The Gutter Between Two Pages

One of the ideas from Anna’s album class last fall that I’ve been working with this year is the concept of completing a two page spread on a 24×12 inch document rather than trying to work with two separate 12×12 inch documents. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to fill the gutter of two pages so they match precisely if you work on a 24×12 inch document.


The term “gutter” refers to the blank space between facing pages of a book. When I run my action for creating a new blank 24×12 inch document, faint blue lines appear dividing each side into thirds. That helps me determine placement for my pictures. The line running down the middle marks the gutter between the two pages. That line marks where the page will be cut in half to make two pages after I create my composite of all the layers in the layers panel.

For this page, I began by extracting the photo of my granddaughter on the right. With a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 3, I brought back in some of the grass for each extraction. Next, I followed the same process for the sequence of photos showing her pretending to emerge from a chrysalis. I placed the photo of my granddaughter with the line marking the middle of the page across the middle of her arm. After extracting the photo in the foreground. I gave each extraction a shadow, a few of the photos custom shadows. Note: Her pumpkin was really pink so I recolored it using the color replacement brush, an option included with the brush tool.

I used another photo to fill in the background with fallen leaves using layer masks to blend across the gutter for a seamless look.


Next, I began adding to the background by placing, across the gutter of my page below the extractions, six of the layers of transfer 4 from Artsy Transfers Kinsfolk.


I placed layers from artsy transfer 3 on the right and artsy transfer 5 from Artsy Transfers Kinsfolk on the left as well as several transfers and brushes from ArtPlay Palette Kinsfolk.


Another tool that I like to use for pages are Anna’s artsy layered templates. On the left side, just above the paper layers, I recolored and arranged a dozen layers from Artsy Layered Template No. 237, making adjustments as needed to opacity and blend modes. I used the placement of one of the frames from the template to determine where to place the frame from the artplay palette. I dragged both text boxes over from the template as well.

I finished writing my journaling and added a few dimensional elements. I created a composite at the top of the layers panel by pressing the keys command + option + shift + e on my Mac. I dragged the composite over to two new 12×12 inch documents to create a right and left page for my book.


Once I import the pages into Lightroom, I can see what the finished page will look like if I choose to publish through Blurb. I may try Picaboo this year, but that depends on how many pages I complete by the end of the year.


By creating two page spreads on 24×12 inch documents, I can be far more creative with what I place in the gutter. I don’t want to put journaling or a face across the gutter, but I love the flexibility of placing other things creatively across the two pages so that the whole looks balanced. These pages work together and aren’t meant to be viewed as separate pages. I’m looking forward to learning more about working with albums in Anna’s new class which will open in a few weeks.


Happy Halloween


The Art of Collaboration


  1. Deborah Brown

    Lay flat pages are the best solution and enable a centered feature with supporting photos on either side or journalling and photos. Lay flat pages offer the flexibility to not have to worry about the gutter!

    Love your photos! Thank you for your interesting articles!

    • Linda

      Thank you Deborah, I am really tempted to try the lay flat design this year. Last year, my book was too large to be published through Picaboo.

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