If you've been spending time the digital scrapbooking world, you have probable seen a lot of quick pages around. If you haven't seen them, what they are is complete pages, with papers and embellishments and shadows, with a hole (or holes) for your photos. They can save your hours of time getting an album done. Lots of designers make them, and some scrappers love to make them too, to share with friends or give away on their blog (always be sure to read the TOU to see if they are allowed!).
There' a few tricks for making quick pages, I'm going to show you one that I use most often.
Your first step is to create an entire layout, complete with shadows and photos. If you don't have any photos (I commonly don't, I am just designing the page based on how the elements look together), create a solid shape where your photo would be.
Now we are going to make your photo(s) disappear, as well as all the layers below.
Your first step is to click on the photo in your layers palette. Then go to your layer menu across the top, choose style, then click blending options.
On the blending options menu, set your fill opacity to zero, and set knockout to deep. This tells it to knockout all the layers below the item. You can see in my screen shot that the photo is gone, as are all the layers underneath. The squares indicate a clear space. If all layers don't knockout, it means you have a layer locked, so go in and unlock the layer, then try again.
Next, you want to save the blending mode you just created as a style. To do this, click the 'new style' button. You will get a prompt to name the style. Name it and click 'OK'. You will see now the style shows up in your layers palate.
Now, in case you lose your presets in photoshop, its a good idea to save this style to your hard drive. To do this, go to the edit menu across the top, and choose preset manager.
From the dropdown menu, choose styles.
Your recently saved style will show up last on the list. It's clear because it's a blending mode, there isn't anything like colour or pattern to it. Click it to highlight it, then click 'save set'. It will prompt you to choose where to save it (put it somewhere you won't forget!) and give it a name.
Now that you have your QP style, you can use it again and again. Just click on the item you want to make invisible, and apply the style. What's great about this is you can still move that layer around, play with photo placement on the LO, and even add drop shadows, just like you could if you could see it. If you turn the eye off on the photo, the paper underneath is still intact. Nothing has actually been removed from the layout, its just been 'knocked out'.
Once you have your page finished, save it as a PNG to preserve the empty pixels, and you are done!