Collage Of Polaroids

Today i will show you how to turn a photo in a collage of polaroids. The cool thing about this is that you can use this effect for all kind of different types of images. This is a easy tutorial with a lot of repeating actions.

We start of by opening the picture you would like to edit.
I used a night shot photo of the eiffel tower that can be downloaded here.

First we need to duplicate the background layer, right click the layer and click Duplicate Layer or click “CTRL + J”.
eiffel 1 eiffel 2

Create a third layer by clicking “CTRL + SHIFT + N” or click the new layer icon, and call the layer “black” now put the “black layer” below “layer 1”.
eiffel 3

We need to fill the new “black layer” with black, be sure you have set the foreground color to #000000, press “G” to select the “Paint Bucket Tool” and click on the photo. Be sure you have the “black layer” selected.
eiffel 4

Now press “CTRL + SHIFT + N” to create a new layer (call it visible) and put it above the black layer.
eiffel 5

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Now we will make a selection using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, press “M” to select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
eiffel 6

Drag out a selection inside your image like i did below, which will become the first polaroid.eiffel 7

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Now fill the selection with black by using the Paint Bucked Tool “press G, remember be sure you have selected the “visible layer”. Your layer panel will now look something like this.
eiffel 8

We will now create a clipping mask”, this means that the layer above it, “Layer 1” which contains the copy of our image, is going to be “clipped” by our filled selection on the layer below it “visible layer”. You can do this by selecting “Layer 1” and pressing CTRL + ALT + G. You will now only see the square you have created earlier.

eiffel 9eiffel 10

Create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) between the “black layer” and the “visible layer” and call it border. Now select the “border layer” and create a new selection using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (press M) that will be the border of the first Polaroid, remember polaroids have a bigger border on the bottom of the photo.

eiffel 11 eiffel 12

Fill the border with white, be sure you have the “border layer” selected. To fill the border use the Paint Bucket Tool again (press G) and set the foreground color to white #FFFFFF.
eiffel 13 eiffel 14

Now double click the “border layer” to open the Layer Style and set the Drop Shadow as shown below.
eiffel 15

You will not see any shadow yet, dont worry about it yet.

To make the polaroids look more interesting, we will rotate the polaroids a little bit.
To do this simple select the “border layer” and the “”visible layer” by holding CTRL and clicking both layers in the layer panel.
eiffel 16

Now (press CTRL + T) to activate the Free Transform Tool, and rotate the polaroid a little bit.
eiffel 17

Select the layers: border, visible and Layer 1. And press “CTRL + G”. You will now see you have created a layer group with the 3 layers in it.
eiffel 18

We have created a Layer Group because we would like to create more polaroids, and by duplicating this layer group we are actually duplicating the already created polaroid.

So duplicate “Group 1” by right clicking the group, and click Duplicate Group…
eiffel 19

You will now see a second Group called Group 1 copy.
eiffel 20

So now we have a second polaroid.

Now open the new polaroid and select the “”border” and “visible” layer.
eiffel 21

Press (CTRL + T) to open the Free Transfrom Tool, drag/rotate the polaroid till you are happy with the look.
eiffel 22

You can see the drop shadow we have created in step 7.
eiffel 23

Now repeat step 9 and step 10 to create as many polaroids as you want.
eiffel 24

eiffel 25

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, please leave a comment with your end result.

Collage Of Polaroids

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    Posted by Jcy Chou on September 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    it’s cool and useful…thanks!

    Posted by paige on September 4, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    i can’t create a clipping mask!
    when i press CTRL-ALT-G a new page comes up and i have no idea what to do.
    is there any way i can avoid it?

    Posted by Robin on September 6, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    You’ll just have to go to “layer” in the options window at the top of the screen, then you’ll see the tenth button from the bottem “create clipping mask”

    hope this helps you!

    Posted by chris on September 4, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you for the comments,

    # PAIGE: Try right click Layer 1 and click “Create Clipping Mask”.

    Posted by Elsa on September 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Thank so much for these instructions. Is there any other way to select two layers? Step #8 does not work for me.

    Posted by chris on September 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Elsa,

    To do step 8, be sure you hold down CTRL while you click the layers, and make sure you click the right area.
    See this image:
    Click in the green area not the red area.
    If holding CTRL not works try holding SHIFT.

    I hope this works for you, let me know.

    Posted by Ashley on September 5, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    This doesn’t work for me either. I’ve tried all I can think of to select the two. I’m even in the right part of the box. 🙁

    Posted by Elsa on September 6, 2009 at 5:40 am

    I have tried everything without any luck. Maybe has to do with my version of Photoshop? I have version 6

    Posted by chris on September 6, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I did some research and i found out that it is only possible in cs2, cs3 and cs4, I use cs4.

    But there is a other way to do this in earlier versions of photoshop.

    You need to link the two layers together. You can do this as shown in this picture.

    This should do it.
    Let me know if this works for you.

    Posted by evgenia on September 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Paris… love

    Posted by Klid Fistof on September 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    It can be done simpler. using Knockout : Deep (Blending Options) Then a picture will be used 1 time. I am sorry for errors. I write through automatic translator.

    Posted by detrol 4mg on September 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you very much!

    Posted by alicia on September 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    thanks lot. im just a begginer of adobe photoshop and this is really usefull for me.

    Posted by agon on October 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    great …like it

    Posted by Nina on October 28, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I used a pic from my wedding, it turned out great 😀

    Posted by chris on October 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you all guys, i appreciate your comments.

    Posted by irina on October 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    It’s very easy and nice! I did it with a photo of the statue of liberty.

    Posted by Carlos B on November 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Pretty cool tutorial! Thanks

    Posted by MoOoJi on November 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    WOWWWWWWWWWWWW tnx man…I really look for something like this

    Posted by sonnerie portable gratuite on March 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Thanks for your posts. They are really very cool, very wonderful
    sonnerie portable gratuite

    Posted by Liane on March 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I’m quite having just a little problem with doing this… but i will try again! Thanks!

    Posted by evilkitty75 on March 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Kool i did a pic of my kat lol

    Posted by franz on March 23, 2010 at 10:27 am

    hey this is really nice..i did it..thanks!

    Posted by Scherzyland on May 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you for this tutorial! i did it also! :))

    Posted by simsim on June 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    thank you
    It’s fantastic ..

    Posted by Hope @ Polaroid Factory on November 4, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Hello there, just browsing for information for my Polaroid website. Lots of information out there. Wasn’t what I was looking for, but interesting page. Have a good day.

    Posted by zainab on December 15, 2010 at 7:09 am

    good job ! i love the concept !! the background could’ve been more creative but nicely done ^^

    Posted by Investing in wine on March 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing Chris. I tried this tutorial with same pic. During this process I had just a little problem erasing the lights and make them look natural in the dark.

    Posted by Investing in wine on March 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    So far so good. Now, how can I get the Free transform tool with using the keyboard keys ?


    Posted by Stephanie on September 5, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for sharing. it was a lot better than other ones and not as confusing. Especially liked how you put shortcuts for some of the steps, thats what really helped.

    Posted by Rachna on February 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing. There’s some really great stuff here . Great site! Please check our polaroid photo collage tutorial at

    Posted by gan on October 13, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    i hate photoshop

    Posted by Amateur on December 31, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Tnks, it was easy, I like it

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