Do you agonize over the realism of your digital layout? Are you struggling to get your drop shadows just right? Well, Simple Scrapper isn’t going to tell you to stop, but we will offer a truly “good enough” solution.

Let’s take this layout of mine as an example (click for credits):

The shadowing is there, but it is not what captures your eye. First you see the photos and then the complementary elements. Drop shadows should be an invisible design element of your layout.

So are you ready for the secret? Psst! Use the defaults. To create drop shadows I (almost) exclusively use a combination of the “low” and “soft edge” preset drop shadows in PSE. The only exception is when I truly need to change the direction of light.

To use the preset, select the element’s layer and then click your choice of drop shadow in the effects box. It’s really that easy!

Tip – I’ve found these look best when creating 12″x12″ layouts at 300dpi. Other page sizes, especially smaller, will not create as realistic a shadow.

There are quite a few tutorials on creating great drop shadows. They are quality resources and very helpful, but can be a bit complicated and time-consuming for the average scrapper-mom-wife-etc-etc-etc. Give yourself a break and proudly use the presets!