How to Layer Pictures in Photoshop

By Filonia LeChat

When you flip through a book or magazine, you see how the pages fall on top of each other, masking what's below. The pages are like layers, able to be peeled away simply by turning them. Before the invention of electronic books and e-readers, the idea of layers may have been hard to conceive of, but a graphics program such as Photoshop makes them a reality. In Photoshop, you're able to layer pictures on top of each other, just like those book pages, even "flipping" them to see your creation as you build it.

Step 1

Open Photoshop, click the "File" menu and click "Open." Browse to the area on your computer with the pictures to layer. Photoshop supports multi-select, so if the images are in the same place or folder, click once on each to highlight them, then press the "Open" button on the screen and the pictures will tile into the Photoshop workspace. Otherwise, navigate to each picture individually and double-click it, opening it in the workspace.

Step 2

Click the "Window" menu and click "Layers" to open the "Layers" palette; it may already be open on the right side of the screen. Notice that each photo has a single layer called Background.

Step 3

Select one photo to be the main, or bottom, photo. Click another photo to give it focus, then press and hold down the "Ctrl" key on the keyboard and drag and drop the photo onto the main photo. Notice the "Layers" palette now has two layers: a Background layer with the original photo and a Layer 1 with the photo that you dragged and dropped.

Step 4

Close the photo you just dropped by clicking the red "X" in its top-right corner. Click another photo and repeat the drag-and-drop process until all the other photos are layered on the main photo. Close the other photos so just the main photo is on the screen.

Step 5

Click one of the small eyeball icons to the left of a layer on the "Layers" palette. This "hides" the layer. It doesn't delete it, it just takes it away so you don't see it.

Step 6

Click one of the middle layers, such as Layer 2 or 3, which becomes highlighted in blue. Drag the layer to the very top of the list in the palette and notice that the photo in that layer becomes the top picture shown on the Photoshop screen.

Step 7

Click the "File" menu and click "Save As." Type a new name for the layered document and save it to your computer.