I recently was asked to teach someone how I make photo collages for my blog, and so as part of my creative (and life) philosophy that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, I’ve decided to share my method today. This definitely isn’t the only way to make a photo collage, but I always choose to work in InDesign since I think the program is more user-friendly than others in the Adobe Creative Suite.
Step One: Save all images and links. // This is the fun part because you get to go online shopping! I like to screenshot just the image of the product and save the link on a sticky note on my desktop so it’s ready for when I write the post.
Tip—By cropping tightly on the image when you screen shot it, it will be easier to work with them in the InDesign document later.
Step Two: Make the backgrounds white. // If you’re short on time or want to cheat a little bit, look for items that are already on a white background. But don’t worry, if you fall in love with an item photographed on a non-white background, it’s easy to change it to white or remove any extraneous text that you couldn’t crop out during the screenshot.
To do this, open the image that needs editing in Photoshop. Ensure that white is the color on the bottom and select a large brush size. With this large brush size selected, I erase most of the background and then shrink the brush down using the left bracket key ([) to clean up the edges. (Conversely, the right bracket (]) key will increase the side of your brush.) Once you’re background is completely white, save the image as a .JPEG (or a .PSD if you want to edit it later).
Step Three: Open InDesign and create a new document. // I usually make my document 4 inches by 6 inches to start, and then increase or decrease the size based on my objects. Even though InDesign’s default is pixels when working for Web, you can type “6 in” and “4 in” into the page size and it will calculate it into pixels for you. Then click “OK” to be taken to your blank document.
Step Four: Place images into document. // I create a box for each object using the Rectangle Tool and then select File > Place to input the photos. Because screenshots are usually large, when you place them in the box, you will probably only be able to see part of the image. To see the whole picture, use your Direct Selection tool (white arrow) to click into the box where your image is, and then click Fit Content Proportionally.
Step Five: Arrange images. // Once all the images are in your InDesign document, it’s a lot easier to visually lay them out. Hold down Control (Command on a Mac) and Shift a the same time while clicking and dragging to increase or decrease the size of the image proportionally.
Tip—press “w” to toggle document guides on and off.
Step Six: Resize document if needed. // Since most of my images were vertical and fit on a smaller section of the document, I resized it using the Pages Tool. It’s always just a little bit of trial and error to decide what to shrink (or expand) your document to.
Step Seven: Add title text. // Now that your images are how you want them, it’s time for the fun part. I always add my title text first. Select the Type tool and begin typing your title. Then you can customize it by changing the font, the leading (the space between each line), and color. Depending on the fonts, it might be easier to put the text in different text boxes to give you more control over placement.
For this red, I used the Eye Dropper Tool to pick up a sample of the nail polish color since I thought it was a good fall color. I then rotated the title package slightly to create some visual interest.
Tip—to create better title packages, try mixing fonts. A general rule of thumb is to never use more than two fonts and mix different kind of fonts. For example, I used a sans serif and a script here.
Step Eight: Add numbers. // I like to put my numbers inside a circle, so I select the Ellipse tool and hold down Shift while I am clicking and dragging to create a perfect circle. Then, I filled the circles with the same red from the title text and copied the circle six times so that they were all the same size.
I then created a text box with white text, typed the number in the script font, and placed the number on top of the circle.
Step Nine: Export and enjoy! // Export your collage by going to File > Export and saving as a .JPEG. Upload to your blog and enjoy!