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How to Place an Image Inside Text in Photoshop

In this article, I want to share with you one method of creating an image that appears inside text.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Making your photos stand out online, especially when using social networks is tough. Finding ways to enhance your pictures so they will capture people’s attention is a great way to grab more attention to them.

Placing an image inside text can communicate more than the text or the photo will say on their own.

Here are a few easy steps to show how you can make your images have more impact.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Inle Lake fishermen, Myanmar

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Set up your Photoshop file

Create a background layer of a solid color. Above it make a new text layer and then add the photo you want to include inside the text.

The size and font you choose are up to you, and they can be changed during the process if you decide they are not working as well as you’d hoped. You can also use a vector layer to place your image inside.

For this method, you will use a Clipping Mask. This allows you to use the content of a layer to control the visibility of the layers which are above it. This is how the shape of the text will control how much of the photo is seen in the final outcome.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Clipping Mask

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Creating the Clipping Mask

Select your photo. It must be above the text layer. Go to the top menu and select Layer ->Create Clipping Mask, (or press Alt + Ctrl/Cmd + G.)

You will now see your photo within the text. Everything outside the text area will be the solid background layer. You have effectively masked out most of your image.

If this is too much, as it is in my example, the effect is not going to attract many eyeballs. The text is easy enough to read and the effect is interesting, there’s not enough of the image remaining.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Reveal more of your photo

If you want more of your photo to be seen, rather than only what’s within the text area, you can do so.

Duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J. Now make a selection of the parts of your photo you want to be seen outside the text area. There are many methods for doing this. Here I have used the Quick Selection Tool.

Once you have made your selection, you can click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This will reveal only the selected area of this layer.

You can then refine your mask if necessary by using the Brush Tool. Make sure the mask is selected in the Layers Panel. Brush with black to reveal more and white to conceal areas you don’t want to see.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Refine the Image Mask

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

There are no rules as to how much to show. It’s purely up to what you think is best. Keep in mind that the text will be most legible with less of the image showing outside of it.

You should now have a compelling image with a message.

Experiment to add diversity

Every image and text combination will work differently. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, change some aspect of it.

Using a different font is easy enough. With the text layer selected, choose a different font.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Change Font

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

If you can’t find one that fits your image exactly as you want it to, manipulate it. With the text selected, bring up the Character dialogue box. Here you can stretch your text wider or higher, or make it more compact. See if you can make it fit your image in a more pleasing way.

You may need to refine your clipping mask further if you make changes to your font.

Adding a shape on a new layer under your text layer will create a new look. Then, by duplicate your original photo layer. Drag it below the shape in the Layer Panel. This creates a background of your original photo.

Now you have a shape containing your text with your image inside and a shape with the image outside it.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text New Background

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

I have moved the location of the text and shape as I didn’t think it looked so good over the main area of interest in my photo. After moving it I dropped the opacity of the shape layer to reveal some of the photo underneath. I also added a stroke around the text (using the fx panel) to help it stand out more.

How To Use Photoshop to Create an Image Inside Your Text Experiment with new layers

© Kevin Landwer-Johan


There are so many variations you can experiment with to place an image inside your text. These are just a few ideas to help get you started.

Remember, if you are using text, keep it legible. If people have to struggle to read it, then it’s not working. Likewise, if the text is not enhancing your photo, try something different.

There are no right and wrong ways of doing this. I hope you found this method helpful.

Try it out with photos for your Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook feeds. Done well it will help your photos stand out from the crowd and get your message across.

I’d love to see how you are making use of placing an image inside text. Please post your photos in the comments and let us know of any additional tips and techniques you like to use.

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Kevin Landwer-Johan
Kevin Landwer-Johan

Kevin Landwer-Johan is a photographer, photography teacher, and author with over 30 years of experience that he loves to share with others.

Check out his e-books and his website.