I'm working on a project that's 11"x17" tall, has the bottom 1/5th reserved for the logo/calendar elements and the top 4/5ths for some sort of collage-esque image.

Basically, I have six photos I need to somehow stylistically position in the top 4/5ths. Most of the photos are vertically-oriented and all are essentially photos of models with mixed-colour backgrounds (I.e., a pain in the butt to mask out).

The initial idea was to erase part of each images background so that it's kind of a collage -- but the further I get into this, the worse it's looking.

Does anybody have any suggestions for either: a. Fitting a lot of vertical images into a a space coherently b. Making photo collages look at all professional

Thank you!

  • "erase part of each images background so that it's kind of a collage" - NEVER do this.
    – e100
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 18:38
  • 1
    Could you expand on this a bit, e100? Like, "Don't ever make loose photo collages" (I.e., "mask out the entire background or go home", which is unhelpful) or "Use a less destructive editing technique than the eraser"?
    – aendra
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 18:48
  • Fair point. I guess I'm just saying that I have an intense dislike of the kind of collages where multiple photos are semi-merged by airbrush-erasing/masking the edges of the background. If cleanly isolating the subject isn't feasible, I'd always go with either laying out individual photos - or simulating an actual collage of scraps - both are covered in horatio's answer.
    – e100
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


There's always the grid: 3 across, 2 high, with 1/16-1/8" gap between each. Make all photos a uniform size. If you can take it to the edges of the sheet, bleed them at top and L/R (don't know what a bleed is? see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleed_%28printing%29 ).

Look for large forms or shapes in the poses of the models and try and arrange the photos so the angles seem to flow together across images. Make the models look inwards towards the center of the sheet rather than outwards to the edges if possible.

If you have already silhouetted the images, you can play with the background colors.

If you want to stick with collage, consider going all the way and adding interesting images torn from magazines etc to really layer on detail. You could scan/photograph torn sheets to get a deckled edge which you can use as with a mask to fake the effect.

  • +1 Really great answer. Visual examples to go along with the useful descriptions would make it perfect. Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 16:11

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