June 4, 2012

Tutorial | How to Create a Photo Collage in Photoshop Elements

I started my research at 3PM this afternoon. My research ended at 7:30PM.. Let’s just say I wanted to pull my hair out. After 500 million tutorials & a few frustrated groans I figured it out. I was so frustrated that I thought I would document a how to in case there is 1 person out there looking for an dummy version. 

I create photo templates in photoshop for my blog. I thought of the genius idea of converting my templates to “drag & drop” templates. You can modify this tutorial for any use. Digital scrapbooks, cards, anything you can think of. If you have ANY questions please don’t hesitate to ask. It’s my first tutorial so it’s either a) missing crucial pieces or b) I’ve made it way harder than it needs to be. 
I honestly just want to get this out so that 2 years from now when I do a redesign I can remember how I made these bad boys. 
Here we go……
1. Start by opening photoshop elements (I’m working in 9)
2. Go to File >> New >> Blank File 
3. A window will then open like the one below. You can change your width, height, title, and if you want the background to be transparent (only will stay transparent if saved as .psd file) or if you want white. I work with a white background.

4. Hit “OK”
5. The white shape will appear. Then go over to the left hand toolbar and right click on the shape and make sure you have what you want selected.
6. The layers over on the bottom right hand side are important. Do not flatten your image or else this tutorial will not work! 🙂 

7. I free hand my shapes. So my collage is what appears below. You don’t need to worry about the colors like I do (OCD tendencies). & your shapes can be any way you would like. Mine is just purely for this example.
8. Then go to File >> Place >> 
9. Pick the image that you would like from your computer. I accessed my “caynay favorites” folder and picked one image from there. 

*This is where it gets a little tricky so please read carefully!*
10. Once your choose your image. It will appear behind all the shapes that you have created on your collage. Hit enter or the green check mark to set the image in your template. 

11. On the bottom right hand corner in your layers panel is where the adjustment will be made. You need to click and drag the image to [[ABOVE]] the shape where you want the image to be placed. So I wanted the image of Carly to be on the right hand side in the vertical rectangle. It will look a little like the image below. 
12. Then you will want to go to Layer >> Create Clipping Mask 

13. This will SET the image into place. You can then click and drag your image to fill the shape you have created. While doing this make sure you have “Constrain Proportions” check marked so that your image doesn’t become distorted while you size.

14. UPDATED STEP- When moving and making your image larger to fit in the frame make sure you have the “constrain proportions” clicked off in the header.. This will keep your image shaped correctly verses the funny “pulled and stretched” look! Thank you Miller Mom for bringing this up in the comment section!

15. Then you will save like you normally would in elements.

15. If you save in .jpeg you will be able to post the image to wherever you would like.

16. To SAVE your reusable photo template you can DELETE the images that you have placed in the template. Make sure to not delete the boxes that you created initially. By saving as a .psd you will be able to open the template in photoshop again and reuse!

17. Here is my final product! 🙂 

I hope you found this tutorial useful and like I said, if you have any questions feel free to ask. I will respond either in a comment left below or you can email me directly at caynayphoto@gmail.com. I hope this wasn’t too confusing for you!

Happy collage making!

As for those of you who are more visual learners (myself included) I created a video! Hope you all find this useful!

Template from Caitlin Stemper on Vimeo.

|| UPDATE AS OF 3/26/13 — A HUGE thank you to the 2000 6500 people that have viewed this tutorial. Those that have pinned, shared, read, and have found this useful! Also, thank you to those have commented and given direct feedback. HUGS to you all!! || 

  1. The Love Hanger says:

    Thank you for this! I'm about to attempt to make a photo collage now, but I only have PSE 4 so I don't know if it will have the same features. But I'm going to try anyway! Thanks!

  2. Tori Thompson says:

    Great tutorial! Thank you so much!

  3. Cristin says:

    Thanks for posting this! I'm considering using BlogStomp but its $49 so I should probably just learn to use my PSE9 🙂

  4. Miller Mom says:

    THANK YOU for this- it was super helpful and you're correct, there is little out there to instruct on these layouts. The only thing I was left trying to figure out was how exactly to resize the images before you set the image into place. You mentioned constraining proportions but I wasn't sure about how to manipulate them (or if you even could). I searched for a few days for other tutorials that mentioned it and never found one. One day I became determined to figure it out in PSE and found it (it was right in front of my face, duh :). So if you're ever editing your piece this would be good to add. I sure appreciate your help!! :), Stacy

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this easy to follow tutorial!

  6. twirlingbetty says:

    THANK YOU for this great, clearly explained, super-helpful tutoriall. I've been searching and searching for how to do this. So delighted to find your explanation.

  7. Mzmeeka says:

    Thank you SOOOO MUCH!! Very helpful!!

  8. Sarah Just The Bee's Knees says:

    Awesome tutorial!! I've been trying to figure this out FOREVER and this made it so easy! Figured it out on the first try. Thanks!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so very much. I was able to follow your tutorial and make a collage in just minutes. This has not been easy trying to make one before. I want to do one for the big picture on facebook home page. Just need to figure out what size it is.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great tutorial! Really helpful and means I can put together a collage in minutes and cut so much time off my workload 🙂 thanks

  11. Jeanne and Josh says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial! Have you ever tried printing a collage image?

  12. Caitlin Stemper says:

    Hey Dot!

    So glad you found this helpful!
    Your cover photo is 851 pixels wide & 315 pixels tall! 🙂

  13. Caitlin Stemper says:

    Jeanne & Josh –

    I haven't tried printing a collage image but I can't imagine why it wouldn't work well! If you do print one let me know how it goes! 🙂

  14. Caitlin Stemper says:

    Glad you found this helpful! 🙂

  15. Caitlin Stemper says:

    Yay! Makes me so happy that it was so easy!


  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! This is so much easier than anything else I have found! Can't wait to display my photos in a new way! =)

  17. Jennifer says:

    I wish I was one of those that got this on one try, but sadly, I am not. I don't see how to adjust the future photo boxes
    before adding the actual photos. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks so much for the tutorial and video. Tried
    them both.

  18. web development India says:

    Thanks for sharing the photoshop tutorials here. Keep up the good work. All the best.

  19. Greg Smith says:

    Great tutorial. Just what I was looking for to create 'before and after' image blocks.

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