Creating a Photo Calendar in Photoshop Elements

December 31, 2015

Creating a Photo Calendar in Photoshop Elements

With the New Year almost here, it seemed a good time to look at how quickly and easily you can make a photo calendar using Photoshop Elements.

With Elements, you can create a beautiful, professional-looking wall calendar that lets you showcase your favorite photos throughout the year. And you can print your calendar right at home using your personal inkjet printer.

Selecting and Sorting Your Calendar Photos

The method we'll be walking through here for selecting the photos to be included in your calendar will be a three-step process. First, you'll select the individual images. Then you'll create an album from those photos. Putting your calendar photos in a separate album allows you to change their order, something you can't do directly within the Organizer's Media Browser. Finally, you can sort and reorder the photos to your liking.

I personally like using these steps when creating calendars or really any project in Elements because I find that grouping my photos together and then reordering them before actually diving into the project is easier in the long run and helps me to visually plan it all out. Plus having your project photos grouped all together makes it easier to redo if something happens along the way.

That said, you don't really have to do all three of these steps. You can just select your photos and then launch the calendar project, reordering the images on the fly once in the calendar workspace. It's your choice.

If you'd like to dive right into the calendar making workspace, without grouping your images and resorting beforehand, jump to Creating Your Calendar

Either way, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when selecting images for your calendar.

  • First, it's important to pick photos that are large enough to look good printed. This means that the images should be at least 300 pixels per inch and have appropriate dimensions for the calendar size.
  • Secondly, be sure to select enough photos for the calendar layout that you'll be using. Each layout requires at least 13 photos–one photo for each of the 12 months plus another photo to use for the calendar cover. But some of the layouts include pages that use more than one photo, so you'll need additional photos for those layouts. You can add in more photos later on, but it's a good idea to select more photos than you think you'll need right up front.

Step 1: Select Your Calendar Photos

Start by opening the Elements Organizer. There, scroll through the photos in the Elements Media Browser and, as you scroll, select the images that you want to include.

When selecting the images, keep these tips in mind:

  • If your photos are all contained in a separate folder, select the folder from the Folders panel found along the left hand of the workspace. Then select all of the photos by choosing Edit>Select All from the top menu bar or use the keyboard shortcut Command-A on a Mac/Ctrl-A on a PC.
  • To select multiple images that are right next to each other in the Media Browser, click on the first photo and then hold down the Shift key while clicking on the last photo. This will select the two photos that you clicked on as well as all of the photos in between.
  • To select multiple photos that are not next to each other, hold down the Command on a Mac / Ctrl on a PC as you click on the individual images from within the Media Browser.
photo calendars in photoshop elements

Step 2: Create a new Album from the Selected Photos

With the photos selected, we'll create an album of those photos.

To do this, go into the Albums panel by clicking on Albums at the top of the far left panel.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Then create a new album by clicking on the green plus sign to the right of the Albums panel and choose to make a new album.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

This opens a column panel along the right side of the interface. There you will see the photos that you have selected shown at the bottom of the column. At the top, you can name your album. I'll name mine All-Stars Calendar.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Then click OK to create and name the album.

The new album will appear in the Album panel along the left side of the workspace.

By the way, you can edit the photos that are contained in an album:

  • To remove a photo from an album, click on the album name in the Albums panel and then select the photo that you want to remove. Right-click on the photo (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and click), choose Remove from Album from the pop-out menu and then select the name of the album that you want to remove it from.
photo calendars in photoshop elements
  • You can add additional photos to an album by finding the photo in the Media Browser and then, with the Albums panel visible, dragging and dropping it onto the album in the panel.
photo calendars in photoshop elements

Step 3: Reorder the Calendar Photos

With the calendar photos grouped together into an album, they can now be rearranged and reordered so that they appear in the calendar in that order.

To change the order of the photos, select the album by clicking on its name in the Album panel. Change the Sort by field to Album Order.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Then just click and drag the photo thumbnails around to rearrange them, being sure to put the photo that you want on the cover of the calendar first.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Creating Your Calendar

Now we're ready to create our calendar.

Step 1: Select your Calendar Photos

  • If you grouped your calendar images into a Album, select the album by clicking on the name in the Albums panel and then select all of the photos in the album by choosing Edit>Select All from the top menu bar or use the keyboard shortcut Command-A on a Mac/Ctrl-A on a PC.
  • If you didn't group your photos into an album, select them by scrolling through the images in your Media Browser and selecting as your scroll.
    • To select multiple images that are right next to each other in the Media Browser, click on the first photo and then hold down the Shift key while clicking on the last photo. This will select the two photos that you clicked on as well as all of the photos in between.
    • To select multiple photos that are not next to each other, hold down the Command on a Mac / Ctrl on a PC as you click on the individual images from within the Media Browser.

Step 2: Build Your Calendar

With your photos selected, click on Create on the right side of the Organizer workspace and choose Photo Calendar from the drop down menu.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

This will launch the Calendar workspace where you can choose the settings for your project.

photo calendars in photoshop elements
Set the Starting Month and Year for your calendar

You can set the starting date for your calendar at the top of the dialog box. I'll set mine to January, 2016.

Check the box next to Autofill with Selected Images

With Autofill with Selected Images checked, Elements will use your selected photos to fill in the pages of your calendar.

Choose a theme

You can choose a theme from those listed in the center column of the dialog box.

You can scroll down and click on each theme to see a preview of that design. You'll notice that some of the themes show a triangular blue mark on the top right corner. The blue mark means that the theme files have not yet been downloaded to your computer. You can use these themes, but you'll need an internet connection and a minute or two for the files to download.

For my example, I'll choose the Designer Modern theme.

After clicking OK, Elements will download any necessary files and then build your calendar. When the process is complete, the calendar will open in the Calendar workspace.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

There you'll find an abbreviated toolbar along the left side, the Photo Bin or the Tool Options along the bottom and the pages of the calendar displayed on the right.

Customizing Your Calendar

At this point, you have created your initial calendar. Elements has taken the photos that you selected and filled in the pages of your calendar and you can see those pages laid out in the Calendar workspace.

Now, let's look at how to edit and customize the calendar.

Changing and Rearranging the Photos

If you don't like the order of your calendar photos, you can rearrange them.

Let's look at how I would change the photo on the title page of my calendar. By the way, I'm not going to actually make this change since I like the cover photo as it is. But here's the process.

Select the calendar page with the image that you want to change.

First, select the title page by clicking on its thumbnail in the Pages column on the right side of the workspace. This will bring that page up in the center area where it can be edited.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Replace the Photo

You have a couple of options when replacing the photos on your calendar pages.

You can choose from among the images that were originally selected when the calendar was created. To do this, click on the down-facing arrow at the top of the Photo Bin and choose Show Files selected in Organizer. (If the Photo Bin isn't visible, click on the Photo Bin button in the task bar to open it.)

Or you can select a replacement photo from among the images in any album that you have created in the Elements Organizer. To do this, click on the down-facing arrow at the top of the Photo Bin and choose the name of the album in the drop down menu. In the screen shot below, you can see that I have three albums to choose from: All-Stars Calendar, Botanical Gardens, and Sports.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Once you have the set of photos that you want to choose from selected in the Photo Bin, scroll through them using the scrollbar found on the far right. When you find the image that you want to use, click on that photo and drag it up on top of the existing photo. Release the mouse button and the old photo will be replaced with the new one.

You can also replace the photo on your calendar page with one from your computer's hard drive. To do this, right-click on the photo, (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the photo frame), and then choose Replace Photo from the drop down menu.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

This will open a dialog box where you can choose an image from anywhere on your hard drive.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Once you have located the photo you want, click Open and the new photo will be added to your calendar page.

Resize and Reposition the Photo

After you replace one or more of the photos in your calendar, you will probably want to resize and possibly reposition the added images.

To do that, select the Move tool from the toolbar on the left of the interface.

To resize, reposition or rotate a photo and the frame that it is sitting in, click once on the photo to select it. A dotted bounding box will appear around the image.

  • Click and drag the center of the box to reposition the frame and photo.
  • Hover your mouse over one of the corner points of the box and then click and drag the it to resize the frame and the photo together.
photo calendars in photoshop elements
  • To rotate the photo, click and drag the small, circular handle at the bottom of the bounding box.
photo calendars in photoshop elements

When you're done, click the green check mark to accept the changes.

To resize, reposition or rotate a photo inside its frame, double click on the photo to select it. Again, a bounding box will appear around the photo along with bar with a circular slider just above the image.

photo calendars in photoshop elements
  • To zoom in on the photo to enlarge it with its frame, drag the slider to the right.
  • To zoom out on the photo to reducing its size inside the frame, drag the slider to the left.
  • To rotate the photo in increments of 90 degrees, click the icon just to the right if the slider bar.
  • To rotate the photo free style, hover your mouse anywhere just outside the bounding box until your cursor changes to a curved arrow. Then click and drag to rotate the image inside its frame.
  • To reposition the image, click inside the frame, and drag to change the position of the photo within the frame.
  • If after changing an image size, you would like to adjust the frame to fit the new size, you can do that too. Right-click on the photo, (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the photo frame), and then choose Fit Frame to Photo from the drop down menu.

In the screen shot below, I've reduced the image size so that it no longer fills the frame. I can use Fit Frame to Photo to resize the frame to match the size of the image.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

When you're done, click the green check mark to accept the changes.

Working with Text

You can edit any of the text on your calendar. You can change the font style, color and size and you can reposition the words on the pages.

We'll look at how this is done by editing the sample text on the title page of the All-Stars calendar I've been working on.

First I'll select the title page by clicking on its thumbnail in the Pages column on the right side of the workspace.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

And then I'll select the Horizontal Type tool from the toolbar on the left side of the calendar workspace.

The first line of text is Title Here. I want to change that to The Miller Family 2016 All-Stars. To make this change, I'll click on the sample text and then drag across the line to select all of it. Then I'll type my text.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

I also want to change the font and make the type a little bigger.

Again, I'll drag across the line of text to select it. Then I'll go to the Type tool options in the Tool Options bar at the bottom of the workspace. There, I'll change my font to Gill Sans Bold and my font size to 36 pt.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

I like that. I'll click on the green checkmark to accept my changes.

Once I click on the green checkmark, I'm automatically switched to the Move tool with the text box still selected. So to move the text box, I can click on it and drag so that the text is more centered on my page.

There's also a second line of sample text that says Your Text Here. I don't really need this line of text so I'd like to delete it. To do that, select the Horizontal Type tool and click inside the second line of text to select it. Switch to the Move tool and then hit the Delete key or the Backspace.

Elements will ask you to confirm the deletion.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Click Yes to at the prompt to delete the line of text.

By the way, you can use these same methods to add and edit lines of text to any page of the calendar. To do that, just select the Horizontal Type tool and click where you want the text to be added. Then just start typing.

Changing and Adding Graphics

Each of the themes comes with a additional backgrounds, frames, and graphic elements that you can use to change the look of your calendar.

To use these additional assets, click on the Graphics button found on the right side of the lower tool bar. This will open the Graphics panel along the column on the right of the calendar workspace. There you will see listed the additional graphics that come with the your particular theme.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

To use any of these graphics, click on the thumbnail in the Graphics panel and drag and drop the element onto your page.

For example, in the screenshot below, I've dragged a new background onto the cover page for my calendar. After the new background was dragged and dropped onto the page, Element placed it behind the photo, frame and text, giving the page an entirely new look.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

And, in addition, to give the page a bit of sparkle, I've also added some a few other elements to the layout. I did this by dragging and dropping the graphic elements from the Graphics panel and then moving them around and resizing. I've also changed the color of the text to a darker black to help it stand out more (using the color option in the tool options for the Horizontal Type tool.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

By the way, as you are adding design pieces to your pages, keep in mind that these elements are being added on different layers. And that means that you can control what's on top of what. So as you add pieces, you can change it's place in the layering order by right-clicking (or if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, holding down the Ctrl key while clicking) on the element and choosing from the options in the drop down menu.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

For example, when working on my calendar page above, I wanted to keep the type layer at the top so that the text wouldn't be hidden behind any other element. To do this, I right-clicked on the type layer and choose Bring to Front from the menu.

Removing Photo Frames

Now that I look at my calendar cover with the added graphics, I think I would like to delete the frame from around the photo and leave just the graphics.

To remove the frame from around a photo on any of your calendar pages, first select the Move tool from the toolbar. Click inside the photo and then right-click (or, if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking) and choose Clear Frame from the drop down menu.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

There is no longer a frame around the photo.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Editing Layer Styles

I've added graphic elements to the cover page for the calendar I'm creating and I've removed the frame from the around the photo there so that the added graphics stand out more.

But, without the frame, the photo looks a little flat against the background. I can fix this by adding a layer style to the photo.

Layer styles are visual effects–things like drop shadows, strokes and bevels–that you can add to the elements on individual layers and that are editable and non-destructive. Drop shadows are probably the most used of these effects because a drop shadow can instant add depth and interest to a graphic layout.

Working with Layer Styles would typically requirement that you move to the Advanced workspace. But there's a way to add and edit layer styles right here in the Basic calendar workspace.

To do this, select the select the Move tool from the toolbar and then click inside the photo and then right-click (or, if you're using a Mac with a one button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking). Choose Edit Layer Style from the drop down menu.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

To add a drop shadow, check the box next to Drop Shadow. The settings box will open. Enter settings that work for your photo, being sure to check the box new to Preview so that you can see the effects of the settings changes as you make them.

For my calendar cover, I'll use the following settings for the photo drop shadow:

photo calendars in photoshop elements

And my calendar cover now looks like this:

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Modifying Page Layouts

Finally, let's look at how to change the page layout by working through the process on my All-Stars Calendar.

All the pages of my calendar currently have a single photo and that photo is in the landscape orientation (they're wider than they are tall). I want to change one of the page layouts to instead use two portrait oriented photos.

To move to the page we'll be editing, first bring up the Pages panel by clicking on the Pages button in the toolbar at the bottom of the interface. Then scroll down the panel and click on the page layout for May, 2016.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

To change the layout of the page, open the Layout panel by clicking on the Layout button in the toolbar at the bottom of the workspace. The Layout panel will open in a column along the right side of the interface. There, you'll find a collection of layouts, arranged by number of photos. We're looking for a 2-photo layout, so we'll scroll down to that section.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

I'll select the layout with the two portrait-oriented photos. To replace the layout on the page with this new layout, I'll click and drag the new one from the Layout panel on top of this calendar page, and drop it there. The layout changes.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Now all that's left to do is to add two photos from the Photo Bin. We saw how to do this above.

After adding in the new photos, my calendar page looks like this:

photo calendars in photoshop elements

Lastly, a Few Things to Keep in Mind…

Don't Forget Undo

When you are customizing your calendar–replacing photos, resizing, and repositioning, adding and editing graphics elements–you can sometimes get stuck.

In those times, don't forget about Undo. You can always choose Edit>Undo or use the keyboard shortcuts Command-Z on a Mac/Ctrl-Z on a PC once or even multiple times to undo your steps and redo.

Save Early and Save Often

As you work and make changes to your calendar, it's a good idea to save your project.

To save your calendar, select File>Save from the top menu bar. If it's the first time you've saved your calendar, you'll be able to give your project a name and select a location where the file will be saved.

photo calendars in photoshop elements

The Save As dialog box looks a little different on a PC (the screen shot above is from a Mac), but the features are the same.

By default, the calendar will be saved to the Photo Project Format (PSE). This format includes all of the photos, layouts, graphics and settings used in your calendar. For that reason, it's important to use this format if you want to be able to re-edit your calendar at a later date.

You also have the option to save your calendar to a different format. To do that, choose File>Save As and choose a different format such as PDF. Be warned that the PDF that you'll create would be quite large, probably too large to send via email.

You can also decide to export the calendar to a JPEG, TIFF or PDF using the File>Export command.

Once you'll typed in a name and navigated to where the project will be saved, click on the Save button. It may take a minute or two to save the files, especially the first time.




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