Using Smart Objects in Photoshop for Album Design

Smart objects in Photoshop have many benefits that i’ll cover in a post coming soon. One really huge benefit for speeding up your album design creations is the ability to replace an image and have it automatically take on the same size and effects that the previous image had. Say you had a really great album design and you wanted to use that design as a template for another design. With smart filters you can quickly replace the images with new ones and keep all of the layer styles in tact. Here is a step by step guide on how to use smart objects to replace a photo with a new one.

1) First start with any design that you have created where the images don’t have a layer style applied to them yet. We will have to first convert the photos to smart objects, then apply the layer styles.
2) Then Control click (mac) right click (windows) on one of the layers in your design that has an image. From the pop up menu select Convert to Smart Object.
3) Next apply any of the layer styles that you need to. Here I have a drop shadow, inner shadow and a stroke applied to the layer.

replacing smart objects in photoshop

3) Once you have a layer that is a smart object then double click on the image thumbnail in the layer palette to open up this image in a new window.
4) Take your new photo that is going to replace this image and open that up in Photoshop.
5) Simply drag and drop the new file into the original file. If the new file was larger then you will have to resize (Command T to free transform on the mac). Once the image is sized right all you have to do is save the photo.
6) When you close out this window and go back to your album design the new photo will have replaced the original and be the same size. It will also retain all of the layer styles that you already had.

It’s a much quicker method compared to pasting in a new image, resizing and then reapplying all of the layer styles. This method can be applied to any design that you create. If you have created custom designs for greeting cards or a collage print for a client, you can reuse that design for someone else once you have your original saved with Smart Objects.

What are some of your favorite Photoshop shortcuts? Let me know in the comments below.

— Mark

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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