Warning: By no means am I a professional graphic artist or a teacher.
This post is going to have a lot of print screen and I can tell you now that I probably didn't include enough. lol So strap in and get ready.
Personally, I don't like the gradient alone. So let me try some other avenues. We're about to get REALLY fancy. I'm heading to the layer list. I'm right clicking the couple. A menu pops up and I'm choosing Edit Layer Attributes. (Don't forget to click ok.) I'm picking the Fuzzy Select Tool and I'm going to get rid of that gray background. I'm clicking that gray and it's going to select a lot. Some things I don't want to get rid of. But that's okay because I haven't had coffee yet. I'm picking the Eraser and erasing everything within that Selection that I don't want to keep. I'm getting old so I'm changing the View too.
Now I'm picking that Erase tool and shall get started.
So now I have the couple, sans background. Let's make things interesting. I've SAVED AS. If you don't have a White Background layer, add one behind the couple. I've reordered the layers and put my title and name below the White Background Layer. As you can see this sucker is bare and needs work. This is when I just have to say I play around until I hit on something that works.
Let's go back to those gradients. 3 blendings later at 100 percent opacity in that background...
Still totally missing the mark. Let's put some in the front of the couple. I do this by picking the couple, right click, New Layer. I don't want the Opacity so strong. So let's go with 30 percent.
Not enough. Let's just duplicate the layer.
Still so bare. This is when I go to my huge file of stock photos. If you don't have one, get one. Lol I have textures, cityscapes, landscapes, etc. When things feel like this I use my rule of three: Object, background, font. In this case the object is the couple. I've cut out the background so I should replace it. If I pick the right background, all I need is to put my font back in and voila, the cover looks full and complete. I'm sure there's a technical name for this, but I don't know it because I'm not a professional graphic artist.
I have a background. I'm picking this because there's some red in it. I'm hoping they compliment each other. I don't know because I'm just playing at the moment. I'm cropping a bit of it by using the square selection tool from the toolbox. I'll copy and paste it as a layer into the cover. (Most of this stuff is pretty simple. It's exactly what you'd do if you were sticking a picture file in Word.)
Now. Don't scream. Reorder the layer so it's beneath the couple. (Click on it and drag it down.) Scale so it fits fully behind the couple.
Somehow, it works. But I don't want this to look like some Walmart picture where you can see the folks are sitting on something. Let's play with the couple a bit. Right click the couple. Edit Layer Attributes. Ok when that dialogue box pops up.
Er. Too far down. Scaling and moving them a bit to the side.
Ha. We're getting close.
I'm going to try to make the cover look more cogent. This is where things get tricky. I'm putting the font back where it needs to be by dragging it from the bottom to the top. I'm right clicking the couple. The menu is going to pop up. I'm going to Duplicate Layer and drag it down below the White Background Layer. I don't want to lose the original. If I mess up and the undo option is out of the picture for some reason, I have the original couple.
Now at the top of the Layer-Gradient list will be an Opacity bar. (It's blue) I'm going to play with this. First, I'm going back to the original couple layer, right click, Edit Layer Attributes. I'm going with 92 percent.
I'm going to do something similar to the cityscape background. (Right click. Edit Attritubes. Ok.) This time I'm going with 80 percent.
Not bad, but did I mention I'm anal retentive?
Let's go back to the couple. Right click. On that menu list there's an Apply Layer Mask Option. When that dialogue button pops up, choose White (full opacity). Add it. When you look at your layers list, there should be a small box next to the couple.
Nothing has happened to the actual couple. That's a good thing, because if it had, then you should scream and undo. Choose the blending/gradient tool. Make sure the two colors are black and white. Now look at the Tool Options dialogue box and make sure the FB to BG option is picked. Blend.
The bottom half of your couple should have disappeared a little.
I sit back, look at the cover and realize I'm just doing a tutorial.
Yup. I'm done. This should be enough info to make some covers. Best of luck.
Any questions, ask them in the comments.