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How to Create a Vintage Photo Collage in Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to create a vintage collage featuring a beautiful woman. I will also teach you how to retouch the artwork in Adobe Lightroom.

First, we’ll isolate the model from the background. After that, we’ll add our background. Later, we will cut out the model’s eyes and create some faux sunglasses with a desert picture. Then, we will add additional elements such as the crow, the UFO, the jewelry, and some tribal marks. Finally, we will adjust the contrast, vibration, and saturation using Adobe Lightroom. Let’s get started.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Isolate the Model and Prepare the Base Background

Step 1

Create a new 2500 by 2000 pixels document in Photoshop with the given settings:

Setting up the canvas

Step 2

Open the model image in Photoshop. Cut out the image using the Pen Tool (P). Find a spot on the main image to start drawing the outline. As we’re drawing, we want to zoom in closer to the subject. This is accomplished using the Zoom Tool by pressing Control and the + orkeys.

outlining the model to remove the background
final result of outline

Step 3

Now that we have drawn the outline, we want to soften the edges of the hair before removing the background. Right-click, make selection, and then select the Marquee Tool (M). Once the option bar pops up, select Select Inverse and click on Select and Mask. This will open the Select and Mask Workspace.

Selecting and masking the model
Selecting and masking workspace

Step 4

Then, activate the Refine Edge Brush Tool (R). Brush over any detailed hair areas that are missing from your selection with this tool (we can change the brush size and hardness from the brush drop-down in the top left). This will select the detailed hair areas and remove the contrasting background. When you are done, click OK.

Step 5

Now we want to remove the background. Select the Marquee Tool (M). Right-click and Select Inverse. Then hit Delete.

Refining the edges of the models hair

2. How to Bring the Image Into the Main Canvas

Drag the image into the main canvas using the Move Tool (V).Then, resize by pressing Control-T. This will bring up the transformation tools you want. We do not want the image to deform or stretch, so press Shift while resizing. Then press Enter.

Bringing the image into the main canvas

3. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Bring the background image into the canvas, and then place the layer under the model’s layer. We want the image to fill the canvas. Press Control-T, and drag the corners to make it bigger. Press Shift while resizing. Then press Enter

Now that we have resized the background image, we want to center the circle. Select the Move Tool (V) and move the image to the right side to center the circle.

Adding the background in the main canvas

Step 2

Next, we want to make the background more colorful. Press Shift-Control-A to open the camera raw filter workspace, and then bring the Clarity up to +83 and the Vibrance up to +68. Click OK.

Adjusting the contrast of the background
end result of exposure adjustment

4. How to Import the UFO and the Crow

Step 1

Drag the UFO picture into Photoshop. We need to remove the background. Cut out the image using the Pen Tool (P). Find a spot on the main image, and click on a point to start drawing the outline. To finish, we have to click from the last point to the first one we did. Press Control-(+) to zoom in and Control-(-) to zoom out during the process.

outlining the UFO to remove the background
Deleting the background

Step 2

Now we want to import the UFO into the main file. Select the UFO layer, use your Move Tool (V), and drag the image into the main canvas, and then resize it to make it fit on the model’s head. To resize, press Control-T, holding the Shift key while resizing the UFO image. Next, we want to delete the extra hair around the UFO. Select the Model’s layer, activate the Eraser Tool (E), and remove the hair on the edges.

Dragging the UFO on models head

Step 3

Now we need to add the crow. Drag the image into Photoshop, and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the crow’s outline. Click on the Marquee Tool (M), and then Right-click and Select Inverse. Click Select Selection, and then press Delete.

outlining the crow to remove the background

Step 4

Drag the crow image on the main file. Resize the image. Press Control-T, holding Shift while resizing. Use the Move Tool (V) and bring the crow onto the model’s left shoulder.

Adding the crow on the models shoulder

5. How to Add the Jewelry and Tribal Marks

Step 1

Open the mirror picture in Photoshop. Use the Pen Tool (P) to cut the crown and remove the background. Drag the jewelry into the main file on top of the model’s neck. Press Control-T, holding Shift while resizing the image. We want the image under the UFO. Bring the layer under the UFO’s layer.

Outlining the mirrors crown
Removing the background

Step 2

Press Control-J to duplicate the jewelry’s layer and place it on the model’s neck. Lower the Opacity to 50%, and activate the Pen Tool (P) to remove the extra part on the edges. Follow the body shape, and then bring back the Opacity to 100%.

Transforming the mirrors into a jewelry and adding it on the model

Step 3

Now we want to add some tribal marks. Use the Ellipse Tool (U) to draw a small circle, making sure the fill color is white. Duplicate the layer nine times by pressing Control-J, and then use the Move Tool (V) to redistribute the circles on the cheeks and arms.

Adding the tribal marks

6. How to Create Desert Sunglasses

Step 1

Open the desert picture in Photoshop, and then activate the Rectangle Marquee Tool (M) and draw a rectangle on the image. 

Selecting a part of the desert picture

Step 2

Then use the Move Tool (V) and drag the rectangle into the main canvas. Place the rectangle on the model’s eyes. 

Dragging the desert picture on the model to create sunglasses

Step 3

Next, lower the image’s Opacity to 50%, and then use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a round shape in the middle of the nose area. Cut out the sides like the following shape.

Drawing the sunglasses
Cutting out the edges of the desert to create the sunglasses
End result of the sunglasses

7. How to Create a Vintage Retouch to the Artwork in Adobe Lightroom

Step 1

Export the photo as a Jpeg from Photoshop. Import the picture into Lightroom. Then click Develop. Bring the Temperature to +14, Highlights to -100, Shadows to +100, Blacks to -57, Clarity +100, and Vibrance to +24.

Adjusting the temperature and exposure in Lightroom

Step 2

Next, we want to add some vignette to create more of a vintage mood. Scroll down the toolbar to Post-Crop Vignetting and bring down the Amount to -29. Then add some Grain. Bring up the Amount to +75, size 24, roughness 50.

Adding a vignette to the picture

Step 3

Now, scroll down to camera calibration and bring the Green primary to -38

Adjusting the hue in Lightroom

8. How to Export the Final Artwork From Adobe Lightroom

Now that we are finished, we want to export our artwork as a JPEG. Click File, then Export. Select in which folder we want to save our image. Then click Export.

Before and After photo retouch

Congratulations, You Made It!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in the box below. Keep creating!

Final result