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How to use photoshop to make a collage

Photoshop is an extremely powerful tool for graphics design and photo editing, but it can be extremely intimidating for first time users, in this article, I'll show you how to get to grips with the basic functions and what to look out for when putting together a photo collage. Read on to find out how to make a collage on the computer.

Preparing your photos

Taking photos
If you are starting from scratch, then take your photographs. If you have a camera capable of shooting in RAW format, then this is the best option as it gives you the greatest control over settings like colour balance and saturation.
Compose
Be sure to carefully compose your photos so as to get interesting images. Usually, the rule of thirds should be applied in photographs to get the best creative effects, but for photo collages, it is usually best to get the subject of the photo squarely in the middle of the shot.
Crop
When you have prepared all your photos, it is time to crop them, the short cut key 'C' allows you to access the crop tool in photoshop and will give you the option to cut out any unnecessary elements.

Creating the collage

Photoshop
Photoshop is a great way to create an image collage, it gives you the greatest creative control over all aspects. Avoid online collage makers as they are very basic and will produce a poor end result. Similarly, specialist collage creator software is a waste of money if you own a copy of photoshop. Starting point
Start by creating a new document of the desired size. If you intend to print your collage, work in real world units of millimetres and expect to use a high resolution format of around 300dpi for the best printing quality.
Layering
Copy and past each of the photos into the document as a different layer. This will allow you to reorder the "stack" in the layers tool panel. You may find that it is interesting to tilt the angle of some of the photographs. Transformation
To do this use the short cut keys Ctrl+T and this will allow you to perform a free transformation and adjust the size and angle of each photo individually. If you want to keep the same aspect ration, hold down the shift key whilst you do this. Editing
Use the opacity slider on the layers tool-panel, this will give the effect of photos fading into each other. If you have some particularly dark backgrounds it may be useful to use the magic eraser tool to remove these areas. Final word
Save and export your document, TIF for printing, PNG for quick loading on the web and JPG for most other uses.

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