How to create designs with your images (Without Photoshop)

If you like the idea of adding some graphics and text to your photos, or even making your own collages or cards, there are several ways to do it - even if you don't have Photoshop!  I'm going to share a couple here today, but I'll start by saying that if you intend to add a lot of design to images or work with collages, then perhaps you would be better having either Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CC.  Elements is just $99 at Amazon, but even Photoshop has become more affordable at just $9.99 per month for the Photography plan (in which you also get Lightroom CC) 

However, if you just want to make the occasional graphic, either for your business or personal use, there are a couple of free resources that allow you to add design elements such as text and overlays, or create collages with your images. 


Canva is a website I stumbled across recently which allows you to upload your photos to a pre-designed templates that you are then able to add text and graphics to. There are both free and paid designs, but the paid all seem to be $1, which is hardly bank breaking, but you can do so much with the free ones I doubt you really need to pay.  There are templates for just about anything, including facebook timelines, pinterest templates, gift certificate templates, thank you cards, photo collages and so on.  If you are in business, it could be great for creating pinterest graphics, or Gift Certificates and so on, and if you are a hobbyist, it would be useful for creating custom thank you cards or photo collages. 


To use, you'll need to sign up with Canva, but it's free to join. 

When there, choose a template - there are loads under each "section"  - simply find one that fits the size and style you want best.   It will bring up a load of different templates for you - some of them free and some of them paid. Choose a free one  (I wouldn't worry too much about the graphics and text that is on there, as that can all be changed) but if you like to have all the work done for you, choose a paid version instead. 

This one is from the photo collage section, and it's free :)  

Once you have one selected, click on their images and delete them / it and upload your own images to use instead.  Simply drag them to the background where you want them to appear. If you are happy with their design, you can just overwrite the text. If not, click on the Text icon at the side, and you can choose from a lot of overlays and text banners. Again, just simply click and drag them over to your image to place them. You can then change the text, colours, size and so on, making it very easy to have a great design in minutes!

I just quickly threw in some images and changed the text to the above template to give you an idea of how it looks changed to your own text and colours. 

Personally I find Canva quite easy to use, and sometimes it's simpler to use this rather than creating your own design in Photoshop from scratch!


Pic Monkey is another great design tool that gives you lots of options for adding text and graphics to your images, or creating collages.  Just upload the image you want to use, and then resize it to the size you want, or crop if you want to change the ratio.  You can then choose an overlay or graphic option, and start typing over it! Again, you can change things like font, colours and so on.  

If you already have Photoshop, there are lots of template available for Photoshop which takes some of the design headaches out - you can find some free photoshop collage and storyboard templates here on the blog, and I've also got a Pinterest Board for pinning free templates too. 

I hope this has given you some ideas about how you can start to use your images in different ways!