Saturday, 23 February 2008

Photo montages - how to

I quite often get comments, especially from other garden blogs, about my photo montages. I do enjoy the presentation part of writing a diary/blog. Nan at Gardening Gone Wild had left one recently saying she really wish she knew how I did them – expecting that I had used photo editing software which I don’t. As Nan and the team at GGW share so much information and inspiration themselves I was delighted to be able to share something with her. I then looked forward to seeing her results.


I heard from Nan once again. She has told me that there is now more interest in the montages since she has posted one! I also had an email from another blog in response to hers too. Nan asked if she could pass on my instructions or suggested I might like to do a post with them.

As many of my visitors are outside this gardening blog community I have decided I will share this information through a post. The process I use is really quite simple. I use Microsoft Word and Paint to do my photo montages and the following instructions are of how I would produce the montage above.

1. Select three photos and crop to squares.

2. Open a word document

3. Copy and paste the photos over to the word doc. I would suggest you do one at a time.

4. Select a photo. Right click and select format picture, Layout=square, Size=6cm

5. Decide which photo you want to be the large one – sometimes when you move the photos around you can change your mind.

6. Change the size of the one you want to be the main photo to 12 cm. You will now see this format taking shape.

7. Drag the photos around until they line up and are almost touching. There should be a fine line between them.

8. Add border lines to divide the photos.

9. Select all photos together (or do each individually). Hold down Ctrl and left click them all.

10. Select format picture then colours and lines. Go to the line box where no line is selected. Choose a colour for your line – I use white as it suits my blog but if you have a white background you could perhaps select a colour that ties in or contrasts with your photos.

11. Next choose the thickness of your line. Go to weight – I set this at 3pts which works okay for a white line. However you may want to experiment with that as you may want it thinner using a colour line on a white/light background.

12. Now there can be a tricky part here. You should look carefully at the corners of the lines. Often one (or more) can look out of alignment. To fix this you must change the order of the photos. Right click, select order then try bring to front or send to back. You must then check the other photos as this can change another that overlaps. The answer is not to have too many photos in your montage.

13. Next the photos need to be grouped together so you don’t loose all the formatting.

14. Select all photos by holding down Ctrl and left click. Make sure you get all photos. Right click then select grouping then group. If you want to come back and make changes you just ungroup then group again. Sometimes a box comes up with a warning saying not valid selection. I usually close that warning down and the selection is fine. By now you will be able to sort anything based on any of the steps listed.

15. You should now be able to move your completed montage around. Next you need to save it as a jpg or bmp.

16. You must save your montage as a bmp to do anything with it. I usually copy the montage into Paint then save it as a bmp. I can now upload this bmp to my blog. However if I want to crop this some more I open this bmp with Photoshop, crop it and save it as a jpg.

17. You may use another program to save images as bmp or jpg this is just how I do it.

This process just takes a bit of experimenting and time. I am able to do them much quicker now than when I first started. Oh yes, I usually save the word docs too just in case I want to go back and alter any of the originals. I should perhaps also point out that many blog templates have different column widths and the measurements above are what works for mine. Again a little experimenting will sort sizes out and different layouts.

Finally, I have to say I find the time is well worth it when you upload the final montage. I felt the montages were a better way of showing comparison of images, colour and form as your eye sees it all in one go. Oh yes, and I do believe they help in reducing the space used to store these photos. One larger photo being better than three individuals as in the case above.

One final thing for those who visited overnight and never spotted this post – don’t worry it wasn’t here! I have deliberately back dated it as I want my Lunar Eclipse one to run a couple of days and then I plan to join the Design Workshop on GGW with a post on colour in the garden.

Good luck and have fun!

8 comments:

Carol said...

Great instructions. I think I will try this, it would work out great for the series I did on my first crocus.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

shirl said...

Hi there, Carol :-D

Thanks - I hope they work for you. I will look forward to seeing your post now :-D

Wicked Gardener said...

Very interesting - I'll have to try this!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl, great instructions. I will have to look for a project to try this with. I think they make such a nice visual.

Pam/Digging said...

Thanks for the instruction. I haven't tried a montage yet, but I do like the look for certain types of photos. I'll give it a try one of these days.

shirl said...

Hi again, Wicked Gardener, Lisa and Pam :-)

Wicked Gardener – Some subjects suit this presentation better than others – it is great fun though :-D

Lisa – Thanks, I hope they work out for you too. I always love playing around with the visual stuff. I am looking forward to seeing how you and others use this :-D

Pam – You are very welcome! However, it would perhaps be a waste to put any of your fantastic photos in a montage. Once again, I will look forward to seeing how you will do this one day:-D

IOW Birder said...

Hi Shirl,
Just found your excellent blog, I will add you and look in from time to time. About the montages, I use picasa, which is a free download from google. You can make montages easily and quickly.
Check out my blog too!!
Dave

Janet said...

I have always done my montages in Picasa or Photoshop. Only drawback is that I can shuffle the photos but I can't always choose what goes where and which photo will take prime spot. I'm going to try the Shirl way of doing things...