How To: Make a Photo Collage
Photo collages add variety and bring more focus to your work.

Design Master

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Photo collages are a powerful way to combine ideas with images and grab someone’s attention. Photo collages are also great for sharing with loved ones or highlighting your work.

Whether you want to create a collage for personal or professional reasons, this guide will show you how to make the most of your photos. I used Adobe Bridge CS5, but these steps can be applied to any graphics editor.

Are you a Windows or Mac person? Do you prefer mobile platforms? Are you on a budget, or are you ready to splurge on the best software? Here are a few ideas for all tastes:

Online: Several online services will help you to arrange your photos, even if you’ve never used them before. If you have basic needs, any among Pixlr, Photovisi, iPiccy and Photo Collage will work. Remember, carefully read the Terms of Service first.

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Offline: To make a collage with your photos, you can use both paid or free software, depending on your budget. If you use Windows, Adobe’s Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are the most popular editors. Elements is definitely more user-friendly, while Photoshop is for advanced users and is more expensive. Corel’s Paint Shop Pro is also fairly easy to use and comes with advanced features. The best among free software is GIMP. Another popular alternative is Picasa.

If you are a Mac user, you can use the programs above or try Apple’s iPhoto.

Mobile: There are several choices both in the Apple App Store and in the Android Market for making photo collages with a mobile app.

  • App Store: PicFrame, Diptic, Photogene2
  • Android Market: Photo Grid, PicStitch, PhotoShake!

Choosing a theme is the first step. A theme gives your collage a focus and makes your work more engaging. Anything can become a theme for your collage: an abstract idea, an event, a person, a place, a mood. Remember to stick to your theme while selecting your photos.
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Try to select the very best among the photos you have, or at least pick the images that best fit your project. A handful of meaningful images will be more efficient than a huge number of mediocre shots. By picking the only the very best, you will add more variety to your collage and make it more appealing.

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Choosing a single style is best for giving your photo collage visual coherence. Mixing different effects can be fun, but it may lack purpose. A united style will help you get your point across more effectively.

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Borders are a simple way to create harmony. The best borders are those that are subtle, even if it’s tempting to overdo it.

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The program you decide to use doesn’t really make a big difference, but if you want to take your photo collages to the next level, find a reliable printer that can handle the job.

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. I love photo collages! I made one for my senior page. SO fun 🙂

  2. thses are fun to make. have actually seen some really powerful ones using iconc pics and such