Combining Two Photos Into One Page in Photoshop Elements 14

Create a single document with two or more pictures and text

People choosing photos.
PeopleImages / Getty Images

Sometimes those of us who have been doing this for a while can forget how confusing this graphics stuff can be for people just starting out. A simple task like combining two photos into a single document is probably second nature for us but, for the beginner, it's not always so obvious.

With this tutorial, we will show brand new Photoshop Elements users, how they can combine two photos onto one page. This is something you might want to do to show a before and after version of an image correction, or just to compare two pictures side-by-side. You'll also learn how to add some text to the new document, as this is another basic task that a new user may wish to learn.

This tutorial uses Photoshop Elements, version 14.

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Open Photos and Create New Document

Start by creating a new blank document.

To follow along, download the two practice files and open them in the Photoshop Elements Editor, expert or standard edit mode. (Right-click on the links to save the files to your computer.)

• painteddesert1.jpg
• painteddesert2.jpg

The two photos should appear at the bottom of the Editor window in the Photo Bin.

Next you'll need to create a new, empty document to combine the photos into. Go to File > New > Blank File, select pixels as the value, enter 1024 x 768, then click OK. The new empty document will appear in your workspace and in the Photo Bin.

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Copy and Paste the Two Photos Into the New Page

The two images are on the canvas and shown in the Layers panel.

Now we will copy and paste the two photos into this new file.

  1. Click on the painteddesert1.jpg in the Photo Bin to make it the active document.
  2. In the menu, go to Select > All, then Edit > Copy.
  3. Click the Untitled-1 new document in the Photo Bin to make it active.
  4. Go to Edit > Paste.

If you look at your layers palette, you will see the painteddesert1 photo has been added as a new layer.

Now click on painteddesert2.jpg in the Photo Bin, Select All Copy > Paste into the new document, just as you did for the first photo.

The photo you just pasted will cover the first photo, but both photos are still there on separate layers, which you can see if you look at the layers palette (see screenshot).

You can also drag the images onto the photo from the Photo Bin.

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Resize the First Picture

The top image is scaled in proportion.

Next, we will use the move tool to resize and position each layer to fit on the page.

  1. Select the move tool. It's the first tool in the toolbar. In the options bar, make sure Auto select layer and Show bounding box are both checked. Layer 2 is active, which means you should see a dotted line around the painteddesert2 image, with small squares called handles on the sides and corners.
  2. Move your cursor to the lower left corner handle, and you'll see it change to a diagonal, double-pointing arrow.
  3. Hold the shift key on your keyboard down, then click on that corner handle, and drag it up and to the right to make the photo smaller on the page.
  4. Size the photo until it looks like it's about half the width of the page, then release the mouse button and the shift key and click the green checkmark to accept the change.
  5. Double click inside the bounding box to apply the transformation.

Note: The reason we held the shift key down was to constrain the proportions of the photo to the same proportions as the original. Without the shift key held down, you will distort the proportions of the photo.

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Resize the Second Picture

The bottom phot is scaled to match size of the top photo.
  1. Click on the faded desert image in the background and it will show a bounding box. Start from the lower right handle, and size this image to the same size as the one we just did. Remember to hold the shift key down just like we did before.
  2. Double click inside the bounding box to apply the transformation.
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Move the First Picture

The faded image is moved to left edge of the canvas.

With the move tool still selected, move the faded desert scene down and to the left edge of the page.

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Nudge the First Picture

The faded photo is moved 20 pixels to the right.
  1. Hold the shift key down, and press the right arrow key on your keyboard twice, to nudge the image away from the left edge.
  2. Click on the other desert scene and use the move tool to position it on the opposite side of the page.

Photoshop Elements will attempt to help you with positioning by snapping into place as you get close to the edge of the document or another object. In this case, the snapping is useful, but at times it can be annoying, so you may want to read about how to disable snapping.

Note: The arrow keys act as a nudge when the move tool is active. Each press of the arrow key moves the layer one pixel in that direction. When you hold the shift key down, the nudge increment increases to 10 pixels.

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Add Text to the Page

The text is added above the image and the text format menu is shown.

All we have left to do is add some text.

  1. Select the type tool in the toolbox. It looks like a T.
  2. Set the options bar as shown in the image above. The color is not important – use any color you like.
  3. Move your cursor to the top center of the document and click in the space just above the gap between the two images.
  4. Type the words Painted Desert and then click the checkmark in the options bar to accept the text.
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Add More Text and Save

Before and After text blocks are placed below the images.

Finally, you can switch back to the text tool, to add the words Before and After below the photos, as shown in the image above.

Tip: If you want to reposition the text before accepting it, move your cursor slightly away from the text. The cursor will change to a move tool cursor and you can press the mouse button to move the text.

You are finished but don't forget to go to File > Save and save your document. If you want to keep your layers and text editable, use the Photoshop native PSD format. Otherwise, you can save as a JPEG file.

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Crop the Image

The nearly done image.

If the canvas is too large select the Crop tool and drag across the canvas.

Move the handles to remove unwanted area.

Click the green checkmarks or press Return or Enter to accept the changes.