If you’ve been wanting to create your own photo grid collages, Photoshop is a great tool to use. By using guides, you are able to quickly set up perfectly-even grid shapes by setting up the number of rows and columns you wish to use. Then, you will use shapes and clipping masks to finish your collage.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to create your very own Photoshop grid collage.
Want to learn how to create a custom photo collage in Lightroom? Go here to watch a video tutorial.
Step 1: Create a new document
Open Photoshop and go to File > New. Then, choose a document size you’d like to work with. This tutorial will work with all image sizes, so go ahead and pick a size that works for you. Here I chose to create a document with a white background that is 6000×4000 pixels in size and 300 ppi.
Step 2: Create a grid using guides
After you create your new document, go to View > New Guide Layout. Then, use the Columns and Rows sections to create your grid, and make sure the Preview box is checked so you can see how it looks. This sets up evenly-spaced guides that make it easy to create the shapes you will use to place your images for your photo grid collage.
Step 3: Set up the Rectangle tool before creating your grid shapes
In the toolbar, go to the Rectangle tool. If you don’t see it, you might need to right-click over the existing shape and set it to the rectangle.
Then, at the top, make sure that the default shape has no stroke, and choose a color for your shape. You can choose any color you like, as it will be replaced by a photo once you’ve created your photo grid collage.
Step 4: Add the first shape template
First, make sure that you have the Snap option checked in the menu. You can check this by going to View > Snap, as well as View > Snap to > Guides. This will ensure that your shape is set up against the guides you created in the second step.
Then, using the Rectangle tool, draw a shape and make it fit inside one of the guide boxes, and snap to the guides in the document.
Step 5: Duplicate the shape and fill the other photo grid boxes
Now that you have your first shape created, it’s time to add rectangles to the other boxes. Instead of drawing the shapes over and over, you can simply duplicate the layer and drag it to the grid box.
The quickest way to do this is to select the Move tool (keyboard shortcut: V), then press the Opt (Mac) or Alt (Win) key and drag the rectangle shape. This will duplicate and move the shape at the same time. Continue duplicating and moving the shapes until the entire grid is filled.
Step 6: Add a border to the shape
If you would like to add a border to the outside of your grid photos, you can do that easily with Layer Styles. Select the top layer in the Layers panel, and use the Layer Styles button to add a stroke.
Then, set the Stroke size and color to whatever works for your setup. Here I chose a 30 px white stroke set to the inside of the shape.
Step 7: Copy the Layer Style to the other layers
With the top layer still active, go to Layer > Layer Style > Copy Layer Style. Then, in the Layers panel, press and hold the Shift key. and click the bottom shape layer (this selects all shape layers). Next, go to Layer > Layer Style > Paste Layer Style and the stroke/border will be applied to all of the shape layers.
Step 8: Fill the shapes with photos
Now it’s time to fill your shapes with your image to create the photo grid! First, you might want to clean up the preview and hide the grid view by going to View > Clear Guides (don’t worry, you can leave it on if you like and it won’t affect your printed or exported file).
Now, open a folder on your computer with the photos you want to use in your photo grid. Then, select one of the shape layers and drag/drop your photo to the preview window. Press and hold the Opt (Mac) or Alt (Win) key and hover in-between the shape layer and the image (just below the image you just added) and click when you see the icon change. This will create a clipping mask so the image you added is only visible within the confines of the shape layer. Now you can resize the image layer (select the layer and go to Edit > Free Transform) to fit better within the shape.
Continue adding your images above the shape layers and clip/transform them until your entire photo grid is filled.
Bonus tip: Save your Photoshop grid collage as a PSD to save yourself from re-creating the template so that you can use it with other images.