Introduction: Get Hand Lettering on Your Images (With Just a Phone!)

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This tutorial will show you how to get hand lettering on your photos to add a fun and functional element of design using only an iPhone! If you see lovely designed graphics featuring hand lettering over images on social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter but don't have the know how or tools to do it yourself - don't worry! I'll be laying out all the steps for you to get wonderful hand lettering onto your own images without ever having to touch a computer, so keep reading!

Step 1: Draw Your Lettering

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The first step to placing hand lettering over your images, is to have hand lettering! Go ahead and draw to your hearts content.

Note that this works best with a relatively thick pen so that the hand lettering makes an impact when placed over your image. I used a sakura micron pen in thickness 05.

Step 2: Photograph + Crop Your Lettering

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Take a clear and well lit image of your lettering and then crop close to eliminate extraneous parts of the image such as backgrounds, hands, etc.

Step 3: Prep Your Image for Overlay (Brighten)

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Open your image in Afterlight. You're going to be prepping the image so the text becomes the clear focus and any paper color etc disappears and your image begins to look like the one shown here.

The steps to accomplish this are as follows (instruction snapshots as well):

(1) Boost brightness to 100 two times, (2) Boost contrast to 100 three times, (3) Bring exposure to -100 two times, (4) Boost shadows to 100 two times, (5) Bring fade to 0 two times, (6) Boost contrast to 100, (7)Boost clarify to 100, (8) Boost brightness to 100, (9) Save image to camera roll.

Step 4: Fixing Any Inconsistencies in Lettering

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Once you have everything brightened and cleaned up, you may notice some of your letters may have inconsistencies, or you have a smudge etc on your canvas. To fix this, we will open the saved image in acetone and use the patch tool to cover any fix issues. When completed, save again to camera roll.

Step 5: Getting a Square Canvas (Optional)

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If this image is going to be for instagram or any other square medium, you'll want your cropped text to be on a square canvas. Open your image in after light, on the far right choose the circular crop tool and go to 'Original' on the left. Choose the option with two bars. Notice you can adjust the slider bar on the bottom to adjust your text size within the canvas. I chose to size mine at 100 so I have more space within the canvas to play with sizing of the text once I'm overlaying my image. After this, if you see any lines where your text joins the white background, you'll want to bump up the brightness and contrast to 100 one more time. Save image to camera roll.

Step 6: Prep Text to Overlay (White Text Option)

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If you want to overlay black text, your image is all set with the previous save and you can skip this step. If you want to overlay white text, follow this step:

Open your image in 'Negative Me'. Invert your image and save to camera roll.

Step 7: Choose Your Image to Overlay

Whether your image is dark or light in nature will most likely dictate which color text you will decide to overlay but either way you will open your base image in 'Afterlight' before moving on to the next step.

Step 8: Overlay With Black Text

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For my black text image I'm using a NYC skyline image as my base and adjusting the exposure and brightness slightly to make the image duller so the black text will stand apart.

Once you have your image, you'll want to go under the crop/rotate tool to the layers panel on the far right and open your black text image.

Note: Once opened you can move and scale your text for optimal placement over your image. For dark text, you'll want to use the 'darken' or 'multiply' option at 100% if you like jet black writing, or a lower percentage if you want pale writing overlaid. Then save to camera roll when you're happy with your image.

Step 9: Overlay With White Text

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For my white text image I'm using another NYC skyline image as my base, cropping to a square, and adjusting the exposure and highlights slightly to make the image darker so the white text will stand apart.

Once you have your image, you'll want to go under the crop/rotate tool to the layers panel on the far right and open your white text image.

Note: Once opened you can move and scale your text for optimal placement over your image. For white text you'll want to use the 'screen' or 'lighten' option at 100% if you want pure white writing, or a lower percentage if you want pale writing. Then save to camera roll once you're happy with your image.

Step 10: BONUS - Color Burn

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Open your image and crop so you have mostly clouds (or something of color - no black or white). Open your black text image using the layers panel, like before, and use the 'color burn' option. This will reveal only the letters in your image, and you can adjust using the slider bar, just like before to get an interesting technique. Just a little fun bonus for happy overlaying!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you did, I'd really love for you to give it a vote (at the top!) I can't wait to see what you're able to make happen, happy digitizing!

Comments

JuliaP46 (author)2016-09-12

There isn't an overlay button under the crop and rotate tab for me :( is this something that is only on iOS? I have an andriod

MarcellinaL (author)2016-05-30

cool! it's really helpful to me because i love hand lettering and i still don't know how to apply them on photos or pictures. so thanks for your idea

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Bio: I am a fashion designer who is an avid scrapbooker + coffee drinker + pursuer of happiness. I live my New York life to the fullest while ... More »
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