photo collage

How To’sday | Printing Square Photos

This week for How To’sday we have a spectacular tutorial from Heather Conklin on using all of those fun camera phone pics which have been edited by trendy apps, then printing them square without losing any of their features.

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With the advent of smartphones and those neat apps like Hipstamatic, Retro Camera and Instagram, there is a square photo revolution. For those of us who upload our prints and get our photographs from other sources than a personal printer, it can be difficult to take an awesome square photo, with all of its quirks, and cut it to fit a standard size 4×6 or 5×7.

By some happy chance, I figured out how to use Picasa3 to keep the square aspects of the photo, but make it so that I can upload to my favorite photo printer (Costco, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens, etc.) All I have to do when I get my photos is cut off the edges into the perfect square!

Step 1: Take your cool square photo and upload it to your computer. Open Picasa3.

Step 2: On the bottom of Picasa is a “collage” button. Click it!

Step three: On the left hand side of the collage section, you can choose your photo paper size (4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc.) Remember, you want to choose a size that reflects the size of the photo you want. 4×6 would make a 4×4 square, 5×7 = 5×5 square, etc.

Step four: Once you have chosen the size of the photo that will be printed (small area), click on the photo itself. When you do this, a circle with a pull arrow will pop up. Pull this and play around with it until it is the size you want.

Step five: Here the photo fills up white space, except for the edges. This means that the photo will print 4×4. Remember about your neat photo app edges. If you want to keep them, make them fit within the white space.

Step six: Click the box “create collage.”

Step seven: The now “collage” photo should save in Picasa3, but double check. I always save to the desktop, and then delete it once I have uploaded to my printer’s server.

That’s it! Now you can print your cool app photos at your normal printing spots. It’s a little odd that you just made a collage out of one photo, but it works!

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Heather, thank you so much! I’m excited to put my camera phone pics to use in such a fun way!

If you have a great idea that you would like to see featured as a How To’sday tutorial, be sure to send photos and instructions to

I hope you have a great Tuesday!

How To’sday | Picassa Photo Collage by Stephanie Umpleby

How To’sday | Picassa Photo Collage by Stephanie Umpleby

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to re-size your photos so that you can create a layout featuring more than your basic size prints, then today’s tutorial by Stephanie Umpleby will be right up your alley!


Do you ever have many pictures from the same event that you want to include but don’t want to create multiple scrapbook pages to include them? Smaller pictures are the answer!  But, if you don’t have your own printer, how do you do it? One answer is Picasa.

With Picasa, you can make collages of pictures. You can set the collage size to standard printing sizes (4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc) print a bunch of small photos inexpensively.  Here is how you do it!

First, download Picasa if you don’t have it. It is a free photo editing program from the Google guys, it works pretty well, and is Mac and PC compatible. Next add your photo folders to Picasa. This is very easy to do, and as long as always save to the same location on your computer, it is a one-time thing. Go to File, and then Add Folder to Picasa. I have mine set to “scan always” our picture hard drive, so each time I open the program it is up to date.

If you have a big folder of photos and only want to use some of them, you need to sort out the ones you want to use. There are two options. First, you can “star” the photos, which will put them in the Starred Photos folder. To “star” a photo, all you have to do is click on the star icon near the bottom center of the screen. You can “unstar” the same way. Starred photos will have a little star appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen for easy reviewing. You can also make a new folder and copy the images there too. Normally I start with the starring process, and if I want to keep the folder for later, I then export the starred photos to a new folder.

Now that you have your photos, you have some decisions to make. The first is what kind of collage you want to make.

  • A picture pile allows you to move the pictures around and alter the size and angle of the pictures. The “default” pile is normally not very appealing, but with some maneuvering, you can end up with some cute results.
  • A mosaic creates a square/rectangle grid of pictures, trying to fit all of the images as best as possible. You can have it shuffle the pictures and drag them around, but it doesn’t give you 100% control over where the pictures are located.
  • Frame mosaic puts one picture in the middle and the others around the outside as a frame.
  • Grid gives you equal-sized rectangles of all of the images you choose. There are two other options, but I don’t think they are very useful for scrapbooking (contact sheet and multiple exposure).

I like the picture pile and mosaic for my kids’ monthly update photos because I can include all of the “good” pictures from the month into one picture that I then email to friends and family (and later scrap as one photo).  For vacation pictures, I love the grid collage because I print out several photos at once and then decide how to scrap them later. If I did a picture pile or mosaic, I would have less freedom in scrapping because it is harder to break those collages up.

Here are some tricks to the grid collage.

  • First, sort your pictures by direction (landscape vs. portrait).
  • Select the perfect number. I prefer to select a perfect square (4, 9, 16, …). Doing these two things will keep the aspect ratio of your photos almost unchanged, which means the program won’t crop the picture much. You could crop all of the images to begin with, but otherwise Picasa does the cropping “automatically” and the results aren’t always desirable.  Also, if you chose a non-square number, check to see if there are duplicates included in the collage. Picasa does this if it thinks the best layout would be met by including one or two more photos.

Here are the actual steps to making the collage.

1. Select your photos. All of the photos you select should appear in the selection box at the bottom left of the screen. I normally use Ctrl, Click or Shift, Click for this.

2.    Click on Collage (at the bottom center of the screen).

3.    Change any settings you want on the collage.

  • The top setting is for the type of collage.
  • Grid spacing adjusts the border around each photo.
  • Background color is the color of the border/grid lines and the background of a picture pile.
  • Page format allows you to choose the print size (including a custom option so you can do any size you want) and direction.

4. Shuffle or drag the pictures around if you need to.
5. Create the collage

Here is a page done using only 4×6 collages from Picasa. I kept one as a whole 4×6, then I cut many of the others in half. I used the last print as two square pieces and as individual pictures at the bottom.


Thank you Stephanie for the great tutorial! I’m excited to incorporate a little more of the unique photo sizing with Mid Week Mojo sketches and will be able to point everyone in the direction of this tutorial to help them create those unique-sized photos for layouts. Speaking of, the sketch for tomorrow does incorporate some smaller photos. :)

If you have an idea that you’d like to share with us, please send it to We want to keep your ideas coming. Next week we have a great tutorial by Brittany Perry which you will simply not want to miss!

Be sure to check in tomorrow morning for Mid Week Mojo. For those of you that want to get started with smaller photos, the sketch includes one 4×6 vertical and four 2.5 x 1.75 photos.

Have a great day and scrap happy!