If you’re interested in graphic design, but haven’t done much editing outside of Photoshop, this is your opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and into InDesign. Creating a photomontage is a great way to familiarize yourself with some of the most useful tools in InDesign and to get your creative juices flowing.
Start by opening up InDesign and going to File>New>Document. You can make the shape, size and orientation whatever you want, but for this tutorial we’re going to keep the default presets for Page Size>Letter. Make the orientation a vertical portrait and hit OK.
Insert two photos to use for the background by going to File>Place or by using the shortcut Command + D. Two wide landscapes or images with a lot of color and repetitive shapes work well. Look for photos that contrast each other: a starry night image paired with a shot of the sea, or a simple mountain peak paired with a close up of colorful marbles. For this tutorial, I’m using a nighttime shot of a mountain range paired with a reflection of a bright, cloudy sky.
Once you have the images on your InDesign project, resize them how you like by holding down Shift and Command and dragging the corners. Holding down Shift and Command will keep the image at its original proportion even while you change the size.
Arrange the photos so that they meet near the middle or at a third of the document. I kept both of my images big to really accentuate the details of the sky. Play around with your images until you find a combination you like.
Now we’re going to start adding the geometric elements. Click on the ellipse tool on the far left, and hold down Option and drag your mouse to create a perfect circle. Change the color with the small boxes at the top of the screen. Double click on one of the preset colors to tweak the tone. Because I’m working with images of the sky, I decided to use a gold circle to contrast against the blues in the photos and to tie the two images together.
Now we’re going to include a human element in the montage. Open up a picture of a person in Photoshop and isolate a body part you want to include in your image – I’m using the legs.
Cut out the section you want by clicking on the Quick Selection Tool in the top left corner of your toolbox. There are many ways to make a cutout in Photoshop, but this is one of the quickest and easiest.
Switch to the Quick Mask Tool by clicking on the small rectangle with the circle inside of it, located at the bottom left corner of the toolbox. Clean up the edges of the cutout using the brush tool.
Once your cutout is selected and your edges are neat, switch back to the original view by clicking again on the rectangle with the circle inside of it. Right click inside of your selection and select Cut. You’ll see a hole in your image where your selection used to be.
Go back to your InDesign document and go to Edit>Paste, or use the shortcut Command + V. You’ll see your cutout pop up in your InDesign project. Resize the cutout while maintaining its proportions by holding down Shift and Command and dragging the corners. Place it in the middle of the document where the two background photos meet.
Create a narrow border between the two photos using the Line Tool. Hold down Shift to keep the line straight. Play around with different colors and sizes until the combination works for your images.
To give the montage more depth, add a shadow to the cutout by right clicking it and selecting Effects>Drop Shadow. Make sure the preview box is checked and tweak the size and angle to work with your photo.
Now it’s time to get really creative. Start incorporating more lines and shapes into your montage until you like the result. Play around with the color and opacity of the shapes using the settings at the top of the document.
Add a border using the Line Tool.
Or add repeating shapes using the rectangle or ellipse tools.
Continue playing around until you’re happy with your creation. When it comes to a photomontage, there’s no right or wrong – only experimentation.