Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Making Photo Collage Tutorial

Adobe Photoshop CS2 Tutorial: Making Photo Collage Tutorial

Nicholas and also several other blog reads emailed me / commented on this blog before asking me how to make a photo collage. This tutorial is not limited to Adobe Photoshop CS2 and above because as long as your version of photoshop allows cropping then you're more or less prepared to start working on your own fantastic photo collage :) In fact the making of a photo collage largely taps on your creativity so do remember it is the imagination that really counts!

An important prerequisite for creating a photocollage is you must ensure that you've got enough photos to be placed in it. 3 photos doesn't make a nice photo collage you know. And make sure that you've informed the respective copyright owners if you're not using your own photos. So it is best to have a photo archive of your own. 

In this tutorial I will demonstrate the basic mathematics (to some it's a pain-in-the-*ss subject in high school but, ah, you've gotta use it) behind making a photo collage so that it can be presented nicely and neatly on your blog or webpage. Here is a piece of good news – this tutorial isn't going to be as long as expected since it all boils down creating grids and positioning of your images properly.

Since this is another hands-on tutorial so there is no need for a demo.psd file yea. I believe you can do it yourself ;) as long as you follow the steps closely (as well as understand the motive behind them) you'll be there!

Let's go!

Step 1 – Laying Out the Grid 

Step 1 - Laying Out the Grid

This is just a sample grid. You're NOT REQUIRED to draw this out since I'm explaning the concept behind it. So just enjoy the screenshots and you happily scroll down. I strongly recommend you to design the imaginary grid such that each box is a square (48×48 pixels) with a 2-pixel spacing around them.


Step 2 – Looking Close Up…

Step 2 - Looking Close Up…

Note that all grids are supposed to be SQUARES and there MUST be at least some spacing between them so that they don't look overly cluttered. Ensure that there is uniform spacing between all grids. In this case, we're adapting 48×48 squares with a uniform padding (up, down, left and right, except those lying at the borders of the image) of 2 pixels. 


Step 3 – Get Creative!

Step 3 - Get Creative!

There are basically thousands of combinations you can make from the imaginary grid you've created! Notice that all the widths and heights of the image boxes are multiple of 50 minus 2. So when you want to crop your images and put them inside just take a multiple of 50 minus 2 and tada! The reason of having a "minus 2" is because the spacing between the grids have to be taken into account.

The advantages of using this 48×48 pixels individual grid system is that the final photo collage can be easily tailored to suit the display container on your blog. For example on my blog, the display container for my posts are at about 510pixels wide so I must make sure that my images are narrower than that. So I'll just create a canvas with 498 pixels wide (approx 500 pixels), which is pretty good. For other normal blogs your container can accomodate an image with maximum width of around 400px so you'll just have to set the canvas size to 398px!

No Worries – The creating of canvas and other photoshop details will be demonstrated later. Just get the concept right first.


Step 4 – Referring to the Photo Collage Above

Step 4 - Referring to the Photo Collage Above

The same mathematical theory applies! So you grasp the idea behind making a photo collage? If you think you're ready, let's move on to the next step.


Step 5 – Set Canvas Size

Step 5 - Set Canvas Size

Go to File > New or just punched Ctrl + N to create a new canvas.

The size of the canvas greatly depends on the maximum width of the images your blog can display. For my blog I use 498 pixels (approx 500 pixels) but for normal blogs which uses premade templates I strongly recommend you to use 398 pixels (since they're tailored to give a bigger sidebar and be 800×600 compatible at the same time).


Step 6 – Create Background Colour

Step 6 - Create Background Colour

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color… to create a new background colour depending on the background colour of your blog. For my blog since I use a white background colour for the posts section so I'll just stick to white. You can change the background colour anytime by clicking on the layer and change the colour accordingly. No rocket science here.


Step 7 – You'll Get This!

Step 7 - You’ll Get This!

If you followed the steps correctly you'll get this. I've zoomed out to 66.7% since if I leave it at 100% you won't be able to see the whole thing :mrgreen:


Step 8 – Import Image

Step 8 - Import Image

You'll the need to import a photo into photoshop. You can do this by either dragging the photo directly into photoshop, double clicking on the grey area of the workarea or access File > Open… [Ctrl + O]. After importing the photo into photoshop, click on the Crop Tool button and set the width and height of the crop. Remember the mathematics behind creating the photo collage? Make the width and the height a multipleof 50 minus 2. So by right it should end with an 8. Oh and it need not be a square.


Step 9 – Crop Image

Step 9 - Crop Image

With the settings all tweaked as stated in the previous step, select the area you would want to present in the photo collage and crop it out by dragging the mouse over the area. Since you've fixed the size you everything will be in proportion. 


Step 10 – Drag Cropped Image Into Canvas

Step 10 - Drag Cropped Image Into Canvas

Now you'll need to drag the cropped image into the canvas. This can be done by directly clicking on the image and literally drag it onto the new canvas. It's that easy. 


Step 11 – Position Image

Step 11 - Position Image

Now you'll position the image onto the canvas since dragging it will put the image anywhere you've stopped your mouse on the new canvas. Usually when you drag the image near the border it will snap to the border. I strongly recommend you start placing images from the top-left corner as this is the way how human mind do things. Makes lives way easier for you :D


Step 12 – Repeat

Step 12 - Repeat

Repeat step 8 to 11, and you might want to use a different dimension now for the second image. Unleash your creativity and imagination :razz: Drag the second image and snap it to the border of the first image. DO NOT attempt the create spacing between images using your mouse. Don't care about the 2pixels spacing yet. We'll deal with it in the next step.


Step 13 – Positioning of Remaining Images 

Step 13 - Positioning of Remaining Images

If you've noticed the 2 pixel spacing is missing. Well the reason why I recommended you to snap it to the first image is so that you can create the spacing by just punching the direction keys twice (for every one time a direction key is pressed, the selected layer will move to the direction as indicated by one pixel). And tada,you'll get a 2 pixel spacing now.


And now you're all to yourself. Good luck! Hope you find this tutorial useful! All kinds of comments are encouraged. Shout out loud :mrgreen:

Here are just some random samples taken from other places on my blog:

teddY’s Favourite Photos

Shops! Shops! More Shops!

Have a nice day playing around with photoshop! 

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