You have awesome photos from your vacation, the flowers in your garden, or a wild weekend with friends. Creating a collage in photoshop can provide you with an awesome way to tell the story of where you went and what you did.
We are going to guide you through the steps of creating a photo collage in Adobe Photoshop.
Why Use Photoshop
There are a lot of photo editing programs available for free, but there is nothing that compares to Photoshop. It offers a wide range of options that allow you to be as creative as you want. More than 90% of professional photographers use Adobe Photoshop, and the Creative Cloud mobile app has been downloaded more than 376 million times.
Even if you don’t have Photoshop, keep reading. The steps for creating a collage will be similar in any photo editing program you use.
Creating a Collage in Photoshop
Open Bridge to select your photos. If you do not use Bridge for organizing your photos, then open Photoshop to begin the process.
Creating a Collage in Photoshop
When selecting the photos to put into your collage, keep in mind that groupings in odd numbers are more appealing to the eye. Somewhere between 5-7 photos is a good collection. Too many photos are confusing to the eye and lack appeal.
Pick a few extra photos so you have some to play with when creating a collection. The photos should relate to each other, such as location, color, or the same type of items such as flowers or cars. Every image should be well-exposed and in focus.
Groupings that have a variety of landscape and portrait photos, wide-angle, and close-ups create interest. For ideas on what works well together, look at magazine layouts.
Make any needed adjustments to the photos during the selection process. Once the photos are selected and edited, bring them into Photoshop.
Create a File and Import Photos
In Photoshop open the New Document panel and choose a preset, or make a custom document. Do not be too concerned about size as you can crop or add later if needed. Most collages look better in landscape format.
Add your photos to the file using the drag and drop method. If you prefer, you can open all the images in separate Photoshop windows and paste them into the master document.
To make it easier to see photos as you bring them in, you can hide the ones you have not positioned. This is done by turning on each layer as it is added to the layout.
Adding the photos to your canvas changes them into Photoshop Smart Objects. Smart Objects can be repositioned and resized without losing quality.
Photoshop Smart Objects
Photoshop Smart Objects can be resized, rotated, warped, skewed, or any other transformation. This gives you a lot of flexibility in positioning, scaling, and distorting the images without losing quality.
If you want to dodge, burn, brush, manipulate pixels, or any other adjustment right click on the layer and choose the Rasterize Layer.
Placing Photos into Position
Using the move tool, do a rough placement of the images. This is where you get an approximate idea of how they fit on the page.
Turn the layers on and off using the eye icon to the left of each layer in the Layers Panel. If you have one photo under another and you want to change their position, click on that photo layer in the Layers Panel and drag the layer up.
Rotate layers using the Free Transform tool. When using the Transform tool, you hold the Shift key to keep proportions the same. If you hold the Alt key it will scale-out from the center. Other transform options can be found under Edit>Transform.
Continue to tweak the positioning of the photos and their sizes in the collage until you you are happy with the layout. You can crop out sections of images using the Lasso tool if you don’t want to use an entire image.
Making Final Photo Adjustments
After your collage is assembled and you realize individual photos need adjustment, use the Image>Adjustments selection and choose the menu item. That allows you to adjust each image’s contrast, brightness, and colors individually.
If you need to make an adjustment to the entire collage, simply create a new adjustment layer. Click on the New Fill and Adjustment Layer icon and pick what you want to change. Adjustments can be made in contrast, brightness, saturation can change the overall look of your collage.
If you are having trouble lining up your photos, select guides from the ruler tool to assist you in keeping things straight. Once your photos are positions we just need to add a few final touches.
This is an option you may or may not want to use. Using the Text tool, you can click and drag to create the box where you want it placed. Select the font and font size you want to use.
The Text option is a great way to add a catchy title, a bit of history on the area, or any other information you feel enhances your collage.
This is another optional step. If you are happy with the way your collage looks, great! If you want to add some background around it, then click on the background image on the left of your screen. Change the background color or add a gradient.
You want your background to enhance your photos, not detract. Select a color that compliments the grouping without overpowering it. You may want to change the color of any text in your photo to match your background.
Add a Border
You can add borders to individual photos being in your college or to the entire collage. Using the fx icon in the Layers Panel, select Stroke. A Layer Style window will open where you can adjust the opacity, color, size, and position.
Adding a border to each photo individually means you can change them for each photo. To have all borders identical, right-click the layer you added the Stroke to and select Copy Layer Style.
Select “all other photo layers,” then right-click, and choose Paste Layer Style. The stroke that was created on the first layer will now be added to each photo in the collage.
Save Your Image
Be sure to save your collage as a .psd file so you can edit it again later if you want. You can also export it in whatever format you need, such as jpeg, to order a print of it or share it on social media.
There are shortcuts to capture a screenshot of your image while still in photoshop.
In Microsoft Windows simply press the “Prt Sc” button on your keyboard to take a photo of the entire visible screen. The photo is placed on your clipboard. Pressing Alt+Prt Sc will capture only the active window, not the full screen.
The commands for Mac OS X are Command+Sift+3 for the entire screen. Use Command+Sift+4 for a selected area of the screen.
You have now created your first collage in Photoshop. Experiment, do something wild and crazy. Have fun with your images. For more fun and exciting ideas, we invite you to check out our other blogs.