How To Easily Make A Collage Of Polaroids Photo Effect Using Photoshop For Beginners

Make a collage of polaroids image is one of among many photo effects you can create using Photoshop. In this tutorial, I have used a single photograph that only contain one main object which is a girl. But, it is also applicable to any other types of images such as wedding images, family and friends, or even to give effect to your traveling images.

So, it is also great if you want to follow along my tutorial using photo contain with several people. It’s all your creativity in which type of photos you want to apply this effect. And, this is very simple and easy to do.

Above image is the final result you can achieve, and here’s the original image I used for this guide.


I used Adobe Photoshop CS6 to create this, and if you used the earlier versions, make sure it (at least) consist of tools such as clipping mask and can group the layers (optional).

Let’s get started!

1. Make transparent of the background image

After you have opened your photo in Photoshop, it will automatically placed in a new locked layer and named as background. The first thing to do after that is to duplicate it using Ctrl + J on your keyboard and rename it as “Collage”. After that, let’s make the background layer a bit transparent without decreasing its layer’s opacity or fill of original image.

To do that, go to your bottom of layer panel and find create a new fill or adjustment layer. Click on it and choose Solid Color as below.


When the Color Picker (Solid Color) dialog box appears, choose White for the color (Color code: #ffffff) then press Ok to close it. After that, while this new adjustment layer have just created as a new layer, change its Fill to 80 %.

Don’t forget to place this solid color adjustment layer between the "Background" and "Collage" layer. And so far, you now have 3 layers on your panel.

2. Add two blank layers (transparent) below the "Collage" layer

Next, you will need to add two blank or transparent layers. Both of them will be used for the collage effect since those have function as the container of your image.

To do that, go to the bottom of layer panel again (as before on step 1) and find Create a new layer (located on the left of bin icon). Click on it 2 times to make 2 new layers. The first will be named automatically as Layer 1 and the second as Layer 2. Change the name of Layer 1 as "White" and also the Layer 2 as "Black".

Now, hide the "Collage" layer by click on the eye icon, then activate the "Black" layer by selecting on it. Then go to the toolbar to choose Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection on your image. The first selection I made for this tutorial is the part of head or face. And, the selection in this layer will be the inner part of our first polaroid that contain with photo. See below image.


While the selection is still active, fill it with solid color by press Shift + F5 to open the "Fill" dialog box. On the "Contents Use", click its drop down menu and choose black, then press Ok to close it. Also, press Ctrl + D to remove the selection (deselect). You now can see the black box on Black layer.

After that, let’s working on White layer. Make a selection as well as you just did, but this time, make the selection a bit bigger than before and fill it with White color. Then, double click on it to open the Layer Style and choose Drop Shadow. Apply settings as below.

Blend mode: Multiply (Pure black)
Opacity: 20 %
Angle: 120° (Uncheck the Use Global Light)
Distance: 5 px
Spread: 0 px
Size: 15 px.


3. Create a clipping mask to put your image inside the collage

Now, display the Collage layer by clicking on the eye icon you have hide before. Right click on it and choose Create Clipping Mask. Right after that, you will see that your image now “clipped” into your selection which you have filled with black color.

In this step, after using clipping mask, I also rotate the two solid color layers. To do that, select both White and Black layer and press Ctrl + T to activate the transform tool. Then, rotate a bit of both layers to the right (mine about 7°).


If you have rotated them, select the White, Black and Collage layer (3 layers) and press Ctrl + G on your keyboard to group the layers into one folder. The grouped layer will be automatically named as “Group 1”, so you need to change its name to “Collage 1”. Here’s the layer preview.


4. Duplicate the grouped layer to make other collage effects

Select your first grouped layer and press Ctrl + J to duplicate it. Rename this new one as “Collage 2”. In this second grouped layer, select both white and black layer in the inside and use your mouse or your keyboard’s arrow key to move the layers. Here’s how it’s look like when I moved it.


Then, duplicate it again and rename it as “Collage 3”. Move the black and white layer as needed and you can also rotate them as you want. I am doing it repeatedly until get me to “Collage 7”. See the below image about my layers arrangement and the collage preview.


And, that’s it.
You are now completely done reading the step by step of making a collage of polaroids photo effect using Photoshop.

If you find this easy and can also help others to create this effect, please share this tutorial.

I have big enthusiasm in photography and graphic design. And, most of both topics will be covered in Repixel. If you find some good tutorials, feel free to share them. Also, keep in touch with me using all social medias available here or signup to stay updates.

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