How to Make a Collage in Photoshop: The 101 on How to Impress Your Friends With Your Photo Creations

howtomakeacollageYou know those awfully cute photo collages you see people post on Facebook? Ever wonder how they do it? Sure there are a couple of apps that make it easy to combine photos, but the customization is limited. When you create a collage on Photoshop – the possibilities are endless! Let’s learn how to get this done, the right way. For more about all the fun you can have on Photoshop, this is the Photoshop 101 online course for you.

1. First, you’re going to need start a new canvas for your collage project. Go to File –> New. Determine the size you’d like the whole collage to be by typing in the width and height.

2. Now that you have a blank canvas it’s time to get started! Go to File –> Open and select the image from your computer or camera that you would like to open. The photo will open in a different tab.

3. Click the move tool on your toolbar and drag this image to the other blank canvas. To make the drag successful you will have to click the image with the move tool, drag your cursor to hover over the “collage” tab (where the arrow is pointing below) and wait for the blank canvas to appear. Move your cursor (still holding down on the left clicker) to the white space. Let go of the left mouse clicker. You should now see your image appear as Layer 1 (look on your layer palette).

I know it seems slightly complex, but the reason we do it like this is to make sure each photo is in its own Layer. This allows us to move and edit each photo independent of one another.


4. Double click the Layer 1 tab and rename it. This is just so you can keep track of what’s picture is what. You can also just keep it Layer 1 if that is easier for you. I’ve kept it Layer 1 for this tutorial. If you want to learn how to retouch a picture of “beautify” it, there’s an online tutorial called Beauty and Portrait Retouching, to walk you through it.

5. Go ahead and close the image tab so that only your collage tab remains as I have done above. You will repeat these steps for the remaining images you wish to add to your collage. It’s okay if your images are overlapping or not completely visible on the canvas. Just get all of your pictures to the canvas and we will work on moving them around and resizing them in a little bit.

6. When you are finished adding your photos to the collage canvas, you might have something that looks like this:

Don’t worry, it may look a little chaotic but we’re about to fix that to make your perfect collage.

7. Go to your layers pallette and select the layer (image) that you would like to edit first. By highlighting this layer you “target” it.

8.  To edit and move, go to Edit–> Free Transform. You should now see anchor points surrounding your picture. By clicking on these anchor points you can now resize your image. If you click in the middle of your image, you can move the whole picture all over your canvas. Edit your photo as you want and then push Enter. This will lock your change into place. You can always edit it again later by going back to Free Transform. To learn more about the abundant tools available to you in Photoshop, check out this quick Photoshop Tools crash course.

A few tips:

1. Sometimes the image you open is actually larger than your canvas size. That’s okay, just highlight the layer, click free transform and now drag the picture until you can see the corner where the anchor points are. Now you can resize the image to fit within your canvas.

2. The shortcut to Free Transform is CTRL + T. Use this instead of going to Edit –> Free Transform every time you want to move your photo.

3. You can actually rotate your image, too. If you take your cursor and go to one of the corner anchor points you’ll notice that a half-moon line with arrows on the end appears. You can now rotate your picture in any direction.

4. If you need to resize your canvas at any point you can certainly do this. Go to Image –> Canvas Size. Adjust the image width and height as you need. Note that by doing this you may clip some of your pictures. They are still there, just not visible. Follow the directions below to move all of your images back into view.

5. If you want to move all of your pictures at one, you can! Go to your layer palette. Click the first layer while holding down CTRL. Continue to hold down CTRL and click on all the layers you want to have active.

9. If you would like to change the order of the pictures (how they are “stacked”), you can do so by dragging the layer boxes on your layer palette around. If you move layer 1 above layer 3, it will now appear to be on top.

10. You can add text to your photos also. To do this, click on your text tool on the toolbar. Click on your image where you want the text to be and type! You can adjust the color, size and font type on the top toolbar. If you’re feeling artistic, there are a lot of awesome things you can learn to do in Photoshop in this course for artists.


11. Save your new collage!

Voila! You have a finished product collage to print off, add on Facebook or use as a wallpaper for your desktop. Enjoy!