Lately I have been a little bit into lettering =) And while taking pictures of a small notebook where I record my lettering attempts is fun, like pictures below

at one point I decided to change things up a little bit.

See, the simple pictures, with lots of negative space around main objects, the ones I talk about in the class Still Life Photography: Find Your Simple are perfect to add lettering onto.

To get something like this.

So here is how I go about it. I use iPhone and Photoshop for my process.

Step 1 – take a picture of the lettering or scan it. I dont use scanner that often so I take a picture with my iPhone. You can see that picture lacks contrast, but thats ok, as long as the focus is right.

Step 2 – I edit the image still on the phone. I go to Camera Roll and select the image and press this third from the left button. Editing button. 

Step 3 – press the button in the middle, the one with filters and chose a filter that is black and white. I usually go for either Mono or Noir. This is to remove any color cast from the lettering

Step 4  – go to editing, third button from the left. You have a few options here, I use just the first one – “Light”. Press on “Light”, little arrow on the right and you will have a drop down menu of options. Normally I go to contrast first and bump it quite a lot, moving it to the right.

Step 5 – go back to menu and choose “Black Point” to make darks (lettering) darker. Pull it all the way to the right as well. 

Step 6 – finally, sometimes I also increase highlights, if the background appears to be too dark. Once again go back to menu, choose Highlights and pull them all the way to the right

Here is the before and after the editing

Step 7 – press done and transfer the resulted image to your computer, now you will need Photoshop

Step 8 – open your lettering in Photoshop and go to Menu on the top, choose “Select”, then “Color Range”

Step 9 – with the eyedropper tool press somewhere on the letter (choosing black) and adjust Fuzziness as you like. Here mine is at 200. Press ok

Step 10 – Some other parts, like this corner here was also picked up by color range, so I just quickly deselect it. Choose Lasso tool, press and hold Alt (you will see a small minus sign appear) and while holding ALT select the areas you dont want to be included. 

Step 11 – now lets separate the lettering from the background. Press “Select and Mask” button on top and adjust selections settings, mine are shown on the picture on the right here. And press ok. Also I prefer to output to New Layer (without the mask)

Step 12 – we have our lettering on a new layer, without background. Now lets add it onto the image. Use “Move Tool” and just drag and move the lettering onto the image. Adjust the location and you are done!

Obviously, there are other ways of doing this process, this is just the one I use most often:)

Have fun!