Learn how to overlay images with Adobe Photoshop.

Give your art that extra dimension. Create standout original images, collages, and double exposures by combining photos and designs in Adobe Photoshop.

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What is an image overlay?

An image overlay is when you add text or an image on top of a base image. Posters, advertisements, and even memes are examples of image overlays — but the possibilities really are endless. Learn how to stack multiple graphics, photos, or designs to create overlays in five easy steps. Then let your imagination run wild with blending, texturizing, and masking tips that will take your designs to the next level.

An artistic approach to photo editing.

Combining multiple images into one frame is easier than ever with apps like Photoshop. Whether you’re looking to create double exposures, composite photos, or collages, you can use blend modes and layer masks to create overlay images fueled by any inspiration.

Transform photos with image overlays.

You can create something new and unique by stacking multiple images, photos, or designs. Begin your project by opening your base image. Next, add images or photos on new layers and arrange them over your original base image. Then you’re ready to merge and blend these layers into a single overlay image.

Clouds and water overlaid together with the Adobe Photoshop overlay tool.

Experiment with blending modes.

Blending modes in Photoshop give you unique ways to combine and overlap images. Specifically, blending modes control how a painting or editing tool affects your image's pixels. Understanding the effect of each blending mode on your base color will help you get just the look you want in your final image. The blend mode is set to Normal by default, and if you adjust the opacity of your image, you can blend the layers. Choose other modes, like Darken, to blend the pixels differently.

Create any look you can imagine.

Get total control over your blending and overlay images with layer masks and transparency settings. Block out specific areas of your image with masks. Then it’s easy to decide what’s blended and what’s not blended. You can also use masks to conceal or hide parts of an image layer.

Texturize your photos.

Create unique photo effects by layering images and adding texture and patterns to your original photos. Play with different textures and blending options like foliage and greenery or various paper textures to capture unique and unexpected results. 

Step-by-step instructions for creating an image overlay.

1. Open your base image in Photoshop, and add your secondary images to another layer in the same project.

2. Resize, drag, and drop your images into position.

3. Choose a new name and location for the file.

4. Click Export or Save.

5. Save and export your overlay image as a PNG, JPG, or other file formats.

How to convert a batch of files.

1. Open your base image in Photoshop, and add your secondary images to another layer in the same project.

Improve your overlay picture creation skills.

Take a deeper look into making specific kinds of image overlays

Create a transparent background.

Replace the background of your images with this quick tutorial on transparency. Transform an average photo into something spectacular in just a few simple steps.

Craft a composite image.

Combine photos and designs in interesting ways. Explore creative techniques for layering, masking, and blending to make something unique and unexpected.

Bettafish image being dropped over image of a woman in Adobe Photoshop
Bettafish image overlaid over image of women with the Adobe Photoshop Warp interface

Images by Temi Coker

Master the double exposure.

Follow this quick video tutorial to learn how to create a seamless double exposure effect by combining two photos. For best results, start with high-contrast images with distinct light and dark areas.


The next time a visual mash-up idea pops into your head, you now have the basics to start making that vision a reality. Experiment with different overlay techniques to continue honing your skills when it comes to making a complex selection and combining images.

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