Give your photos an edge! This tutorial will show you how to make your own frames and borders using Photoshop.
Picture frames have been around for most of art history. This hasn’t change in our digital age. Whether you print your photo or leave it digital, adding an edge to it will always help its presentation. Here are three creative frames and borders that are easy to make in Photoshop.
Back in the analogue-photography era, it was very common to leave a white edge around your photo so that the passé-partout wouldn’t cover any part of your image. If the photograph was an artwork, the blank part in the bottom would be bigger than the rest so that you could put your signature there.
Nowadays, a classic and elegant presentation can still be achieved with Photoshop following this idea. Of course you can get also much more creative! Let’s start with the basics:
If you want to print your photo and have it framed in a traditional way, follow these easy steps:
- Open your image in Photoshop.
- Go to the top Menu >> Image >> Canvas Size. In the popup window you will have the choice for the New Size. There you need to change the measurement to Percent, that way it will be even all around your photo without you having to make a lot of calculations. Then choose how big you want your frame. In this case I chose to add 10% so the total size will be 110%. Make sure your anchor point is in the center (as shown in the picture below). At the bottom you can also choose the color of your frame. Click OK to apply.
- Open the Canvas Size window again, but this time you will put your anchor point on the top center square (as shown in the image below). Add an extra 10% to the top/bottom so you leave the width at 100%, and change only the height to be 110%.
- Add your signature, copyright or dedication under your image.
This basic idea of the white frame can be elaborated a little more in order to create a composition with a very elegant result. This is perfect for minimalistic or classic photographs.
- Open your image in Photoshop.
- Go to the top Menu >> Image >> Canvas Size and choose size and width of your frame just like you did for the white frame. This time you can get a little more creative, just remember to keep the anchor in the center. When you are done click OK.
- Repeat step #2, changing to a different color and size. For example, for this one I decided to first use a gray frame of 3% and then a slimmer one in the color of the grapes to complement the image.
- Repeat as many times as you like. In this case I added a third frame in black that was wider than the previous two.
TIP: To select a color from your photo, choose “Other” in the color menu of the Canvas Size window. A new window will open with all the colors for you to choose from. At that point, passing your mouse through the image, the pointer becomes an eyedropper. Then you just have to click on the color you want and Photoshop figures out the rest!
While frames consist of one or more solid rectangles, borders are much more complex. A border can even be an image in itself. Therefore you are not constrained to a specific shape which gives you a wider variety of options. Here is one example:
Creating a Grunge Border
First, choose an image of a skyline; it can be an urban or nature scene. In this case, I am using a photograph of trees in a pond. Open it in Photoshop.
Next, go to the top menu; Image >> Adjustments >> Threshold and set it to a very high number so that you end up with an image that is basically black and white (no gray tones).
Select your image (CTRL/CMD + A) and copy it (CTRL/CMD + C). Then paste it in a new blank canvas (CTRL/CMD + V).
Go to the top menu; Edit >> Free Transform and squeeze your image over to one of the edges.
Duplicate the layer by going to the top menu; Layer >> Duplicate Layer. Do this three times so that you will have four layers.
Select each layer and place them on each side (use Transform to rotate and resize each one) creating a rectangular border. You can choose a different blending mode for each layer so that they don’t look so uniform. You can do this from a drop-down menu on the Layers panel. You can also go to the top menu and choose; Layer >> Layer Style >> Blending Options if you want more control over the blending mode.
Now you have a very original border to use with any image you want! Remember that the borders not only complement the image but also show your creativity and personality.
If you don’t know how to apply borders to your images don’t worry, it’s very easy. Check out the appendix below to learn how.
Appendix: How to use borders
Now I will place an image inside the border to show you how it’s done. I think a grunge border goes well with urban scenes, but that is up to you.
Open the border file.
Go to the top menu and choose; File >> Place >> and select your photo. This will paste the photo you want in the file of your border already resized. You will have to do the final size adjustments manually though by dragging the edges (hold down the Shift key if you’re using the Transform tool to maintain your image aspect ratio).
Change the blending mode of the layer so that it looks integrated. In this case, I used the Darken Mode. Try different ones until you are satisfied. Remember you can you can do this from a drop-down menu on the Layers panel. You can also go to the top menu and choose; Layer >> Layer Style >> Blending Options if you want more control.
That’s it! Try using the same border on different images to create a specific style to a photo collection you can hang on your wall.
Borders and frames are great for displaying photos in a digital photo-frame but also for printing. You will save a lot of money and have some one of a kind décor in your home. The possibilities of frames and borders are limitless so explore, create, and have fun.