Tutorial: Using Photo Collage Templates in Photoshop Elements

I’m a huge fan of photo collages.

They’re a great way to create a storyboard, showcase multiple photos in a minimal amount of space, and a wonderful way to add visual appeal to your blog posts.

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Using collage templates might be a bit tricky and intimidating at first, but they don’t have to be. I’ve created this simple step-by-step guide to using photo templates in Photoshop Elements. It’s straight-forward, easy to follow, and a whole lot of fun.

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Tutorial: Using Photo Collage Templates in Photoshop Elements

Before we begin, open your collage template and the images you wish to use in Photoshop Elements.

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Step 1

In the layers palette, click on the frame layer you wish to insert your photo into. In this example, the frame layer we’re clicking on is conveniently named “Photo 1″.

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Step 2

Drag and drop your photo onto the collage template. You’ll notice in the layers palette that your photo is automatically inserted above the frame layer, “Photo 1″.

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Step 3

Create a clipping mask by clicking on Ctrl + G. You’ll now notice that your photo only appears within the frame. (Note: A clipping mask is a group of layers to which a mask is applied. The bottom layer defines the visible boundary of your photo.)

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Step 4

Re-size your image so that it sits nicely within the frame.

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Fill the remaining frames in your collage template by repeating steps 1-4 for each photo.

Step 5

Flatten your image by clicking on Flatten Image in the layers palette menu.

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Step 6

Now your collage is complete and ready to be saved!

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Looking for a FREE collage template? I’ve got you covered.

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24 Comments

  1. by viviene @ thejourneyofawoman on April 28, 2012  6:46 pm Reply

    I have not used photoshop in my whole life. =p this is a great way to start! Thanks for the tutorial!!

    Stopping by from SITS

    • by Keri on January 20, 2013  12:59 pm Reply

      This is a great collage; however, after I create my clipping mask - my image becomes distorted and does not appear correctly within the frame. How do I make my image not appear distorted? Thanks.

      • by Kristi on January 20, 2013  1:17 pm Reply

        Thanks, Keri. Do you find that you have to increase the size of the image to fit within the frame? If so, that would definitely cause the image to appear fuzzy and less sharp. If that's the case, decrease the size of the template itself (in PSE, the shortcut is ctrl + alt + i) before adding your images so that you don't need to stretch your photo to fit within the frame. That should help. If it's another problem, email me with a copy of what's happening with the template and I'll be glad to help. kristinohea@gmail.com

  2. by Lisa on April 28, 2012  11:33 pm Reply

    This is great. Thank you! I've been wanting to do one of these but didn't know how.

  3. by Paula Kiger on April 29, 2012  1:46 pm Reply

    I really must invest in Photoshop elements at some point!! Great tutorial.

    • by Kristi on April 30, 2012  10:39 am Reply

      Thank you so much, Kristy! Hope you had a great weekend! :)

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  8. by Iryna on May 3, 2012  4:26 pm Reply

    I just made my collage in Photoshop! It is a little different from Elements. Thank you so much for this tute!
    Here is my result - http://irishagold.blogspot.com/2012/05/weekend-preview.html
    ~ Iryna

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  10. by Alexandria on May 21, 2012  11:02 am Reply

    I'm glad i found this post! I haven't used Photoshop and yes, it's intimidating coz I'm not that good when it comes to messing up with software and stuff. Thanks for making it easy!

  11. by portrait paintings on May 29, 2012  12:07 am Reply

    Hi I have just got photoshop elements 9 and i know Absolutely nothing about photo editing with this program etc, im trying to get the raw files onto it and after it has downloaded it always comes up cannot open arw because it is the wrong file type.

  12. by Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] on May 31, 2012  12:38 pm Reply

    I'm not new to PSE but I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Following your tutorial step by step but CTRL + G to make a clipping mask doesn't work. My photo will NOT stay in the border of the intended frame. Not sure what I'm doing wrong!

    • by Kristi on May 31, 2012  2:24 pm Reply

      Since you've already downloaded the template, I'm sure your first question has been answered. Now that's it's downloaded, the template is yours. No logging back on to use it. :)

      As far as getting your photo to stay in the frame, can you please send me a screenshot of your entire screen so I can see what's going on? I'll do my very best to get back to you today, but I'm actually packing right now for our trip to Hawaii. We leave early tomorrow morning and I haven't even begun to pack for myself and my four kids as we've been really sick. :( If I can't get back to you tonight, I'll surely respond on Saturday. I hope you understand. Thanks!

  13. by Lauren Cioffi on June 7, 2012  9:45 am Reply

    Hi there! I love this post!! I can't wait to give this a try!!! I hope you don't mind, but I have included this tutorial in a blog post: Top 10 photoshop tutorials, on my blog, "Cookies with Cronkite." I have included a link to this post, a picture and a link to your blog homepage. Check it out.. please leave comments, I would LOVE your feed back!!

    Here's a link to the post! Thanks again for a great tutorial!

    http://cookieswithcronkite.com/?p=1239

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