How to Put Three Pictures Into One on Photoshop

By Kevin Lee

Eye-catching photomontages help you capture life's important moments and merge them into one. Microsoft and other companies market programs that allow you to create montages at the click of a button. If you do not own montage creation software, you can create them manually using Adobe's Photoshop program. Its powerful layering tools allow you to put three pictures into one quickly and create professional-looking photomontages.

Create Background

Step 1

Decide how wide and high you want your montage to be. For instance, you may want to create a large one that is 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels high. Do not worry if the three pictures you wish to combine are larger than that dimension. You can resize those three pictures inside Photoshop.

Step 2

Launch Photoshop. Press "Ctrl" and "N" to open the "New" window. This window has text boxes named "Width" and "Height." Enter the width and height values you chose in those text boxes.

Step 3

Click the drop-down box next to the "Width" text box, and then click "Pixels." Locate the drop-down box next to the "Height" text box and click it to select its "Pixels" option as well. This insures that Photoshop interprets your width and height dimensions in pixels instead of inches.

Step 4

Click "OK." Photoshop displays a white background image whose size matches the dimensions you entered. Press "Ctrl" and "1" to insure that Photoshop displays the background image at its actual size. This background will hold your three pictures.

Step 5

Press "F7" if you do not see the "Layers" panel. Photoshop will make it appear.

Add First Picture

Step 1

Press "Ctrl" and "O" to display the "Open" window. The "Open" window contains a list of the files and folders located on your hard drive.

Step 2

Locate an image file you wish to add and double-click it. Photoshop opens the picture in a new window and adds a new tab containing the file name to the top of the user interface.

Step 3

Open two more pictures using the steps described. When done, four tabs will appear at the top of Photoshop. The first tab holds your background. The other three tabs to the right of the background tab hold the three pictures you added.

Step 4

Click the first picture tab to the right of the background tab. The first picture you added will appear on-screen. Press "Ctrl" and "A" to select it. Press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy it to the clipboard.

Step 5

Click the first tab that contains the background image. Photoshop displays the background image. Click anywhere inside the background and press "Ctrl" and "V." Photoshop pastes the image onto the background. It also adds a new layer named "Layer 1" to the "Layers" panel. At this point, you will see two layers in that panel: "Layer 1" and "Background."

Step 6

Click the word "Layer 1," and type a new name in the text box that appears. Think of a short descriptive name that identifies the picture you added. This name will help you identify the different layers as you add additional ones.

Step 7

Press "Ctrl" and "T.". This activates Photoshop's "Free Transform" tool. This tool allows you to resize, rotate and move layers. After pressing those two keys, handles appear around the edges of the selected layer. In this instance, that selected layer is the first picture you added to the background.

Step 8

Click inside that picture, and hold down your left mouse button. Move your mouse to position the picture anywhere you like on the background. To resize the picture, click one of the handles, hold down your left mouse button, and then drag your mouse. The picture gets larger or smaller depending on the direction in which you drag the mouse.

Step 9

Move the cursor near one of the handles. Do not touch the handle. The cursor changes to a curved arrow. When that happens, hold down your left mouse button and move the cursor. As you do, the image rotates.

Step 10

Continue to move, resize and rotate the image until you are satisfied with its appearance on the background.

Add Additional Pictures

Step 1

Click the second picture tab. The second picture you added appears. Press "Ctrl" and "A" to select it, and then click "Ctrl" and "C" to copy it.

Step 2

Click the background tab to display the background. Click anywhere in the background, and then press "Ctrl" and "V" to paste the second picture onto the background. Photoshop adds a new layer to the "Layers" panel.

Step 3

Double-click the layer name and type a new name that describes the picture. At this point, the background will contain two pictures. The "Layers" panel will display each pictures's layer name. The "Layers" panel is important because it helps you select and manipulate any layer that exists on a background.

Step 4

Click the new layer name in the "Layers" panel to select it. Press "Ctrl" and "T." Photoshop activates the "Free Transform" tool again and places handles around the new layer.

Step 5

Move, resize and rotate this layer using the steps described in the previous section

Step 6

Click the third picture tab to view its image. Repeat the previous steps to add that picture to the background. At this point, the background contains three layers. Those three layer names also appear in the layers panel. Some of your layers may overlap others. For example, a layer containing a mountain may partially obscure a layer containing a car. You can bring layers in front of others using the "Layers" panel.

Step 7

Click one of the layer names in the "Layers" panel. Hold down your left mouse button, and drag that layer up to make it appear in front of other layers or down to place it behind the others.

Step 8

Hold down your "Ctrl" key, and click each of the layer names in the "Layers" panel. Right-click one of the layer names and click "Flatten Image." Photoshop combines all layers into a single picture.

Step 9

Click "File," and then click "Save As" to open the "Save As" window. Type a name for the montage in the "File Name" text box.

Step 10

Click the "Format" drop-down box, and then click one of the image formats such as "JPG" or "PNG." Click "Save." Photoshop saves the file in the selected format.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes one of your three pictures may be larger than the dimensions of your montage background. After adding such a picture to the background, you can find its "Free Transform" handles by clicking selecting the layer and moving it until you see its handles. Once you find the handles, click and drag one of them to reduce the layer's size. By mixing and matching the sizes, orientations and positions of your three pictures, you can create a professional looking montage.