A Polaroid Collage In Photoshop


This is going to be a simple but sweet tutorial, that will show you how to make a Polaroid collage from scratch, using some holiday snaps. It doesn't take long, and the results look very interesting. You can click any of the images to enlarge. The image to the right is what we want to be aiming for. It is designed too look like the Polaroids are layered on top of a table.

For this tutorial you will need, Photoshop, a wood background, and some of your own pictures. If you have any problems please leave a comment.

Step 1The first step is to prepare the background. I've chosen a wood finish. You can find the original image here. If you don't like the wood style then you can use any image you want. Pick something that is plain and flat.
Either open up the saved file or go File > Place, and place the image into a new document.

Step 2The first major step is to place in your first image. Pick the focal point of the image and try not to include much background. Crop and resize the image in Photoshop so it is roughly square. Place this on new layer.

Step 3Since the image part of the polaroid is on a new layer it is very easy to add the white part. Use the rectangle tool (U) to draw a white square on a new layer on the canvas. Use the transform tool (V), to free transform the layer (Cmd/Ctrl + T) and align it with the photo.

This could be done in many ways, a quick way is to use the layer properties and add a stroke, but this results in curved corners.

Step 4The next step is to add a bit of detail. Select the image layer and double click to bring up the layer properties (Layer > Layer Properties). Add a small 2-3px black stroke and reduce the opacity. This is only a small feature but it sets the white background away from the image.

Step 5Using the layer properties again, apply a drop shadow to the white layer. Change the direction so there is a drop shadow on two sides. Make the shadow subtle by increasing the size and reducing the opacity. You can optionally here merge the two layers together by selecting both the layers and selecting Layers > Merge Visible.

Step 6Repeat the process with the rest of your images . Some tips, try to keep all of the images the same size, and fill up the area. Play around with the shadows to get that layered effect.

Step 7As a final touch I have added some text. I've used the Bleeding Cowboys font from daFont. I've set the layer blending option to Soft Light after colouring the text black.

You can click the image below for the full version.

This is a really simple technique to do and can be applied to any photos, background or trip. One thing I would do differently, if I was to repeat this effect and that would be to make sure that the images are all the same size and the backgrounds line up. I'm very picky and a couple don't line up as much as I wanted them to.

Please leave a comment with links to your creations.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I like this collage with polaroid!
something I was looking for!

Thomas said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I've been trying to use the select > modify > grow menu selection to create the white background, but it always results in a curved selection.

James Powell said...


Usually the simplest is the best.

Emma Powell said...

Hey, you made a digital scrapbook page! And a totally manly one too :) I lived in CZ awhile, such a beautiful place. This looks great, thanks for the tut.
Emma Powell

Mark said...

hey, just like to say its awesome btw.
the way i did the white bg was to do the photos in their own file then did the image-canvas size then changed it by about 10%, i think that worked quite well. not trying to take you job btw. i wouldn't have come up with the ideas...

James Powell said...

Thanks. :) I hope you enjoy it.

Doubting Thomas said...


Fadly Ramlan said...

Thanks for the fabulous collage making tutorial!! Been looking for something like this.

Keep up the good work! Totally enjoyed it.

James Powell said...

Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tutorial...