How to create collage templates in Photoshop Elements


Have you searched and searched for the perfect storyboard for your blog?  I know I have.  I remember looking for just the right template for my images and always ended up making purchases that I didn’t really need.  In the end, I’d only use one template out of the ten that came in the bundle.

How frustrating!

Did you know that you can make custom collage templates in PSE?

Here’s how you can create your own storyboards for use in printing or blogging.

Step 1:

Create a new project by going to File > New > Blank File

Step 2:

Create your shapes (where your images will go) using the Shape Tools.  You can change the colors of the shapes if you like.  That way, it’s easy to see each area.  If you want a white border around each image, just leave that space open when you are creating each shape.  You can adjust the size of the shapes just by clicking and dragging the corners.

Step 3:

Once you have all of your shapes in place, click and drag the images to each box.  You’ll need to click on the box first, then drag your image there.  When you place your image, it will be too big and most likely cover the entire collage.  Simply click the corner and drag at an angle to resize.  Make sure the “constrain proportions” box is checked or your image will be distorted.  Once you have resized it, go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask to “clip it” into your shape (you will do this for each image).  Also, I use images that are already sized and sharpened for web that way it saves me a step or two at the end.

Now that your collage is complete, you see that the shapes and images each have layers of their own.  It does that automatically!  How great is that?!   If you want to move the image around in the shape, just click on the move tool to adjust it.

Step 4:

Once you’re happy with your new collage, simply flatten, watermark and save!

Now that you understand how to create a custom collage in PSE, the possibilities are endless!

Melissa GibsonMelissa Gibson, Georgia
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Melissa is a proud MWAC who gears up with a Nikon D700, prime lenses, and edits her “fun, childlike, and whimsical” photography solely in Photoshop Elements. Melissa’s goal both now and when she first began her photography journey in 2005 is to, in her own words, “remember my girls’ lives for them. They are so young yet growing so quickly. I know they won’t remember it all so I feel it’s my job to document it for them.”

Read all photography tutorials from Melissa Gibson.


  • Christina says:

    I have a few ideas! Besides basic text watermarking, I would like to know the following:
    -how to put text into a shape as more of a "stamp" watermark
    -how to get a faded/hazy band across the photo with your watermark on it
    -how to create and use a watermark with a design/graphic implemented into it

    Also, I would love to learn about the pros workflow from editing through processing and their organization tips in PSE!

  • Christina says:

    Oh, and along the lines of this tutorial, how would you create a template that has designs/decrative borders/text inside a design/etc? Something to make it more than just a few photos in the same frame?

  • mrscgdickson says:

    Thanks sooo much! I would love to create some templates to use on my blog. This is perfect!

  • Allyson says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was always curious how to do this! :)

  • Meredith says:

    bookmarking this! thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Pam says:

    Thank You Melissa! I have been wanting to learn how to do this!

  • Trace says:

    Thanks Melissa, I have always wanted to know how to do this. I can't wait to try it out.

  • SarahSchultz says:

    Thank you! Definitely going to try this!

  • Jodi says:

    sweet, melissa! thanks for spelling this out in such a simple and easy to understand way!

  • Kate says:

    Great tutorial!! Thank you so very much!!

  • Moira says:

    I am just trialling PSCS6 so am definitely going to try my hand at this. Have always wondered how these are achieved! Thanks.

  • jennifer says:

    I haven't tried to do this in LR yet so happy to try this tutorial out!!

  • This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?

  • Katie says:

    this is probably fairly simple to answer and may not require a separate tutorial, but how do you make the pictures be separated by various white, or other color, borders?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Katie! Making the border between the images is super simple. When you are creating the image boxes, just don’t pull the edge all the way over to the next edge. You’ll just leave a teeny bit of space between. You can turn on the grid to make sure you’re lining them up evenly by going to View > Grid. Also, when you are on Step 1, you can choose “white” as the background color. When it opens in PSE, you can use the paint bucket to choose a different color rather than white. That color will show between the images and become the colored border. Hope that helps a bit. :)

  • Julie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been wanting to learn how to create my own templates, but didn’t take the time until a client came to me with a design for a grad invitation & I couldn’t make it work without creating a template. Thank you so much for a great article! it worked beautifullly! :)

  • Sam says:

    Hi Melissa, are you able to give a tutorial on how to make custom collage templates with PSE 11? The interface on the latest version of PSE is different and not exactly userfriendly to a beginner. Fir instance, not sure where the shape tool is as they do not appear as per your screen shot. Thanks!

  • Sheryl says:

    Hi! I’m using PSE 6 and I don’t think it has the “create clipping mask” option under Layer (or at least I don’t see it!)… is there another way to “clip” the image into the shape? Thanks! :)

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for this post… I wanted to create a simple yet stylish sports template for my sons hockey team, this saved me sooo much time and money (I was ready to give in and buy a cheesy pre-done one). Thanks!

  • Star says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, your easy to understand instructions made this a breeze to do. I just wish there was a way to get my white border perfectly proportionate without having to eyeball it. Thank you so much!

  • Rachael says:

    Hi Melissa – i’m using elements 9, and it has create clipping mask, but it’s not snapping the image to my shape… the image is there & the shape is there. I have the image layer selected, but nothing is happening. Hoping you can help me!

  • J. says:

    Thank you! Found this when searching for “pse simple photo collage” and had a lovely afternoon putting it into practice.

  • Jon says:

    This is very well written and will help many (including me)!

  • Angenise says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! My husband and I are just starting our photography business and you are right, sometimes you order a bundle and only use 1 item! Your tutorial helped me to create a vision that I had for our business card. I couldn’t find any templates that fulfilled what I had pictured in mind, until I found this article! And wow, I did it in a matter of a few hours, including layers of text and even used a photo behind the collage shapes as a background!

  • ERo says:

    I have searched and searched and watched tons of videos on how to create a photo template. Your directions were so simple. It was so easy thanks to you!

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