How to Make a Professional Cover Photo Without a DSLR Camera

When I launched my blog last Christmas, the most comments I got were directed toward my cover photo at the top of the screen. Friends that were heavily into photography and videography nodded their approval, and several asked just exactly how I did it.

Well. I’ll tell you it definitely wasn’t with a Canon Rebel and a light studio, that’s for sure.

Imagine a nineteen-year-old college student alone in the house and an ambitious project in her head. Oh, and a random pile of boxes, books, and her brother’s school supplies stacked on a chair across the table. Imagine a large hole puncher propping up her iPhone on the top of the makeshift tower. Yeah, that’s my “studio” for you.

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FBTeens Civil War Poster


For this year’s FBTeen Crusade, the youth pastor wanted to play off the upcoming Marvel movie, Civil War as the theme for the crusades. It was a perfect idea, since the Teen Crusades are a glorified Vacation Bible School for teens with tons of competitions, teams, and games. The youth pastor was hoping that I could come up with a logo, a task I readily accepted.

My biggest regret was not screen capturing the process for this logo and poster, since I started completely from scratch. There was no single tutorial for me to follow this year, unlike the Panama missions trip logo, so I had to rely on what I’ve learned from experience and random YouTube videos. The other challenge was my Photoshop is woefully out of date (CS3) and I didn’t have access to the 3D modeling newer software updates give users, so the “Civil War” words had to be faked into looking like a 3D image.

The poster itself ended up being thirty-seven Photoshop layers and probably one of the biggest design projects to date.


Magazine Cover Designs


For my college digital graphics class, I had to make two magazine covers in Photoshop. We students had to know how to cut out part of a picture professionally and paste it over top of a background image as well as demonstrate visually-pleasing type hierarchy. I got an A on the project. Both main models were also photographed by me.

Blue Angels Poster Project


This was for a digital graphics project in college. I had to make an event poster for the Blue Angels air show in Pensacola, Florida in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to go for a more retro look than anything, wanting to mimic the classic vector travel posters I occasionally see around in the design world. A design that catered to flat artwork would only help me, since this was the first time I ever played with Illustrator. I got an A on the project.