Hooray! This post has been a long time in the making and I am SO very excited to be sharing this with you today!!  So many of you have asked for a tutorial on how to best overlay your product designs onto SC StockShop styled stock images.  Well, since I am actually not a Photoshop expert (gasp!) I enlisted the help of the wonderful and super talented ladies over at the Scarlet & Gold shop to create a tutorial for you on how they achieve such a consistently gorgeous look with all of their Stockshop images! Today I am excited to share this amazing tutorial with you and I hope you find it helpful! For this tutorial they used an actual photograph of their product but the same principles will apply when you use a pdf or other flat product design file. Enjoy!

baby bear


To get started, it’s important that the image you are working to incorporate into the styled image is from the same view point and has similar light direction.  This is the original image that we are starting with. You can see that it is a straight on, downward looking view point with light coming in from the top of the image and creating a shadow towards the bottom right of the card. It is important to select an image that also has a light, clean background similar to the styled image. Trying to place an image with a dark background within an image with a light background will never look natural.The shadows and highlights will appear differently on a dark background than they do on a light one. Our image is on a light cloth background. This works because it is relatively clean (aside from the cloth texture) and it is light in color so the highlights and shadows will act similar to what they do on the white background of the styled shot.


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– Open the stock image in Photoshop.

– Place the card image into the stock-shot file.

– Size the card image to the appropriate size relative to the other elements in the photo.


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– In the layers panel, select the “multiply” layer option from the drop down.


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– Move card into the location that you feel works with the image layout and composition. I chose to rotate my card a bit in order to make it look more playful.

– Place and duplicate this layer. Hide one of the layers by selecting the eye icon to the left of the layers panel thumbnail. I like to always do this so that you can always go back to the original if you mess up the second layer you are working from.


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– Rasterize the smart object layer by selecting Layer < Smart Objects < Rasterize. Make sure you have the correct layer selected in the layers panel before doing this step.


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– Select the Eraser tool (Command E for Mac)

– In the top left corner, select the eraser size drop-down and make the eraser size fairly large. You can play around with this setting until you get the right size for your image. Change the hardness to 0%. We want a very soft eraser. Also, pull down opacity of the eraser. I am using 60% opacity.


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– Use the eraser tool to go around the card (with the correct card layer selected). This should get rid of the hard lines around the card. You may have to go around the card a few times because of the lower opacity but this ensures that you are left with a very soft shadow-like effect.


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– At this point you will want to zoom in closer to the card so that you can get a better view of what you are erasing.

– I am starting with the top left part of my card because this is where the light direction is coming from. Use the eraser tool and go in closer to the edge of the card. However, pay attention to how much is being erased. You still want a very subtle shadow.


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– Repeat this step on the lower right darker shadow portion of the card. Try to match the shadow lightness or darkness as well as shadow size with the shadows of the other elements in the photo. For example, take note of the shadow coming off of the pink box or phone case.


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– Zoom back out to check your image in its entirety.

– Check to make sure the shadows look natural and mimic the shadows of the other objects in the image.

– I then adjusted the opacity on my card in the layers panel to about 88% to lighten the layer. Multiplying the layer tends to darken the colors slightly.


Baby Bear Tutorial

- Ta Da!!! All done!

Tutorial by Scarlet and Gold.  Be sure to go check out their gorgeous shop and show them some love!