How To Make A Collage In Photoshop

How To Make A Collage In Photoshop

Remember as a kid how fun it was to make collages from cut out magazines pictures? How long has it been since you made one? Well, buckle your seat belts because I’m going to show you how simple it is to design a collage in Photoshop. It may seem complicated at first, but just make one, and see if you aren’t addicted. Collages are an amazing exercise in creativity, and have a wide variety of uses. Keep reading to learn how to make a collage in Photoshop.

collage made in photoshop

What Is A Collage?

“Collage” in French means “to glue.” Typically, collages were created by gluing a variety of items onto a mounting board to make an integrated work of art. Magazine pictures, fabric, photographs, paintings, drawings, or any other media were all fair game. Collages are a great way to take individual items, combining them together in a finished project.

A stunning photo collage can now be made online with the incredible digital tools we have at our disposal. If you’re a photographer or graphic designer, you’ll most likely have access to Photoshop, but if you’re like me, you probably haven’t tapped into a tenth of what this incredible software can do. I just recently learned how to make collages, and I’ve been using Photoshop for over a decade. I must be behind the times.

Make Your Own Collages

Let’s get started designing your first collage:

1. Launch Photoshop and go to “File,” then “New.” The width and height should be 1920 x 1080 pixels. Click “Create.”

new file in photoshop

2. Go back to your menu, and select “View,” then “New Guide Layout.”  You’ll see a box where you can choose the number of columns and rows you want. I just want two columns and two rows for this tutorial, but you can select how many you want, depending on your project. This is what it looks like:

New guide layout in Photoshop
Press “Ok.”

3. Add a “New Layer.”

new layer in photoshop

Select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool.”

rectangular marquee tool in photodshop
4. Choose a color from the color picker. I chose red. Now press “Ok.”

Color Picker in Photoshop
5. With the marquee tool, select the first square. Right click with your mouse, and select “Fill.”

Marquee and fill in photoshop

This is what the “Fill” box looks like. Make sure the “Contents” section says “Foreground Color.” Press “OK.”

Fill box in Photoshop

The square should now be filled with the foreground color you chose in step 4.

Fill in Photoshop. Color is red
6. Adding a new layer for each box, repeat this sequence for the other three squares, choosing a different color for each square. Make sure only one square is selected at a time. Here’s what mine looks like:

four different colored squares in photoshop
7. Add “New Layer” and select the “Elliptical Marquee” tool:

elliptical marquee tool photoshop
8. Select another color that you like and press “OK.”

color picker in photoshop
9. While holding the shift key, make a perfect circle with the elliptical marquee tool. Align the circle in the center of the squares. Right click, and select “Fill.” You can move the circle if it isn’t centered:

circle within four squares in photoshop
This is what it looks like now:

blue circle in colorful square
Pretty colorful, right?

10. Keeping the circle selected, add a new layer. Select white, right click, and select “Stroke.”

Stroke selection in photoshop
When this box pops up, the stroke width should be 15 px. Select the “Center” option under “Location.”

15 px stroke width
Moving right along. This is what mine looks like:

blue circle
11. Add a new layer, and select the “Single Row Marquee Tool.”

single row marquee tool
With your the “Single Row Marquee Tool”, select the center line. Right click and select “Stroke.” The settings should be the same as in step 10. See how the middle line is white?

four squares and a circle
12. Select the “Single Column Marquee Tool.”

single column marquee tool
With this tool, select the center again, but vertically this time. Right click, selecting “Stroke,” and keeping the settings the same. Here’s what it should look like:

vertical line in photoshop on squares and circle
13. Right click on the icon of the circle layer, and press “Select Pixels.”

blending options in photoshop

Now select the top layer, which is layer 7.

top layer in Photoshop
Go to “Edit” and “Cut.”

edit and cut in photoshop
14. Select the entire document with the “Rectangular Marquee Tool,” right click, and select “Stroke.” Leave the pixels at 15, but this time change the setting to “Inside” under “Location:

stroke selection in photoshop
15. Go to “Edit,” then “Deselect.” Select the circle layer, clicking the little eye icon to the left to see its location. See how it eliminated the blue circle when I clicked on the eye? This is a handy trick to see what layer you’re working on.

eye icon in photoshop
16. Now drag and drop a photo of your choice onto the circle. Click the checkmark.

add new image in photoshop

Right click on the photo layer, and select “Create Clipping Mask:”

create clipping mask
17. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool, right click on the picture, and select “Free Transform.”

Free Transform in Photoshop

Resize the photo by holding the Shift key. Align it to where you want it.

blueberries in colorful square

Time to click the checkmark again. It’s right above the blueberries.

Photoshop editor
18. Click on the next colored box layer and choose the photo you want to place on it. Click on the eye on the left side of the layer again to see exactly where the layer is located. Now drag and drop your photo onto the box, aligning it where you want it. Be sure and click the checkmark again.

Right click on the photo layer where you just placed your picture – not the picture, but the layer. Select “Create Clipping Mask.” Right click on the picture, and select “Free Transform. Adjust the scale of the picture to the size you want it. Once it’s positioned, click the trusty checkmark again. It’s like magic. See how good it’s looking?!

Photoshop clipping masks
19. Repeat this process three more times to complete your collage:

  • Click on the layer where you want to place your picture.
  • Drag your photo onto the box, aligning it where you want it.
  • Press the checkmark.
  • Right click on the photo layer where you placed your picture.
  • Create a clipping mask.
  • Now free transform the picture to the size you want it, positioning it within the box.
  • Click the checkmark again.

20. Lastly, go to “View,” “Show,” and “Guides.” The guides should now be gone. Save your file as a psd so you have the option to make changes later. You can also flatten the file, and save it as a JPEG.

view, show, guides in Photoshop
This is what my finished collage looks like. I’m pretty pleased!

finished collage in photoshop
Although, there are a lot of steps, once you get in the groove, collage-making is easy and will become second nature. I love making them, and the applications are endless. Have fun creating with this amazing tool. If you’re just starting out in the world of photography, click here to design a photography website the easy way.

Key Points

Collages are a ton of fun to create. You can use them to design wedding or birthday invitations, brochures, flyers, cards or posters. Use them in your personal life or to market your business. They look professional, and once you’ve chosen your pictures, you can whip them up in no time.

Did you know you could create a collage in Photoshop? Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments:)

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11 thoughts on “How To Make A Collage In Photoshop”

  1. What an awesomely fun idea! The collage in your header image looks really complex but I might be able to handle doing one like what you had in your example! Thank you so much for including a video! It’s much easier for me to follow along visually than trying to read it out. But I do appreciate the progress images to show how it should look after each step. 

    Nothing more frustrating than going through the entire process not knowing if each step is resulting in the right thing. Your images are great because I will be able to figure out if I’m doing it right! What version of Photoshop has this capability? Thanks so much for a great post!

    • I’m using Adobe Photoshop CC 2018. I’m assuming previous versions of Photoshop have collage-making capabilities, but I’m not absolutely positive. Try your hand at making one. It’s easier than you think, and you can watch the video for additional instruction. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Hello Holl. Thank you for sharing this guide on how to make a collage in Photoshop. I love collages. With Photoshop we are able to combine different photos together in whatever form we want them to be combined. I make collages with apps on my android phone. I’d love to make one with Photoshop too. Perhaps this guide will make the process easier. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this great tutorial. I have been looking for a step-by-step guide on making nice cover graphics for a long time.

    The process seems quite intensive, but I’m glad you explained every step in visual detail. Collages look great on homepages and also within posts. I’ll definitely have to learn this skill. 

    I marked this post for future reference. Thanks again!

    • Hi Stefan,

      Try making a collage. While it does seem complicated at first, you’ll get the hang of it quite quickly. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use Canva. It’s a great platform for making collages. Thanks for commenting!

  4. While in school, I used to make collages from newspaper and magazine cuttings for assignments, and it used to be great fun sorting images through paper, and cutting different shapes and sizes and putting them together. In college, this was done through computer programs and software. 

    Photoshop is an amazing software and you have done a great post by showing one of the features of Photoshop. It is indeed detailed and helps a beginner to use the software more efficiently. You should write about other functionalities as well 🙂

    • Photoshop is amazing. I have additional tutorials on this site. Check out my Gaussian Blur tutorial. It’s one of my favorites! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. While in school, I used to make collages from newspaper and magazine cuttings for assignments and it used to great fun sorting images through paper and cutting different shapes and sizes and putting them together. Coming to college, this was then done through computer programs and softwares. Photoshop is an amazing software and you have done a great post by showing one of the features of Photoshop. It is indeed detailed and helps a beginner to use the software more efficiently. You should write about other functionalities as well 🙂

  6. I have Photoshop on my laptop. I always wanted to use if for collages, but I really did not know how to do it. So I always just use the collage apps on my smartphone. This is a bonus for me. Now I can edit photos and create collages using Photoshop. 

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I just learned something new that I always wanted to learn.


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