Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Make a Photo Collage Layout

I love those collage scrapbook layouts where many photos overlap and just seem to fade into each other. So I thought I would try something similar for myself. It turned out not to be as difficult as I expected it to be (although fairly fiddly), so I thought I would share with you the steps to do it and you might like to give it a go yourself.

My digital scrapbooking software is Photoshop Elements but this tutorial will work just as effectively with other software graphics packages.

  • Open a new docua-life.jpgment in your photo editing software. I usually use a 12 x12 document size at 300dpi.
  • Select your photos. I just chose to use three photos as I wanted to have some space on the layout for other elements. But if you want to cover the entire layout with photos that can be a great effect. I’d suggest keeping it to about 10 pictures or less to begin with though, until you are used to working with a lot of pictures or you may become overwhelmed.
  • Open the photos and drag them into your new document.
  • Resize the pictures as necessary. Remember to hold down the shift key as you drag from a corner to resize the picture. That way you will maintain the proportions of the picture and won’t distort the image. You can resize back bigger or smaller as needed as you work to decide the layout of your photo collage.
  • Move the photos around to see what looks better where. Try to create some balance in the layout. You might choose a focal picture to place in the middle and be larger than the others. But the focus does not have to always be in the middle, see what works best with the photos you are using. You’ll probably find you spend a bit of time shuffling your photos around until you’re happy with the arrangement. Also dragging them up and down the layer stack to decide which ones will overlap on top of which.
  • Now comes the tricky part; the blending. Select your eraser tool from your tool bar and choose the size brush you want based on the size of your pictures. choose a soft brush with a blurred edge for better blending.
  • Erase the hard edge on each picture first using a dabbing motion so you don’t create a smooth edge.
  • When you have taken the hard edge off all your photos, reduce the opacity of the eraser to around 60% (you need to play around with the opacity setting to find one which works best for your collage). Then one by one, blend your photos into each other using a dabbing motion with the eraser, resizing the pictures where necessary. There’s no exact science to this. You just need to experiment a little to achieve the effect you want. Remember, if you make a mistake you can always delete the layer of that picture and open the photo again and drag it back in and try again. Use the Undo button as well to correct any mistakes when you can.
  • Then drag in your background papers and elements to complete your layout. I’ve used elements from the delicious Renew Collection by Shalae Tippett, and the Scrap Simple Embellishment Template to create that curled edge at the top of the layout.

I really like the look that blending the photos creates. How about you? Have you tried doing a photo collage layout, or would you consider giving it a go?

And if you think this article might be useful to other Scrapbookers, please click on the StumbleUpon icon below and help to spread it around.

Other Related Posts:

Love your layers
Blending your own Scrapbook Backgrounds – Video Tutorial
How to Digital Scrapbook


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13 Responses to Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Make a Photo Collage Layout

  1. Melothria November 20, 2007 at 12:41 am #

    love the glasses :)

    Yes I would like to do a layout like this with members of my family all together from various times, because some pictures of them in the sixties, look exactly the same as some of the little cousins today… it would be fun if I recolored the pictures and confuse my family: guess who is who?

  2. Tink November 20, 2007 at 5:35 pm #

    A technique I really like but haven’t used much. Here’s a couple of my favorites though:

  3. karooch November 20, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Hey Melo that sounds like a cool idea. And yes the glasses were a bit much, but who knew we’d feel like that a couple of decades later.

    Just checked out your links Tink. I do like how you’ve done those layouts. The transitions are totally seamless.

  4. Heather November 21, 2007 at 2:28 am #

    Nice tutorial but much easier to use the filter and extract tool with magic highlighter in CS2 Adobe Photoshop

  5. karooch November 21, 2007 at 7:23 am #

    That sounds knacky Heather. I haven’t used CS Photoshop but your tip will be useful to all the Photoshop readers. Thanks for that.

  6. Stardust June 24, 2008 at 11:46 pm #

    Hi Karen, thanks for your kind reply. Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear, but thanks again for trying to help. This tutorial is another good piece! Appreciate your effort much. Have a nice day.


  1. - November 19, 2007

    Make a Photo Collage layout…

    A very fun tutorial on how to make a photo collage scrapbook layout by blending your photos. A very cool look….

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