Mar 31, 2010

Day Four :: Picture Collage Tutorial :: by Steph!

beautify blog 
I have a guest blogger today!  Thanks so much to my amazing friend Steph for sharing her secrets with us on how to make picture collages. If you read her blog (and I'm sure many of you do), you know how super talented she is.

I think you will enjoy these tips from her on making photo collages!  

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We’re back with the fourth day of 10 Ways to Beautify Your Blog.  I have to be honest – when Nealy asked me to be a “guest blogger” on this series I actually thought to myself “Is she crazy!!!!?”  I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t know anything about blogging. However, I think I might be correct in saying – neither do you.  Am I right?  If so – that’s great.  We’re in the same boat.  I’m sure we can learn a thing or two from one another.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a photo collage for your blog.  For those of you who follow my blog – you probably have noticed that I do a ton of collages.  I love finding creative ways to illustrate a blog post using multiple photos.   And what’s great about a photo collage is that it’s actually VERY easy.  And everyone needs a few more easy things in their lives, right? 

Couple things before we begin.  I use Adobe Photoshop CS3 for all of my design needs.  Now I know it’s probably safe to say that not everyone is willing to shell out the nearly $400 needed for this software (neither did I – I’m just fortunate that my work bought it). The great news is that there are a number of FREE (yes – free!) software programs out there capable of doing what Photoshop can do.   Here are just a few (Nealy – make sure the program you use is on this list and if not please add it):

1. Gimp - Gimp works across several different platform (Linux, Mac, Windows, FreeBSD, Sun OpenSolaris) and is perhaps one of the best free alternatives out there so far.
2. - [Windows only] This photo editor runs on Windows. It has a large and growing community of users, with lots of tutorials.
3. Seashore - [Mac only] Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X’s Cocoa framework. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP’s technology and uses the same native file format.
4. Inkscape - Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, or Xara X. What sets Inkscape apart is its use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.
5. Chocoflop - [Mac only] ChocoFlop is an image editor for Mac OS X, based on the CoreImage technology. It is currently in beta stage and available freely.

So back to the task at hand.  The following instructions are for Photoshop users; however, I’m sure there are very similar functions available in the above software programs. 

Step 1. Open Photoshop and click on File. Click Create New Document and enter the height and width measurements you want for your collage. For my blog  I often do something like a 4x5” collage with a resolution of 300 dpi.

Step 2. Click on File again and then Open. In the browser window, select the photo you want and click Open. The photo you selected should open in a new window.

Step 3. Drag and Drop the new image into the original document. If the image needs edited, use the marquis tool to create the border where you want it. Click on Image and then Crop. Use the Free Transform tool to size your image. When you are satisfied, place the image where you want it on the page. Follow Step 2 to open the next picture and continue to do this until all your images have been added and placed.

Step 4. Once your images are in place, you can add text (I recommend using two fonts and a drop shadow to the text to make it pop) or any other graphics or borders you have stored by opening a new layer. You can also use the tools on the palette to erase, blur or add extra color to your collage.

Step 5. When you are finished with your collage and are sure you no longer want or need to make any changes, click on Layer in the toolbar at the top of the page. Click on Flatten Image. This will reduce the size of your file, but will also remove all the layers which will limit your ability to make any changes. Click on File and then name and save your document in the format you want in the appropriate folder in the browser window. (in most cases I save my collages as .jpeg files)

Here’s an example, - I wanted to put together a collage of some of the details Nealy captured at Callie’s birthday party.  I chose 4 of my favorite photos and was ready to begin.

First I created a new file in Photoshop, opened all of the appropriate image files and arranged them to my liking. At that point I was left with this…

Next I knew I wanted to have some sort of border on all of the photos.  So I chose a White Stroke of 5 pixels wide. I applied that to all of the photos…

And lastly, I wanted to add text to finish out the collage.  I usually try and use a couple different fonts to all of the collages I make just to add a little dimension.  (For free font’s – check out

And that’s it!  I hope this was helpful – feel free to email me with any questions you may have.


Alisha Brady said...

This is great information. Thanks so much, I am now a follower.

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