The reasons you might want to create a collage image are countless. There are times where you’d rather splice a selection of images together to create a single image, a collection of your favorites all in one that can then be used for various other reasons.
Perhaps you’d like something collated together when creating a photo book for a mother’s day gift? Even professionals might have a need for such an image, such as an ecommerce business needing product images for their online store that show off multiple features of a product, or a freelancer using creative techniques on their portfolio website to demonstrate their skills.
So you see, there are plenty of reasons to create a collage, and two distinct ways of doing so…
The Important First Steps of Creating a Collage
Regardless of the method of editing you choose – both options detailed below – there are a couple of things you should deal with first.
You’ll already know why you want to create a collage, but first think about how many photos you want to use and pick the very best with this goal in mind. Having a particular layout in your head will help, too, but of course this might change as you start putting the collage together.
But it’s equally important to first edit the images you want to use. This might involve more heavy-handed retouching to remove unwanted aspects, or simple edits to brightness and contrast – but, either way, it is better to use images that are already perfected rather than editing them within the collage itself.
The Old Fashioned Way of Creating a Collage Image
If you have access to professional photo editing software, perhaps like Xara Photo & Graphic Designer, then it’s relatively simple to put together a collage of your own design. While there are other methods that are quicker and easier – which we’ll get on to later – as with many techniques in photo editing there is a lot more control and customization allowed if you choose to do it with professional image editing software.
Here’s the process:
- Import your images of choice into the software.
- Create a new blank image, using a background that will suitably fit each of the images that you want to use. Use a gray background for this.
- Draw a long, thin, rectangular selection box along one edge of the background (using rulers and guides to get the size of the border that you want), then fill it in with white.
- Duplicate this layer, then move the new line to the opposite edge of the background.
- Create enough guides using percentages to correspond with the number of boxes you want. If you want a set of four images in a row, then create a set of three vertical guides, one each at 25%, 50% and 75%.
- Duplicate the first layer again, one time for each guide you created. Drag the new boxes into place at each of the guides.
- Repeat this process for the opposite side of the box. If you began on the horizontal axis, complete the vertical axis – or vice versa.
- Once you have your grid, select each of the layers and group or merge (software-dependant) them all into a single layer.
- Drag each of the images you want to use into the document, creating a new layer for each of them. Then, ensure the grid layer is the top-most layer.
- Tweak the size, rotation and positioning of the photos into each of the gray boxes. If a photo peeks out from under the grid, simply use the erase tool to wipe it away. If each image is on its own layer, you won’t need to worry about erasing other photos.
Once everything has been put in its place and adjusted as you want it, your collage is complete. Export the image to have the collage ready to use, but consider deleting all those photos and saving the grid (not exporting) without anything inside. This way you won’t need to recreate it if you want to make another collage.
Remember that the color, pattern or background of the created grid can be changed. It’s a blank, white layer of all its own, so it’s easy to add in further details should you want to.
The Easy Way to Create a Collage Image
But, of course, you probably don’t want to spend all this time fiddling around with guides, grids, and photo sizes, so even if you do have professional software it might be better to opt for something cloud-based. Fotor is a great option, not only because it includes image editing as part of its package, but projects can be saved to the cloud and you don’t need to pay to make use of the basic tools.
As such we’ve used Fotor as an example, but most online collage creators will work the same:
- Find the collage option and from there choose a layout that you like.
- Import each of the images you’d like to use for the collage.
- Drag the photos one by one into each of the spaces in the layout.
- Resize, rotate and reposition the images until you’re happy with the collage’s look.
And that’s it! So much easier, right? Best of all is that most online collage creation tools will allow you to quickly and easily edit the background for the collage, allowing you to experiment much more effectively than if you created it yourself.
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