to add your border to. Create a new document in Illustrator which is the same height and width as the photo you’re using. Get your Flare Tool, which is hidden with the shape tools. Click and drag (only slightly) to form the first part of your flare. Click again about an inch away in any direction. This is your flare.

With the flare selected, get your rotate tool. You should see the crosshairs appear in the middle of your flare, which indicate the rotation axis. Drag the crosshairs to the bottom left of the flare so that it rotates along the bottom of the image, rather than the center. Now, we’ll copy and rotate at the same time! If you hold down option while dragging your flare, it will create a copy as it rotates.
Now hit Cmd + D to repeat the same action. Hit Cmd + D over and over, until you have a complete circle of copies.
Select all, and group by hitting Cmd + G. You can resize the group by dragging the corners with your arrow tool if it’s too large. You’ll now make copies of this circle, in staggered lines, around the edges of your page to form a border.
Save the file. Now open both your flare illustration and your photo in Photoshop. In your flare file (now open in Photoshop,) select all and copy into your photo. You may need to resize the flare border to fit the edges of your photo. This can be done by holding down shift while you drag the corners of the image. Once it is the appropriate size, click on your arrow tool, and hit “Apply.”
Now you can adjust the blend mode of the flare border layer. Blend modes can be found in the layers panel (see below.) Different blend modes will yield different results, depending on the photo underneath, so experiment with all of them until you find one you like.
You can also adjust the opacity of the border layer, making it more or less visible. Here are some of my results:
Did you have success with this tutorial? Do you have quick tricks for snazzing up your photos? Let us know!


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