Art Journal Every Day: Dailies on the Road
Patty Debowski: The Digital Scrapbook Teacher

Tutorial: Digital Photo Collages

A number of people sent me e-mail and left comments asking how I did the photo collages from last Monday's post.  I'm sad to tell you that it's not an app or a plug-and-play program, it's Photoshop.  And it took me about three hours to put together that post. I got some shocked e-mails back when I revealed that detail.  I think sometimes people are surprised by how much time I spend working on this blog.  As you can imagine, to post quality original content five-days-a-week takes a lot of time and dedication.  That said, I enjoy doing it, and receiving all the wonderful comments you leave and e-mails I receive really make my day.  Plus that was a massive post with six big photo collages.  You could easily put a single small photo collage together in ten minutes.  So, let's get on to the how-to!

I purchased several sets of frames from Designer Digitals.  If you don't want to purchase frames, you can make them yourself or download some free ones (here, here, and here).  I should also note that you can download pre-collaged frames and just plug in your photos.  This would make the whole thing go super quickly.

I do all my digital manipulations in Photoshop CS5.1, but you could easily use Photoshop Elements to do this.  This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with the basics of Photoshop.  I personally don't know of any way to do these frames without Photoshop.  If you do, feel free to share in the comments section.

STEP ONE: Photos

The first thing you need to do is open the photos you want to use in your collage and drag them all onto a new canvas.

If there is any editing you want to do, now is the time to fix the contrast and adjust the colors.

Adjust the sizes of the photos and begin to drag them into a general collage format.

STEP TWO: Add Frames

Now it's time to open up the frames you want to use (whether they're purchased, downloaded, or made by you).  Drag each frame onto your canvas one-at-a-time and size it to fit your photo.

Once the frame is fitted to the photo, I like to merge the two layers to make future manipulations easier.  It also makes them easier to shadow.  Speaking of which, if the frame doesn't have a shadow (many frames come with the shadows already done for you), add one.  You can get fancy with all sorts of shadows (like ones that make the photos look curled), but I tend to go with a very simple basic shadow.

Add a caption with the type tool and then rotate it to fit on the tab.

Continue this process until all the photos have frames.

Note: The curled edges are all created by shadows that came pre-attached to the frames I purchased.  But you can create that look yourself.  (Let me know if you're interested in knowing how and I'll do a quick tutorial.)

You can now add additional text as desired.

STEP THREE: Tilt and Adjust

Now it's time to play!  Start tilting and dragging your photos around until you like the composition.

Now crop it and size it for the web and you're done!

I really like the look, but it is a bit of extra work.  If you'd like to learn more digital techniques, I've got a helpful post and a great giveaway coming your way tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. If you'd like to win SEVEN 12x12 stencils from The Crafter's Workshop, check out Julie Prichard's blog.