This photo frame template tutorial will lead you through the steps
necessary to create a really effective way to present your images both
on-screen and in print.
The nice thing about the template is that it is a versatile and can be
used over and over again with different images, text and colors.
That's useful because we're coming up to the time of the year when
there are many family get togethers with lots of pictures being taken -
and what better way to remember those important family memories than
presenting the pictures - well - awesomly (is that even a word?).
The photo frame technique is not difficult but does require some
understanding of layers and how to work with them - by the end of the
tutorial there will probably be 15 to 20 steps altogether.
Just so you have an idea where this is going, here are the steps ...
Define the document size.
Choose a color and fill.
Add a new layer.
Select the marquee selection tool.
Draw a rectangle and fill with 50% gray.
Add a layer style to the selection.
Copy and paste the selection.
Move copy, copy, paste and move again.
Align the selections.
Add a text layer if desired.
Open the Photos you will be adding in Elements.
Drag the first Photo into the first frame, clip and
Drag the second Photo into the second frame, clip and align.
Drag the third Photo into the third frame, clip and align.
The Documant Size
The document size you
select will depend on the final presentation. A few of the
choices are ...
Landscape or Portrait.
Print or Screen
Will there be text on the photo frame?
Whatever ther choice, the document size will always start with File > New > Blank File.
Here's the one I'll be using for this tutorial ...
Click OK when you've got the size you want and when the document opens
in Elements select a color for the document and use the Paint Bucket to
change the color - you know it's hard to beat black as a background
Two steps done ...
Add A New Layer
Add a new raster layer to the document - either go to Layers > New
> Layer or press the Alt key and click th enew layer icon in the
Layers palette. Give the new layer a descriptive name - in my
expample it's called Left Image.
Here's a screen shot of the new layer being named in the new layer
dialogue and how the Layers Palette looks after adding the new layer.
Now we can create a box for the left image with a rectangular selection.
Grab the rectangular selection tool and draw a selection on the left
third of the background on the Left Image layer and fill the selection
with 50% gray.
(Edit > Fill Layer > Use 50% Gray
and click OK.)
This just makes it easy to locate where the left image will go.
Remove the selection - either Ctrl-D or Cmd-D or Select > Deselect.
Now we can add some Layer Styles to the Left Image photo holder.
Layer Styles tend to help one layer stand out from another in one of
four different ways. In this project it seems best to add a
stroke and perhaps a bevel.
To add Layer Styles to our new Left Image layer click on Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings
to bring up this diialogue.
The Layer Styles that you choose will only apply to the 50% Gray
selection from the previous step.
As you can see, I've chosen Bevel (24 pixels in a Down Direction)
and a 6 Pixel white stroke at 100% opacity.
You can mess with different setting - these are not the recommended
ones, they're just the ones I've chosen.
If Preview is clicked then you can see the effect on the layer right
This is how the Left Image holder looks after the Layer Styles have
Wow - we're all the way to step 6. It's probably a good idea to
save your work at this point - save the document as a Photoshop (.psd)
file so the layers are saved intact. Saving this way means you
can open the photo frame document at any time and add different
To create and exact copy of the layer with all of the Layer Styles
included then right click on the Left Image Layer and scroll down to
A New Layer dialogue will appear with the name Left Image Copy as the
name. Change the name to Center Image and click OK
An exact copy of the Left Image layer will be created.
Make sure the new layer is highlighted, grab the Move tool, press and
hold the Shift Key, click on the 50% Gray portion of the new layer and
drag to the right.
When you feel the layer is positioned more or less in the center of the
document lift your pen (or release the left mouse button) and then take
your finger off of the Shift Key.
The Middle Image holder will now be in place.
Holding the Shift Key down while you drag to the right keeps the two
image holders aligned perfectly.
Here's the set up to this point with the Layers palette included for
and Move Again
Now do the previous step again to create the Right Image Holder.
What you should have now is the black background with three Image
holders on three different layers and each of the Image holders will
have the exact same Layer Style - and it'll look like this ...
Save this as a Photoshop File (.psd) to keep the layers intact - you do
want the layers intact, you really do!
Why - because you may decide that a black ackground is far too,
well, black and
something else would be more suitable or desireable. Here are a
few examples of other ideas ...
Light Green Background.
Render > Clouds
Background using two shades of blue.
Black Background with a
texture added from the Filter Gallery.
Radial Gradient added
with two shades of yellow as the Foreground and Background colors.
Sometimes you may want to have some text on your photo frame - this is
a good time to add it.
Back to the black background with white text added (the font is
Starliner BTN, in case you're wondering).
Now its time to add some images to the prepared and saved photo frame.
I don't have any adorable little kid pictures so I've
decided to use my adorable dog pictures. As you can see they are all
involved in their favorite passtime which is never ending games of ball.
Here are the ones I've chosen for my sample photo frame ...
The first thing to do is open up the images you
want to use in the photo frame. In my case all three of my dog
pictures and the photo frame are open at the same time ...
I added the light blue guidelines from the rulers to assist
with centering the image holders. Its not necessary but it helps.
Now its time to add them into the three image holders ...
Adding the selected images can be a bit of a problem because of the
size of the images relative to the size of the photo frame image
The full size of Heaven's image is 2400 X 3200 pixels and the size of
the left image holder is 650 X 1150 pixels - clearly, Heaven is not
going to fit in there so some changes need to be made.
Here are the steps to add the first picture ...
Open the Layers palette and select the Left Image layer.
Select the Move Tool and drag the first image onto the
photo frame. This is not going to look good at first but that is
The next thing to do is clip the photo you just added to
the Left Image layer. Highlight the layer with the photo on it
(it should be right above the Left Image layer) and then select Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
The photo layer will jump to the right and the only visible part of the
photo will be through the left image holder. Problem is that the
added image is way to big and only a small portion can be seen.
Now its simply a matter of re-sizing the added image.
Highlight the layer with the added photo and click on it with the Move
tool (you wmay need to be zoomed way out to see the boundaries of the
Make sure the Move tool is still selected, check that Constrain Proportions
is checked in the Options Bar, place the Move tool pointer over the top
left adjustment point and drag this point down and to the right,
thereby making the image smaller. Re-size and move, re-size and
move until the first image fits in the image holder - and here it is ...
Now do it all over again two more times once above the middle image
layer and once above the right image layer and you're done!
Save the finished work as a Photoshop File (,psd) so the three layers
will always be available (kind of like a photo frame template).
Hand Printing Text
It's not always necessary to use a text layer to put some text on the
photo frame. To add some personality how about using a Wacom pen
to print some titles and captions on the frame, like this ...
Change Picture Frame Sizes
...and move things around a bit - this is the same basic photo frame with a few modifications.
The Image holders were rotated.
The Image holders were re-sized.
The Image holders were moved around with the Move Tool and new images were added.
The color of the Background layer was changed.
Two rectangular selections were added and then the selections were stroked with Edit > Stroke (Outline) Selection ... just to give the overall picture a nice look.
This time it was much easier because all of the prepatory work has been
done already - all I needed to do was make a few easy changes and add