Create a Vertical Photo Collage with Photoshop
Hi everyone, Steve Patterson here from Photoshop
Essentials. In this video, I’ll show you how to turn your images into a simple vertical
photo collage with Photoshop. To follow along, you’ll want to be using Photoshop CC and
you’ll find a link to the latest version in the video description. If you like these
videos, be sure to Subscribe, and let’s get started! We’ll start by creating a new
Photoshop document. When you launch Photoshop CC without opening an image, you’re taken
to the Home Screen. To create a new document from the Home Screen, click the Create New
button. Or if you’re not on the Home Screen, you can go up to the File menu in the Menu
Bar and choose New. Either way opens the New Document dialog box. In the Preset Details
panel, enter the document’s Width and Height. For this tutorial, I’ll create a document
that’s twice as wide as it is tall. I’m using a 4K display, so I’ll create a fairly
large document by setting the Width to 3000 pixels and the Height to 1500. If you’re
working with a lower screen resolution, you may want to follow along with a smaller document
that fits better on your screen. In that case, set the Width to 1500 pixels and the Height
to 750. I’ll switch back to my previous settings.
The Resolution value only applies to print, so if you’re creating a collage for the
web or for viewing on screen, you can ignore this option. But if you’re creating it for
print, then set the resolution value to 300 pixels per inch, which is the industry standard
for high quality printing. Leave the Background Contents set to White, and all other options
at their defaults. Then click the Create button to create your new document. Next, we’ll
divide our document into vertical sections, and we’ll do that by adding some guides.
Go up to the View menu in the Menu Bar and choose New Guide Layout. The New Guide Layout
feature is only available in Photoshop CC. In the dialog box, make sure that Columns
is selected so we’re adding vertical guides. Then enter the Number of columns you need
based on the number of images you’ll be using. I have six images, so I’ll enter
6. Leave the Width field empty to let Photoshop space the guides out equally. And since we
don’t want any space between the columns, leave the Gutter field empty as well, or you
can set it to 0. We also don’t need any horizontal guides, so leave the Rows option unchecked.
Then click OK to close the dialog box, and we have our guides dividing up the canvas.
Next, open the images you’ll be placing into the collage by going up to the File menu
and choosing Open. Then navigate to the folder that holds your images.
To make things easier, I’ve renamed my images based on where they will appear in the collage
from left to right. So image 1 will be the first image on the left, image 2 will appear
beside it, and all the way to image 6 on the right. We’re going to open all of our images
into Photoshop at once. To select multiple images, click on your first image to select
it, and then press and hold your Ctrl key, or the Command key on a Mac, and click on
the others. Then click Open. Each one opens in its own separate document, and we can switch
between the documents by clicking on the tabs. For now, switch back to your main collage
document. At this point, moving your images into the collage is just a matter of repeating
the same steps with each image. And the first step is to draw a selection around one of
the vertical strips. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the toolbar. Then draw a
selection around one of the sections. I’ll start with the first one on the left. Click
in the upper left corner, and then keep your mouse button down and drag to the bottom right
corner. Your selection outline should snap to the guides. If it’s not, go up to the
View menu in the Menu Bar and make sure that Snap is turned on. It should have a checkmark
beside it. And in the Snap To menu, make sure that Guides is also turned on. You should
see your selection outline around the first section. Switch to the image you want to place
inside the selection by clicking its tab. Here’s the first image I’m using. I downloaded
all of my images from Adobe Stock, and you’ll find links in the video description. Select
the image by going up to the Select menu and choosing All. Then copy it by going up to
the Edit menu and choosing Copy. Switch back to your main document by clicking its tab.
And then to paste the image into your selection, go up to the Edit menu, choose Paste Special,
and then choose Paste Into. The image, or at least part of it, appears inside the section.
If your image is too wide to fit within the narrow space, then only part of it will be
visible. And chances are, it’s not the part you want to display. So we’ll learn how to
move and resize the image in a moment. But notice that our selection outline is now gone.
Instead, in the Layers panel, we see that not only has Photoshop placed the image on
its own layer, but our selection outline has been converted into a layer mask. The white
part of the mask is the area that was inside the selection, and that’s where the image
is visible in the document. And the black part was everything outside the selection.
This is where the image is hidden. Also notice that the space between the layer’s thumbnail
and the mask thumbnail is empty. Normally, we’d see a link icon here, which you can
turn on by clicking in the empty space. But when the link icon is visible, the layer and
the mask are linked together, and this means that we can’t move or resize the image without
doing the same thing to the mask. We need to adjust the image without affecting the
mask, so if you see the link icon, click on it to turn it off. Also, make sure the image,
not the layer mask, is selected. You should see a white border around the image thumbnail.
To resize and move the image into place, go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform.
This places the Free Transform box and handles around the image. If you can’t see all of
the handles because your image is too big, go up to the View menu and choose Fit on Screen.
Then click inside the Free Transform box and drag your subject into view. In my case, I
think the image looks to be about the right size, but if you need to resize it, click
and drag any of the handles. As of Photoshop CC 2019, Free Transform now scales images
proportionally by default so there’s no need to hold Shift. But you can scale the
image from its center by holding Alt or Option on a Mac as you drag. To accept your changes
and close Free Transform, click the checkmark in the Options Bar. And we now have our first
image in place. Adding the rest of the images is just a matter of repeating the same steps.
Make sure the Rectangular Marquee Tool is selected in the toolbar. Then click and drag
out a selection around the next vertical section. Switch to the image you want to place inside
the selection by clicking its tab. I’ll choose my second image. Select the image by
going up to the Select menu and choosing All, and then copy it by going to the Edit menu
and choosing Copy. Switch back to your main document by clicking its tab. And then paste
the image into the selection by going up to the Edit menu, choosing Paste Special, and
then Paste Into. Back in the Layers panel, we see the image on its own layer, and our
selection outline has been converted into a layer mask. And by default, the layer and
the mask should be unlinked, with no link icon between them. To move and resize the
image, go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform. Then move your subject into place
by dragging inside the Free Transform box. If you can’t see the handles around the
image, go up to the View menu and choose Fit on Screen. And then drag the handles to resize
it. Hold Alt or Option on a Mac to resize it from its center. I’ll move my image up
a bit higher. And you can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge the image into
place. To accept it, click the checkmark in the Options Bar. I’ll zoom in a bit closer
by holding my Ctrl key, or the Command key on a Mac, and pressing the plus sign on my
keyboard. Let’s quickly go through the steps with one more image, and then I’ll fast
forward to the end. First, draw a selection outline around the next vertical section,
and then switch to your next image. Select it by going to Select>All, and then copy
it by going to Edit>Copy. Switch back to your main document, and then go to Edit>Paste
Special>and Paste Into. Select the Free Transform command by going to Edit>Free
Transform, and then drag your subject into place. Drag the handles to resize the image,
or nudge it into place with the arrow keys on your keyboard. And to accept it, click
the checkmark in the Options Bar. So now that we know the steps. I’ll fast forward through
my other images until they’re all added to the collage. When you’re done, the images
will appear on their own separate layers in the Layers panel, and each one will have its
own layer mask showing where the image is visible in the collage. The only thing I want
to change here is that I think the guy on the left should be moved up a bit higher.
So rather than using Free Transform, I’ll select the Move Tool from the toolbar. In
the Options Bar, I’ll make sure that Auto-Select is turned on and set to Layer so I can select
the image just by clicking on it. Then I’ll click on the guy with the Move Tool and I’ll
nudge him upward using my arrow keys. And I think that looks better. I’ll zoom back
in on my image by going up to the View menu and choosing 100%. At this point, we’re
done with our guides, so to remove them, go back up to the View menu and choose Clear
Guides. To add the borders, we’ll use a Stroke layer effect. But rather than applying
it to one image at a time, we’ll add the Stroke to the first image and then copy and
paste it onto the others. In the Layers panel, select the first image on the left by clicking
its thumbnail. Then click the Layer Effects icon at the bottom and choose Stroke from
the list. In the Layer Style dialog box, click the Reset to Default button so we’re both
starting with the default Stroke settings. Then choose a new color for the stroke by
clicking the color swatch. In the Color Picker, choose white, and then click OK. And we can
already see the stroke around the first image on the left.
Change the Position of the stroke from Inside to Center so that the stroke’s width will
be divided equally between this image and the image beside it. And finally, choose a
Size for your stroke. Thin strokes tend to look best, so I’ll set mine to 4 pixels.
When you’re done, click OK to close the dialog box. So now that we’ve applied the stroke
to one layer, we can copy and paste it onto the others. To copy it, go up to the Layer
menu, choose Layer Style, and then choose Copy Layer Style. Next, we need to select
the other layers. Start by selecting the next layer directly above the one where we applied
the stroke. Then press and hold your Shift key and click on the top layer. This selects
both layers plus all layers in between. To paste the stroke, go back to the Layer menu,
choose Layer Style, and this time choose Paste Layer Style. And now we see the stroke around
the other images as well. The only problem with the stroke is that if I select the Zoom
Tool from the toolbar and I zoom in on it, we see that the stroke around the outside
of the collage is only half as wide as the stroke between the images. To fix that, we’ll
add a new layer above the images, apply the stroke again, and then change its position.
In the Layers panel, click on the top layer to select it. Then at the bottom, click the
Add New Layer icon. A new blank layer appears above the images. At the moment, the layer
is transparent, and Photoshop won’t display the stroke in front of transparency. So we
first need to add some content to the layer. And the quickest way is to fill the layer
with our Foreground color. By default, your Foreground color is black, as we see in the
color swatch in the toolbar. We’re going to hide the color once we add it, so if your
Foreground color is set to something else, that’s fine. To fill the layer with your Foreground
color, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on a Mac. The color temporarily blocks the
collage from view. Then paste the stroke onto the layer by going back to the Layer menu,
choosing Layer Style, and again choosing Paste Layer Style. In the Layers panel, double-click
on the word “Stroke” below the top layer. This reopens the Layer Style dialog box so
you can edit your settings. Leave the Size value the same as before, but change the Position
from Center to Inside. This moves the entire width of the stroke to the inside of the image.
When you’re done, click OK to close the dialog box. And then back in the Layers panel,
hide the contents of the top layer by lowering the Fill value all the way down to 0 percent.
Unlike the Opacity value above it which hides both the layer’s contents and any layer effects
we’ve applied, Fill hides only the contents. Layer effects, like our stroke, remain visible.
And now if I zoom back in on the stroke, we see that the width around the outer edges
and the width between the images is the same. So at this point, the main collage is done.
But if you find that there are too many different colors in your images all fighting for attention,
here’s an easy way to unify the colors and blend the whole collage together. In the Layers
panel, make sure the top layer is still selected. Then click the New Fill or Adjustment Layer
icon at the bottom and choose a Solid Color fill layer from the list. In the Color Picker,
choose a single color to mix in with the others. I like to use orange because it also helps
to warm the images up. I’ll set the H, or Hue value to 40, the S or Saturation value
to 100, and the B for Brightness value also to 100. When you’re done, click OK. The
color temporarily blocks the images from view, and in the Layers panel, the fill layer appears
at the top. To blend the color in with the images, first change the Blend Mode of the
fill layer from Normal to Color. Then lower the Opacity of the layer. A good way to work
is to start by lowering the value all the way down to 0 percent so you’re seeing just
the original colors. Then slowly increase the value until you’re mixing in just enough
of the fill layer to blend everything together. Generally, an opacity of 10 to 15 percent
is all you need. You can toggle the fill layer on and off to compare the original colors
with the colorized version by clicking its visibility icon. So here are the images with
their original colors. And here’s how they look with the fill layer blended in. And there
we have it! That’s how to create a simple vertical photo collage with Photoshop! As
always, I hope you enjoyed this video, and if you found it helpful, don’t forget to
Like it, Share it and Subscribe to my channel for more videos. Visit my website, PhotoshopEssentials.com
where you’ll find hundreds of Photoshop tutorials. Thanks for watching and I’ll
see you next time. I’m Steve Patterson from PhotoshopEssentials.com.