Turn A Photo Into A Collage With Photoshop

Turn A Photo Into A Collage With Photoshop
Turn A Photo Into A Collage With Photoshop_6007179f69e11.jpeg

Turn A Photo Into A Collage With Photoshop

Learn how to Turn A Photo Into A Collage With Photoshop, square photo collage with Photoshop!

Written by Steve Patterson.

To create the photo collage effect, we’ll start by cropping the image into a square, and then we’ll divide it into smaller squares. We’ll add a border around each one so they look like separate photos, and then we’ll move and rotate them into place. Finally, we’ll change the background color, and we’ll finish off by adding a drop shadow behind the effect.

Here’s the image I’ll be using. I downloaded this one from Adobe Stock:

” alt=”How to create a photo collage from a single image in Photoshop” width=”552″ height=”552″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/photoshop-square-photo-collage.jpg” />

The final photo collage effect.

Let’s get started!

Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

How To Create A Square Photo Collage

For this tutorial, I’m using Photoshop CC but everything is compatible with Photoshop CS6. You can also follow along with my video of this tutorial on our YouTube channel. Or download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

Step 1: Crop the image into a square

The first thing we need to do is crop our image into a square. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar:

” alt=”Setting the aspect ratio for the Crop Tool to Square in Photoshop” width=”443″ height=”100″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/crop-tool-aspect-ratio-square.png” />

Setting the Aspect Ratio to Square.

Photoshop adds an initial square cropping border around the image:

” alt=”The Delete Cropped Pixels option in Photoshop” width=”359″ height=”97″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/delete-cropped-pixels.png” />

Delete Cropped Pixels should be turned on.

Then drag the crop handles to resize the border around your subject. If you’re working with a portrait, try to keep the person’s main facial features (their eyes, nose and mouth) within the center square:

” alt=”The result after cropping the image into a square in Photoshop” width=”451″ height=”450″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/initial-photo-crop.jpg” />

The result after cropping the image into a square.

Step 2: Add some guides

To help us divide the image into smaller squares, we’ll add some guides.

Adding the first horizontal guide

Go up to the View menu in the Menu Bar and choose New Guide:

” alt=”Adding a horizontal guide to the Photoshop document” width=”219″ height=”160″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-guide-hor-33.png” />

Adding the first guide.

Photoshop adds the first horizontal guide a third of the way down from the top:

” alt=”Selecting New Guide from the Menu Bar in Photoshop” width=”283″ height=”109″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-guide-command-photoshop.png” />

Going back to View > New Guide.

Leave the Orientation set to Horizontal, but this time, enter 66% for the Position. Click OK to close the dialog box:

” alt=”The second horizontal guide is added to the Photoshop document.” width=”446″ height=”446″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/second-guide-added.jpg” />

The second horizontal guide is added.

Adding a vertical guide

Go back up to the View menu and again choose New Guide:

” alt=”Adding a vertical guide to the Photoshop document” width=”222″ height=”161″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-guide-ver-33.png” />

Adding the third guide.

This adds a vertical guide a third of the way from the left:

” alt=”Selecting New Guide from the Menu Bar in Photoshop” width=”283″ height=”109″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-guide-command-photoshop.png” />

Going back to View > New Guide.

Leave the Orientation set to Vertical but change the Position to 66%. Click OK when you’re done:

” alt=”The four guides dividing the image into squares in Photoshop.” width=”446″ height=”446″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/fourth-guide-added.jpg” />

The four guides dividing the image into squares.

Step 3: Select and copy each square to a new layer

We need to select each square and copy it to its own layer. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Toolbar:

” alt=”The Snap to Guides option in Photoshop” width=”482″ height=”107″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/snap-to-guides.png” />

Look for the checkmark beside Guides.

Selecting the first square

We’ll start with the square in the upper left. Click and drag a selection outline around it. If you followed the last step, the selection outline should snap to the guides:

” alt=”Choosing the New Layer via Copy command in Photoshop” width=”240″ height=”100″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-layer-via-copy-photoshop.png” />

Going to Layer > New > Layer via Copy.

In the Layers panel, we see that Photoshop has placed a copy of the square on a new layer above the image:

Background layer to select it. Each time you select and copy a new square, you’ll need to reselect the Background layer first:

” alt=”Selecting the second square” width=”595″ height=”391″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/select-second-square.jpg” />

Selecting the second square.

To quickly copy it to a new layer, press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac). And back in the Layers panel, we now have two squares above the image:

” alt=”Selecting the image on the Background layer” width=”275″ height=”240″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/select-image.png” />

Always reselect the Background layer before selecting a new square.

Draw a selection outline around a new square:

” alt=”The third square appears on a new layer in the Layers panel” width=”275″ height=”271″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/third-square-copied.png” />

The square is copied to a new layer.

I’ll continue selecting and copying the squares until I’ve selected them all. And in the Layers panel, we now see all nine squares, each on a separate layer, above the image:

Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

Step 4: Hide the guides

We don’t need our guides anymore, so let’s hide them by going up to the View menu, choosing Show, and then choosing Guides:

add more canvas space around the image. And we can do that using the Crop Tool. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar:

” alt=”Adding more canvas space with the Crop Tool in Photoshop” width=”462″ height=”450″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/drag-more-canvas.jpg” />

Adding more canvas space with the Crop Tool.

Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) to accept it, and Photoshop adds the extra canvas space:

” alt=”Selecting the Background layer in the Layers panel” width=”275″ height=”133″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/select-background-layer-canvas-size.png” />

Selecting the Background layer.

Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Fill:

” alt=”Settings Contents to Black in the Fill dialog box in Photoshop” width=”357″ height=”200″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/fill-contents-black.png” />

Setting Contents to Black.

The image now appears in front of a black background:

” alt=”Selecting the top layer in the Layers panel” width=”275″ height=”191″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/select-top-layer.png” />

Selecting the top layer.

Then click the Layer Styles icon (the fx icon) at the bottom of the Layers panel:

” alt=”Adding a Stroke layer effect in Photoshop” width=”157″ height=”127″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/choose-stroke.png” />

Adding a Stroke layer effect.

Changing the stroke color

In the Layer Style dialog box, click the color swatch:

” alt=”Choosing white for the new stroke color in the Color Picker” width=”543″ height=”388″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/color-picker.jpg” />

Choosing white for the new stroke color.

Setting the Size and Position

Back in the Layer Style dialog box, set the Position of the stroke to Inside. Then, keep an eye on the square in the upper left of your image as you increase the Size value by dragging the slider. I’ll go with a value of around 32 px, but this will depend on the size of your image:

” alt=”The first photo border appears around the square in the upper left” width=”500″ height=”500″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/border-first-square.jpg” />

The border appears around the square in the upper left.

Step 8: Add the stroke to the other squares

Back in the Layers panel, we see our stroke listed as an effect below the layer:

” alt=”The Copy Layer Style command in Photoshop” width=”282″ height=”119″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/copy-layer-style.png” />

Choosing “Copy Layer Style”.

Click on the second layer from the top (Layer 2) to select it:

” alt=”Selecting all other squares at once in the Layers panel” width=”275″ height=”380″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/select-other-squares.png” />

Holding Shift and selecting the bottom square.

Right-click (Win) / Control-click (Mac) on any of the selected layers, and then choose Paste Layer Style:

” alt=”The result after pasting the Stroke layer effect onto the remaining squares in Photoshop” width=”450″ height=”450″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/stroke-effect-pasted.jpg” />

All 9 squares now have the stroke around them.

Step 9: Move and rotate the squares

To create more of a collage effect, we’ll move and rotate the squares using Photoshop’s Free Transform command.

Selecting the Move Tool

Select the Move Tool from the Toolbar:

” alt=”The Auto-Select option for the Move Tool in Photoshop” width=”414″ height=”104″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/auto-select-layer-photoshop.png” />

Making sure Auto-Select is on and set to Layer.

Click to select a square

Click on the square in the upper left to select it:

Free Transform. Or, use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac):

” alt=”The Free Transform handles appear around the first square in the collage” width=”382″ height=”350″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/free-transform-first-square.jpg” />

The Free Transform handles appear.

To move the square, click and drag anywhere inside the Free Transform box. You can also move it using the arrow keys on your keyboard. To rotate it, move your mouse cursor outside the box, and then click and drag:

” alt=”The first photo in the collage has been moved and rotated in Photoshop” width=”500″ height=”500″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/first-square-moved-rotated.jpg” />

The result after moving and rotating the first square.

Repeating the steps for the other squares

To move and rotate the other squares, just repeat the same steps. First, click on a square to select it, and then press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to quickly choose Free Transform. Move the square into place, and then rotate it into position. Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) to accept it.

In my case, I’m going to leave the center square in its original spot, but I’ll continue moving and rotating the outer squares until I’m happy with the results. If you just want to move a square without rotating it, there’s no need to open Free Transform. You can just click and drag it with the Move Tool, or nudge it into place with the arrow keys on your keyboard:

” alt=”Selecting the Background layer in the Layers panel” width=”275″ height=”179″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/change-background-select-bg-layer.png” />

Selecting the Background layer.

Then click the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon:

” alt=”Choosing a Solid Color fill layer in Photoshop” width=”174″ height=”111″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/choose-solid-color-fill-layer.png” />

Choosing a Solid Color fill layer.

Sampling a background color from the image

In the Color Picker, choose a new color for your background. Or, choose a color directly from your image by moving your cursor into the image and clicking on a color to select it:

” alt=”Photoshop photo collage with a background color sampled from the image” width=”504″ height=”503″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/photo-collage-new-bg-color.jpg” />

The photo collage with the new background color sampled from the image.

In the Layers panel, we see our new Solid Color fill layer above the Background layer:

layer group.

Grouping the squares

Click on the top layer (Layer 1) to select it. Then press and hold your Shift key and click on the layer directly above the fill layer (Layer 9). This selects all of the squares at once:

” alt=”Selecting the Group Layers command in Photoshop” width=”265″ height=”107″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/new-layer-group-command-photoshop.png” />

Going to Layer > Group Layers.

And back in the Layers panel, all of our squares have been placed into a new group. You can twirl the group open or closed by clicking the arrow next to the group’s name:

” alt=”Adding a layer effect to the layer group” width=”275″ height=”190″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/add-layer-effect-photoshop.png” />

Clicking the “fx” icon with the layer group selected.

And then choose Drop Shadow from the list:

” alt=”The Drop Shadow options in the Layer Style dialog box in Photoshop” width=”359″ height=”280″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/drop-shadow-options.png” />

The Drop Shadow options in the Layer Style dialog box.

You can adjust the Angle and Distance of the shadow from here, but it’s easier just to click and drag inside the document. As you drag, you’ll see the Angle and Distance values updating in the dialog box:

” alt=”Adjusting the Size and Opacity of the drop shadow behind the photo collage squares” width=”376″ height=”254″ data-lazy-src=”https://pe-images.s3.amazonaws.com/photo-effects/cc/simple-photo-collage/drop-shadow-size-opacity.png” />

Adjusting the Size (softness) and Opacity of the drop shadow.

When you’re happy with the results, click OK to close the dialog box. And with the drop shadow applied, here’s my final effect:

Polaroid collage, a film strip collage, or a collage of warped photos! Visit our Photo Effects section for more tutorials. And don’t forget, all of our Photoshop tutorials are now available to download as PDFs!

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