How to create a collage in Photoshop – step by step

How to create a collage in photoshop

Since most of us have a large number of photos, for example, from vacation, we are often looking for a way to present these photos. One option is collage. Let me show you how to create a collage of photos in Photoshop easily step by step.

Here are the main steps to proceed:

  • Open a blank Photoshop document.
  • Create the grid of the guides.
  • Open multiple photos as separate layers.
  • Add photos to the new document.
  • Mask photos to be aligned with the grid.


Open a blank document for collage

Let’s create a new document in Photoshop. The collage will be presented on a landscape format document. If you plan to make a fine art print of the collage don’t forget to set the resolution to 300dpi. Logically the document will be larger, and you will need larger images to be placed into the collage. In my case, I will make this demonstration with a 72dpi image to save the space and speed up the work.

Create a grid of guides

As a first step, let’s create a guide grid that will lead us when making the collage. So let’s go to the View menu and select the New Guide Layout option.

We will create a grid of squares that will provide us a visual tool for placing the photos. Click on both Columns and Rows and define the appropriate amount of each to get the dense grid of squares.

Define the Gutter size for both Columns and the Rows. The gutter size will create a system of borders between the images. Another parameter we will set here is the Margin.

Margin defines the outline border of the whole collage. So in my case, I created 16 columns and ten rows, which gives me a fine-enough grid of square guides.

collage guide layout setting

Open multiple photos as separate layers

We will open multiple images as separate layers. So let’s go to the File menu and select the Script and then the Load Files into Stack menu.

I’ve prepared a couple of photos for our collage in advance and placed it into a folder on my disk drive. So let’s open the folder. As you confirm the folder selection, all photos will appear in the dialog box. Then click, OK.

Now Photoshop will create a new document and will load all photos as separate layers into this document.

Add photos to the new collage document

We will now start to select the images and place them into our collage. Scroll the layers list until you locate the first photo to be placed. Alt-Click on the layer eye icon to make visible only this layer.

Then select the move tool, click on the image, and drag it on the collage photoshop document.

As my photo has quite a big resolution, I will have to resize it and place it to the position. Now zoom out to be able to see the image bounding box and to resize it appropriately. Resize the photo to cover a little bit more space as the nearest guides. Then take the Rectangular marquee tool to make a selection.

Before that, make sure you have set the following. Press D to set default colors – black as the foreground color and white as the background color.

Then go to the View menu and make sure the Snap to Guide is ticked. These settings are essential.

Mask photos to be aligned with the grid

So click on the guide’s intersection point and drag to create the selection. As you drag, you can see as the selection is being snapped to the nearest guides. If needed, zoom in to see the right guides and release the mouse on the correct one. Then click on the layer mask button to create the mask.

You can fine-tune the image position as well as to transform the mask.

Click on the little chain icon between the layer icon and the mask icon.

To move the image within the masked area, click on the layer icon and, using the arrow keys, move the image.

If you want to transform the layer mask, click on the layer mask icon and press Ctrl-T, and transform.

After making the changes, don’t forget to click between the layer icon and layer mask icon to lock the link between the layer and the mask.

And repeat it until you have all images placed and masked.


For more interesting results, try to alternate landscape format images with portrait-oriented ones. For a smooth and quick process, try to prepare all photos you want to add to collage in advance. As I did here – I prepared all of them into a specific folder on my hard drive. All images were already edited. I used Photoshop itself, Lightroom Classic, Luminar 4 for beautiful landscapes, and Exposure software and Topazlabs filters.

Try to work with similar image sizes. It will save a lot of your work of resizing them to the final fitting into the collage.

Also, keep in mind if you want to have thicker borders between images within the final collage, don’t forget to set it in the initial part when creating the Guides. The gutter is the parameter that defines the thickness of the border.

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