How-To Tuesday is our blog series that offers ideas and instruction on all sorts of topics related to creating and ordering APC canvas photo prints. From taking better pictures to laying out the perfect canvas collage, check in and find out how to do it!
By Ingrid Spangler
Making a canvas photo collage print is a dramatic and creative way to show off a small collection of images of the same event or subject. Pictures of family members, children, pets, weddings, special occasions, parties, vacation photographs …just about anything will make a great canvas collage.
I recently went to a dog show and wanted to create something to remember the fun I had (and all the cute doggies!) there.
Round 'em up! …Choosing images:
Once you've decided on your theme or the subject for your collage, choose your images. You might start by collecting all the images you think you might use and then then narrowing them down to between 5 and 10 of the best.
TIP: If you are working with a group of images from different light scenarios, it may be worth it to use a photo editing software program to adjust the color/tint/tone/white balance of the images so they look compatible. A shot taken in fluorescent lighting will look much different than one taken in daylight and can be distracting in the layout.
We don’t provide size restrictions on the images you can use for the collage, but don't worry, once the layout is done you’ll see the sizes available for optimum printing.
Once you have your images, take a look at all of them. Can you look at all the thumbnails/previews together on one page somehow? Does one stand out? A great closeup or grand landscape can “anchor” the collage and give it a focal point from which the rest of the collage branches out. For smaller collages, or if you want to include lots of smaller images in your collage, try not to use images where the subject is too small, for example, if you have a picture of your Aunt Mary standing in front of the Grand Canyon, you may want to crop it down to her face or at least ¾ before putting it in a collage so she’s not lost. An alternative would be to use Aunt Mary posing in front of the scenic view as the background to your collage. We’ll come back to backgrounds in a bit.
Let’s choose a layout/template! Our collage creator has 30 DIFFERENT templates to choose from for lots of different sized images, from small squares to long rectangles; take a look at all of them before you decide. Some of the templates are made for one large image (a portrait of a child or family portrait perhaps?) surrounded by smaller images (birthdays, art classes, candids, individual family members etc), some “feature” the background, so you can cover the canvas with a large image and then “superimpose” smaller related images on top. You can experiment a bit with different layouts until you’re happy with one that shows off your images to their best effect.
Images with a “busy” background can be cropped or kept small to avoid having too many dynamic elements in your collage as they can be distracting. If you have a lot of action shots (sports, crowd scenes or lots of other activity) consider a solid background or at least one with a small pattern like bricks or small stones so as not to distract the eye from the photographs, as they are the stars of the show!
TIP: Faces, whether human or animal, should all be gazing toward the center of the canvas, it’s unsettling to the eye to see someone looking off the edge of the frame. If there’s one image you like but it’s the wrong orientation, consider using a photo editing program to flip it so it’s facing the right way.
We provide a number of backgrounds to use for your collage but you also have the option to use an image of yours as the background. A large scene with lots of water, sky or other natural element works great as a background. Here's where you might use that image of Aunt Mary in front of the Grand Canyon, then surround it with some smaller images from the same trip, or other great shots of Aunt Mary.
Get Edgy! …Edge Effects:
Once you have the layout and background you like, you can begin to look at borders and edge effects for your collage components. You can adjust the thickness or choose a complementary color for your borders, or opt to not have borders at all. Clicking the “shadow” box will put a small dropped shadow around the images, and choosing “mess” will tilt the pictures at random angles, as if you had just tossed them down on a surface. You can hit it over and over until you get the exact beautiful mess you like!
In the upper right corner of the workspace you’ll see the choice to make your background or the elements (the smaller images in your collage) black and white. Play around and see if it improves your collage! Making the background black and white while the elements are in color can really make the smaller elements stand out. You can also add “glow” around the elements, different from the shadow in that it goes all around the element, and you can choose a color.
Can’t decide? Hit the “view random layout” bar and let APC’s photo collage creator show you different background, border and glow combos.
Text me! …Adding Text:
You can also add text! “Family Reunion 2012,” “Ron and Karen — September 28, 2005” or “Lauren's Graduation.” Make your canvas collage really personal with a caption or title!
TIP: Note that in the image below I’ve positioned the text “Dog Show 2014” over some unused spaces in the template and chosen a color that complements the theme. The empty placeholders won’t show up in the finished canvas, and I liked the idea of having some empty space to add some drama to the images.
Preview your canvas in 3D, and hit the “back” link in the upper left corner of the workspace to go back and make any changes. Choose what kind of wrap for your image, what kind of optional hangers and gloss or matte finish and you’re done and ready to order!
Ta Da! Your finished canvas will be shipped out to you ready to hang in your home or office in no time and you’ll be enjoying your collage canvas for years to come!
Got a suggestion for something you'd like to see on a future How-To Tuesday? Let us know!