How to make a Storyboard in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my new educational page. This is going to be a creative space where I’ll give you tips on using your camera , photography techniques and how to get really creative in Photoshop and Photoshop elements. There will also be lots of other tips and hints about everything photographic!

Today Im going to show you how to make a storyboard in either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The sky’s the limit here. A storyboard can be printed, used on Facebook or just for you to enjoy as a screensaver on your desktop or iPad.

I love to print storyboards, in fact I love to print photos full stop! Printing photos brings your images to life. We all take so many photos and tend to leave them sitting around on the desktop.

Thats another reason I love making storyboards – you get to use lots of your favourite pics all at once!!

Okay so lets get started…..This will work in either photoshop or photoshop elements…Remember to click on the photos below to enlarge them.

In either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements open a new document. Click FILE >NEW or use the shortcut, CONTROL N. My storyboard is going to be 20in x 20in at 300dpi (this one is for printing). As we are making a template for you to keep and use again, we will make it at the biggest size and resize it later for Facebook or a blog. Set the pixels/inch at 300 and click ok. We will make the background colour white, but you can make it any colour you like!

Now for the fun part. We are going to make as many shapes as we want (think outside the square here!) and place them onto the storyboard. Just remember though, shapes that are too skinny or even square will mean that not all of your image will display on the storyboard (this is to do with the ratio of the original photograph) We will look a bit further into this as we go along.

Leave your original storyboard open and click FILE >NEW again or CONTROL N. This time though key in whatever dimensions of a shape you like. Im going to use 5in x 5in squares. Keep the pixels/inch the same (300 pixels/inch) but click on the ‘background contents’ drop down menu and set the background colour to black. Click OK.

Now we are going to copy and paste the new shape onto the storyboard – Click CONTROL  A on your new black shape (this puts marching ants around your shape) then with the cursor anywhere in the middle of the image, click CONTROL C (copy)Then go back to your storyboard and  click CONTROL V (paste). You will see your shape on your storyboard.

This shape has now been added to the storyboard as a LAYER. We are now going to  rename the layer to make things much easier later! Make sure your LAYERS palette is active on the screen. Click ‘WINDOW’ at the top of the screen and click on ‘LAYERS’ .

Now put your cursor over the shape and move it where ever you like on the storyboard. To do this click ‘V’ (move tool). I’ve moved my shape to the top left of the screen. Now go to your layers palette. You will see this first shape as Layer 1. Double click on the words ‘layer 1’ and type in the position on your storyboard. I’ve typed in ‘Top Left’.

Now, this is the really simple and fun part. Just click CONTROL V again on your storyboard and you will get the same shape again!! Move it around to wherever you want it. Remember to double click on the layer name and rename the layer for each shape you add to the storyboard.

Im going to continue with the same shape (the square) and rename my layers. At this stage Im going to place them roughly where I want them. We will align them and get everything exactly right a bit further on.

If you want to add a different shape to your storyboard, simply repeat the steps for making a new document –  CONTROL N, set the dimensions to whatever you like, make the background colour black, CONTROL A (put the marching ants around it), then CONTROL C (copy) and CONTROL V (paste) it onto your storyboard!!

Here’s my storyboard with all of my square shapes added and all the layers renamed. Remember to move your shapes around you have to MAKE THE LAYER ACTIVE. Do this by simply clicking on the layer (in the layers palette) that you want to move. The active layer will be blue.

Now we are going to turn on some really cool photoshop tools to help with aligning your shapes. Go to ‘VIEW’ at the top of the screen and click on ‘SHOW’ and tick GRID and SMART GUIDES. This will bring up a grid over your shapes and turn on the Smart Guides.

You also need to turn on ‘SNAP TO’ LAYERS and GUIDES…Go to ‘VIEW’ at the top of the screen and click on ‘SNAP TO’ and tick ‘GUIDES’ AND ‘LAYERS’. This will enable your shapes to align really easily!

Using the move tool, you can quickly move your shapes around the storyboard – REMEMBER EACH LAYER HAS TO BE ACTIVE TO MOVE IT AROUND – TO DO THIS JUST CLICK ON THE LAYER. The pink lines (SMART GUIDES) will help you align your shapes perfectly. With the help of the grid you can also determine how far apart you want each shape. Use the arrow keys to nudge the shapes wherever you want them. Once you have everything exactly where you want it. Go to ‘VIEW’at the top of the screen, and click on ‘SHOW’, then untick ‘GRID’. Or you can use the shortcut COMMAND/CONTROL ‘ This will hide the grid. This is how my storyboard looks perfectly aligned.

We are now ready to start adding some photos!! Before we do though, lets save our template, so we can use it for another storyboard! Just click FILE on the top of the screen and then SAVE AS. Navigate to the folder you want to save the storyboard and click OK…Its now ready to use for another time!

Open all the photographs you want to use on your storyboard in Photoshop or Photoshop elements.

Now this is a really easy process. Just COMMAND/CONTROL A around your first photo (this puts the marching ants around the edge of the photo) and CONTROL C to copy the photo. Now go back to your storyboard and CLICK ON THE LAYER YOU WANT TO PLACE THE PHOTO ONTO and click COMMAND/CONTROL V to paste the photograph onto the storyboard.  This is how my storyboard looks now…

Go to the layers palette. You will see the photo that you just copied is called ‘layer 1’.It will be above the layer called ‘middle middle’. RIGHT CLICK on ‘layer 1’ and click ‘CREATE CLIPPING MASK’…When you do this you will notice your photo moves BEHIND the opening on your storyboard. Sometimes it ends up hiding! Don’t worry, if this happens, just follow the next step and start resizing and dragging the photo towards the opening the want to place it in….

Now click COMMAND/CONTROL T. This will create a box around your image.

Click on one of the CORNER HANDLES of the box and holding the SHIFT key, drag the handle till the photo fits or is just bigger than the shape on the storyboard. If you don’t hold the SHIFT key down, you will stretch the photo out of shape! To position the photo just place the cursor over the centre of the photo and move it to your desired position.  Now click ENTER.  If your not sure of the positioning, just click on the image and drag the photo to the desired position. If you want to make the image bigger or smaller, just click COMMAND/CONTROL T again and use the handles of the box to resize the photo.

Repeat this process with all your photos….

This is my end result!!!

Okay so you’ve finished your storyboard, your pretty happy with it and now you want to print it.

At this stage your file is a very large PSD file. Just in case you want to make changes later, click FILE on the top of the screen and click on SAVE AS. Navigate to the folder you want to save the storyboard, NAME IT and click OK.

Then go to LAYER at the top of the screen and click on FLATTEN IMAGE (at the bottom of the screen). Now go to FILE at the top of the screen and click on SAVE AS. Using the drop down box select JPG and save it! It is now sized perfectly for printing.

To resize for Facebook click IMAGE at the top of the screen and click on IMAGE SIZE…This is the image size box for my storyboard…

Go to ‘RESOLUTION’ AND TYPE 72 THEN TO ‘WIDTH’ AND TYPE IN 900. Then click OK. This will resize your image for Facebook perfectly! Now click ‘FILE’ at the top of the screen and click on ‘SAVE AS’ and save the image again with the words FACEBOOK after the file name…

And thats it!! You can use the template again, and make other storyboards using all sorts of photos – you can even use different coloured backgrounds and text!

I would love to see some of your storyboards that you have created! Please ‘like’ Bernasconi Photography on Facebook and upload your storyboards for me to check out.

If you have any comments about this tutorial, or would like to ask any questions, please drop me a line at

take care