Free is good, good quality results are better.

I'd like to automatically create collages from a set of photos that were collated by hand.

I'm interested in what the software can do rather than having a pre-set idea of what the output should look like, but there should be some control over how the photos are laid out, and at what size and orientation they are placed.

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    Can you expand a little bit on what you'd like to do with it, and what kind of features the program should have? Thanks! – mattdm Mar 31 '11 at 22:39
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    I'd like to create collages from a set of photos collated by hand. I'm interested in what the software can do rather than having a pre-set idea of what the output should look like. – tenpn Apr 1 '11 at 8:02
  • @tenpn, I've moved your comment into the question body to make it more obvious. You can edit it too if you want to expand further etc. – AJ Finch Apr 1 '11 at 14:38
  • @tenpn: Okay, fair enough, but can you at least describe a little bit what you're after? Do you want something produced automatically, or do you want a tool to aid manual design work? Particularly in the second case, this might do better over at graphicdesign.stackexchange.com – mattdm Apr 1 '11 at 15:03
  • Ok, I've tried to expand the answer but I really don't have much of a pre-set idea of what the tool should do. – tenpn Apr 1 '11 at 16:27

Your question is a bit vague, but have you looked into Google Picasa? It has a function that allows you to pick your pictures and automatically put them into a collage. Is is pretty basic, but a pretty good starting point.

This function is under the "Create", "Picture Collage" menu item.

  • Wow Picasa is great, thanks. I wouldn't call it basic! – tenpn Apr 18 '11 at 7:40

Here are three sets of comparisons of collage software:

Review of collage software
Comparison of selected photo mosaic applications
2011 Photo Collage Software Comparisons and Reviews

Disclaimer, I have used none of these packages and am not in a position to make recommendations.

I have used Gimp to make large collages and find it to be very effective, if somewhat time consuming. Note also that, as the number of photos increases, memory requirements also increase sharply.

But there is one category that demands specialised software and that is mosaic creation.
Here is just one example: Mosaic Creator - professional mosaic software
Disclaimer, I have not used it.


I believe that Lightroom (from version 3) has a feature in the Print module which is like a montage - it allows you to position images where you like on the page for printing.

If you were after something to create a new image, I don't think that Lightroom does that.

Appologies for vagueness - I haven't used this feature yet.

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    Lightroom's feature is not usually called a collage as the photos are non-intersecting and placed at right angles. This is more like a light-table or tear-sheet. – Itai Apr 1 '11 at 14:47

I can imagine doing so with a software like GIMP. Just define yourself a canvas big enough and start copy-pasting your images in layers on that canvas. You can apply different effects to the individual images.

This is not an automated process, but if the other suggestions are not enough for you, you can try this.


Adobe Photoshop is and will be your best choice for this kind of project.

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    Could you clarify why, provide some references and quotations? – jrista Apr 21 '11 at 1:43

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