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5 STEPS TO ADD A PDF TO A PHOTO (+ 1 QUICK TRICK TO MAKE YOUR OWN TEMPLATE)

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Do you offer an awesome lead magnet for your blog audience? Then you need an awesome way to show it off! Learn how to add a PDF to a photo in 5 easy steps.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

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Lead magnets, or opt-ins, are one of the most powerful ways to grow your email list. And a PDF is one of the most popular forms of lead magnets. But it’s not enough just to TELL your audience what you have, you have to SHOW it. Bonus points if you show your lead magnet in a real-life situation, like on a desk.

Luckily, it’s super easy to add a PDF to a photo. But we’re going to take it one step further.

We’re going to use Photoshop to add a PDF to a photo because of a simple little trick called Smart Objects. With just one quick step, we’re going to turn this graphic into a template that lets you swap in a new PDF in seconds.

It’s kind of like a design superpower.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

If you don’t have Photoshop, you can get a 30-day trial for free (and it’s as low as $10 a month after that).

Ready to learn a digital magic trick?

Add a PDF to a Photo in 5 Steps

1 – Open your image & PDF in Photoshop

Open the photo you want to add your PDF to.

When choosing a photo, look for 2 things:

  • Use a flatlay photo of a desk or workspace (a flatlay is a photo taken from directly overhead)
  • Choose a photo with a big blank area (this blank spot is called copy space)

The photos I’m using today are from Haute Stock, a fabulous stock photography site I subscribe to and LOVE.

Go ahead and save your image under a new name so you that you’re not editing the original image.

Click images to enlarge.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

Open your PDF

Go to File > Open, and browse to the file with your PDF. When you open the PDF, you’ll see a menu box. Under Page Options, choose Crop to Media Box.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

Your PDF will open in new document. If your PDF opens with a clear background (if you see a gray & white patterned background), you’ll need to add a solid background. It’s easy.

Create a new layer and fill it with white. If white is already your default background color, just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Delete (or Cmd+Delete) to fill the background with white.

Drag the white layer below your PDF layer and select both layers (hold Shift and click on both layers).

Right-click and choose Merge Layers.

Now your PDF is ready to add to your photo!

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.
Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

2 – Add the PDF to your photo

Drag your PDF layer over into your photo.

Click images to enlarge.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

We’re going to resize the PDF to make it match the photo, but FIRST – before you do anything else: right-click your PDF layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.

You won’t see any difference now, but this is going to be awesome a little bit later – I promise.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

3 – Resize & rotate the PDF

Our next step is to make the PDF match the desktop photo.

Resize the PDF to make it proportional to the other items in the photo. You want it to look like your PDF is sitting on the desk with the other objects.

PRO TIP: Hold shift and drag from the corner to resize your PDF layer without losing its shape.

Click images to enlarge.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

Now let’s rotate the PDF just a bit so it looks more natural in the photo.

Make sure the PDF layer is selected (click on it) and move your mouse out past the corner. Notice how your cursor changes to a curved arrow? That’s the rotation icon.

Click and drag to rotate the PDF. Don’t go overboard – you don’t want to have to tilt your head to read the text. 🙂

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

You may need to move the PDF a little after rotating it to make it fit comfortably in the space.

Almost done! Oh – and stick around to the end to see how that smart object we made earlier is going to blow your design mind.

4 – Add a hint of a drop shadow

Look at the other objects in your stock photo. They all have slight drop shadows to them. Let’s make your PDF match that.

At the bottom of the layers panel in Photoshop, look for a tiny icon that looks like “fx”. Right-click it to add a layer style. Choose Drop Shadow.

Click images to enlarge.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

Play with a few of the drop shadow settings to get the effect you like. (Make sure “Preview” is checked so you can see what the end result will be.)

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

You want just a hint of a shadow. A piece of paper on a desk doesn’t cast a long shadow! So keep the opacity and other settings fairly low.

Ever wonder how to add a PDF to a photo? It’s easier than you think! Show off your lead magnets, ebooks and any PDF by making a real-life mockup.

5 – Save for web

Time to save your photo for the web.

To save your photo for the web, go to File > Export > Export as… (If you’re using Photoshop CS6, choose File > Export > Save for web).

To upload your PDF mockup to social media, choose PNG as the file type. If you’re putting your PDF mockup on your blog, choose JPG and lower the quality just a bit to reduce the file size.

See Step #5 in this post – HOW TO MAKE BLOG POST GRAPHICS – for more tips on saving graphics to upload to your blog.

Smart Objects = Design Superpower

Remember when we turned the PDF into a Smart Object at the beginning? Here’s why that was such an awesome move on your part…

You’ve just taken the time to add a PDF to a photo. What if that became a template that you let you swap out that PDF with another one with just a few clicks?

This is good stuff right here.

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