Fun with Photo collage software

Note:  I originally shared this blog post in July 11, 2015.  We had friends over this week and they commented on a collage of our kitty(featured in this post), which sparked my interest in revisiting the collage post.  I thought I would share it again.  I checked the links and the websites are still in business.  I hope you enjoy exploring and creating your own collages.

I decided to procrastinate   play this morning with some photos.  I photographed a hummingbird at the feeder the other day and wanted to show the original and then the cropping of the photo.  I tend to use Photoshop Elements to edit but I did not like the collage maker that it has.

I went on-line and found this list of photo collage software, The 14 Best photo collage maker tools on a site called Creative Bloq.

Here is a link to the list:

23yoi0szmrlld7ofdt1f_400x400 creative bloq graphic





I have used Instagram’s Layout (which is only available for iphone) and Picasa with my Google account, but had not tried any other the others.  I went to the websites of the software that worked with PC.  (there are several that only work with mac or ios ) Some required registration.

I tried out Photo 

From their home page:
Add photos without uploading
Create online photo collages
Save and Share Collages
Works on PCs, tablets and smart phone (ios and Androis)
Free form and template collages
Create Facebook, Google+ or Twitter Covers and header collages
No registration needed.
I found it easy to use and navigate. It has a FAQ swction and a video tutorial available.
It steps you through your choices above the blank canvas.  You cannot choose your template until you have added your photos which I did not like as much. It is web based so no need to download it to my computer.

It has a selection of backgrounds you can use or choose one of your own.

Checkers collage

I also tried Fotor

It has more features and a sleek look.

You can make a collage, edit a photo and design a card.

It is web based and also available for ios and Android

They have a section titled online editing made fun and simple which is helpful and informative.

At the bottom of the home page it has a menu that pulls down information as you scroll over each square.  This gives you information about their effects, textures, filters and more.  More includes: Photo editing, Photo collage, HDR, Beauty retouching, photo cards and Cover Maker – do it yourself cover photos and banners.

The only issue I had with making a collage on Fotor was when I added a photo it would not let me reduce the size of the photo to fit into the section of collage that I had chosen.  Other wise it has many fun features and is easy to use. Also – it asked me to register for free,  when I attempted to make a Facebook template.  Registration was easy and it did not ask for any personal information other than my email address.

Fotor collage Whimsey

Then I tried Photovisi

When I clicked on the Start Creating button, the page it took me too had options but I never got anything to respond when I clicked on them.

So I went back to the home page and there are examples of collages on the page.  they all run together and I scrolled until I found one similar to those I had been using on the other sites.  It never loaded.  Then I saw a small line of text stating if I was having trouble to go back to the old version of Photovisi. (I did not know I was on the new version)  So I clicked that and Voila!

Going to this other version of Photovisi took the collage format with it.  I added my four photos.  It did not allow me to adjust the size of the photos other than increasing or decreasing the photo which made it either overlap the other photos or left a background space.  Once I gathered the phtos that fit the spaces, I went to save the photo. To get the collage with out the water mark, a pop up comes up and states for $1.99 you can gt this collage with out the water mark.  The water mark appears in the lower right hand corner of the collage.  So far this is my least favorite site. not because of the water mark but the site was confusing and not easy to navigate.  This is also web based.


Next on the list is Pearl Mountain Collageit

There is a free version and an advanced version to buy.  The free version must be down loaded.  Cnet gave it 4.5 stars but I chose not to download it at this time.  I prefer the web based programs.

Next up is Ribbet

From the website:

  • Fix your photos in a single click
  • Fine-tune your results with advanced controls
  • Crop, resize, and rotate in real-time
  • Tons of special effects, from artsy to fun
  • Astoundingly fast, right in your browser
  • Awesome fonts and top-quality type tool
  • Pond-fulls of shapes from hand-picked designers
  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • No download, installation or sign-up required

It has a fun frog them and an appealing layout. It has editing and collage functions and I noticed across the top of the page , there are links to something called MILK (a site to create and buy photo books, cards and prints) , Zazzle (create t-shirts, mugs and much more), their Blog and Forums.

Using the Collage function, I picked a similar format and added photos.  It would not let me load multiple photos because I had not registered.  If I register it will allow me to upload up to 100 photos at a time.  No sizing of the photo except for zooming in.  I am not sure if there are more options with the premium version.  Once the collage was finished it brought up an editing page.  This was  nice and the edit applied to the entire collage.

Over all it was easy but not a site I will be using often.

Ribbet collage Sunflowers

Next is a site called BeFunky

This is a photo editing, photo effects and collage maker.  The site is easy to navigate and it asks if you want a tour when you explore a new feature.  I found a collage format like the one I have been using.  It was easy to add photos and switch between editing and he collage.  It did not allow me to decrease the photo size in the frame much like the other applications.  Easy to save to my computer too with choices of size and quality.  There are effect and other tools, some are locked unless you buy a subscription. $4.95/month or $24.95/year.  Has a similar feel to the Photoshop elements 13  that I use not but with more features. This one was fun.

BeFunky Collage toadstools

There was one other PC site called Shape Collage.  I did not try it as it must be downloaded.

Last but not least is PiZap.  I used it quiet a bit because of it’s simplicity.  I just wanted to arrange the photos to show the progression of some photos I was editing.  It was fun, not perfect and accomplished what I wanted.  I also like the choices of backgrounds they have to chose from. Then I started making several other collages because it was just that easy.  PiZap Free had all I needed for the project I wanted to do.  It has photo editing, A MEME maker and ability to make Facebook and Twitter covers or your own custom cover. Be aware that most of these have free and premium aspects which I found myself wanting to click on premium options several times although the free ones were pretty good too.  There is a 30 day free trial fo rthe premium or $3.99/month, $29.99/yesar or $69.99 for a life time subscription.

Hummingbird photo collage

Animal Collage 2

Breakfast on the Grill 3

Over all I liked PiZap for it’s simplicity, Befunky  because it feels like Photoshop Elements when I navigate but has better features and options on the creative front and Fotor , also for it’s creative features.

One more:

I found this one online after the fact.  It is a site called PicMonkey.

Its features include:

  • Photo Editor
  • Touch Up
  • Design
  • Collage
  • Photo Effects
  • Facebook Cover
  • Photo Text
  • Online Card Maker
  • Resize Image

It has a premium level called Royale.  They have a 30 day free trial.  It was simple to use.  I just used the collage maker and none of the editing software.


I hope you found this helpful.  Please let me know if you use any of these sites and your opinions.


Albert Phineas Drache

Saying goodbye to summer.

Although many students in band and sports have already returned to school for daily practice, school officially starts on Monday August 21 for us.  Summer seems to have slipped past us without much fanfare and no vacations, but some years are like that.  

I am still having fun exploring the new photo editing software Topaz and took one of my photos of a wind surfer in Rockport, Texas from a vacation in 2014.  The photo was kind of dull.  It was a gray windy day.  This effect, titled Bluebell Impression, gave this photo new life.  I love the colors and feeling of movement, the wind in the trees, the waves and the taut sail in the sky.

Who knows, maybe we will take a quick trip to the beach on a weekend.   🙂


Good morning

This morning has been very relaxing.  Drinking coffee on the porch while listening to the birds chirp and scold one another at the feeders. Enjoying a nice conversation with a friend that lives 1650 miles away and we managed not to persuade each other to buy any new books.  (We did that earlier in the week. 😉 )

I also ended up going through old folders of photos, one in particular was from a trip our family took to Louisiana a few years ago.  We went on a tour of Lake Martin in Breaux Bridge Louisiana.  This is one of my favorite photos. The original was a bit washed out.  I played with it in Topaz Studio and the first photo is a basic color correction with a bit of a vignette to darken the sky.  The second one has a bit more color saturation and the third effect is called perfect portrait.  Subtle differences but a vast improvement over the original.

Cypress with hollow area-Edit with Topaz.jpg

Cypress with hollow area-Edit with Topaz-Edit 3

Cypress with hollow area-Edit with Topaz-Edit perfect portrait




Icebox Watermelon – Heirloom Sugar baby melons

When we put in the vegetable garden this year, we also made an east facing bed for a flower garden. This garden is about 16 feet wide by 9 feet deep.

It was too late in the season to start the flowers from seed, so I planted a pot of heirloom sugar baby watermelon vines from Bonnie Plants.  They carry this brand at our local home improvement store and I have had good luck with their peppers and tomatoes.    The peat pot container had four seedlings in it.  I planted this in the center of the garden and then added zinnias and portulacas along the perimeter.

Young watermelon vine June 09 2017

watermelon vine 6-19-2017

Young watermelon. The young melons are a lighter green with pronounced stripes. 6-19-2017

Looking into the garden from the front 6-19-2017

Watermelon patch 7-01-2017

Almost mature watermelon. The skin has gone from bright green to darker dull green.  These only grow to  8-10 pounds.

As the watermelons grew, the chickens found them more interesting especially as the watermelon vines ran outside the fence.

The chickens enjoyed the escaped watermelon

The first melon we picked was not ripe.  The little curly tail on the vine was dry but the leaf off the stem next to it wasn’t.  There are all kinds of ways that are supposed to tell you if it is ripe. I think the signs vary with melon variety and other factors.  The one below is the only ripe one we have gotten so far.  It was very sweet and the texture was good.  I think if we had left it any longer it would have had the grainy texture.

Unfortunately our watermelon patch looks to have a deficiency or a type of viral leaf wilt.  we may not get too many more melons, although there are about 9 good size ones growing at the time of this post.  The temperature has also been in the upper 90’s for the last couple of weeks and petty much everything is suffering from the heat.  This could be another factor.


Overall it has been a fun experiment.  I will research more about watermelon vine diseases and types of melons for our area.  We have found that they require a lot of nitrogen, water and space and that no matter where I put the fence, the vines want to grow on the outside of it. 😉


Captured Moments – Full Moon with Panasonic Lumix FZ80 and Topaz Studio

One of the reasons that I wanted the Panasonic Luminx FZ80 was the 60x zoom.  My old Canon SX280HS , which had a bad experience at the beach one year, had a zoom that worked well for moon shots and I wanted another camera with similar zoom capabilities..  I tried using the hand held night shot scene mode on the Panasonic Lumix FZ80.  It would not zoom close enough to get the shot I wanted.  I decided to try using the 4K mode in the iA setting and the zoom extended and focused the way I was hoping it would.   Below are the results.  The photos were shot in 4K, hand held with the camera braced against my porch post.  (A new tripod is high on the wish list)

I caught a bit of the clouds in this one.

The next photo is also a hand held shot using 4k in the iA (Auto) setting.

This is the same photo using an effect called Antique Amber in Topaz Studio. 


Captured moments – Waterlilies and thoughts on photo editing software.

We place water tanks around our place for the wildlife.  The taller ones for the deer, lower ones for other creatures.  It gets so dry in the summers and there are no ponds or creeks nearby.  We added some Gambusia, also known as, Mosquito fish to all the ponds to keep the mosquito population down.  This tank is near the house and I added underwater plants and a waterlily to it a few years ago.  This lily has not bloomed for a couple of years, but this year has given me a single bloom about once a month since spring.  

Of course I have to take photos.  

Photographer, author and editor, Theo Fenraven,  takes amazing photos and turns them into beautiful works of art.  Click the link above to visit his website.   He has some amazing art.  I was curious about which photo editing software he used and he said that he uses Photoshop and Topaz.   He was very helpful answering my questions and directing me to blog posts he has done detailing some of the processes he uses.

This is an example of his art.  Beautiful!

Digital Art by Theo Fenraven

Theo uses the pro plugins that Topaz offers and actual Photoshop.  I have not used either of those,but had experimented with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software.  I admit that I did not enjoy using it.  It may have been more than I was ready to commit to.

I have been using Photoshop Elements 13 for a while now and went in search of Topaz.  They have a series of great plugins that can be used with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  They also have their own free software called Topaz Studio.  I am trying it out now before I venture into buying some of their plugins.  I am enjoying Topaz Studio.  It is very user friendly and fun for a novice like myself.   Since I am comfortable with Photoshop Elements, I find myself switching back and forth between the two software programs, comparing ways to edit photos. One of the lovely things about Topaz Studio is users can create filters and share them.  While I have created some of my own, I did not use them for the waterlilies, they worked better for the wildlife photos I had been editing.

Below is the unedited, direct from the camera photo of the waterlily.  I am using a Panasonic Lumix FZ80 camera.

The next photo is edited with Photoshop Elements.  It is cropped and I used a Saturated Film effect.

Below is one using a filter titled Expressionism from the user created filters in Topaz Studio.  I did tweak some of the setting.  This a very cool feature.  Even though they have given you their settings, you can open individual sections and make your own adjustments.  

Lastly, is a filter from Topaz Studio called African Forest.  I love this effect.  I did change the color temperature and hue and played with the opacity of the filter.

After using the free software, I am sure that I will be buying some of the Topaz plugins. 



Captured moments – Travel – Blanco Gardens

I love visiting Blanco, Texas.  It started out as being a halfway mark for my best friend and I to meet for lunch and spend the day together.  We have an early lunch, then walk over to one of our favorite places, Blanco Gardens.

Blanco Gardens

It is a short walk from the cafe, and we always end up bringing back trays of plants on the walk back. 

Amelia Lintner, the owner, is wonderful.  Friendly, knowledgeable and fun.  Her gardens are colorful and invite you to explore.  She carries trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables.  She also has a wonderful selection of succulents, which I love!   You will also find a nice assortment of planters, garden soils and amendments too, as well as a lovely gift shop inside.  It is a wonderful place to relax and browse.  The zinnias and succulents I bought from her this year have been outstanding.


Looking at the store from Highway 29

The porch on her shop is a cool, shady place to relax while contemplating your purchases. 😉


Inside the shop

Amelia has a beautiful selection of planters and slag glass in the shop as well as seeds and other gardening supplies.


Amelia trying to escape my camera. ❤


This is an amazing selection of lavender. To the left is a room with some of the succulents.

One of her succulent arrangements. I love this ice plant.


Recycled tires. How cool is that?!

Love this bat!


Slag glass in a fun display.

That’s a big boot!


A fun area with various decorative items.


If you are out and about in the Hill Country of central Texas, stop by and say hello to Amelia, take a stroll through her gardens, relax on the porch and take home a plant or two.  

Blanco Gardens

Address: 500 Main St, Blanco, TX 78606


Saturday 10AM–4PM
Sunday 10AM–4PM
Monday 9AM–5PM
Tuesday 9AM–5PM
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9AM–5PM
Friday 9AM–5PM
Phone: (830) 833-2433