Introduction: Totally '80s Photo Collage Portrait

About: I like to create, no matter the medium. I've made furniture, digital models, costumes, props, videos, graphics, animations, restored a vehicle, etc.

I painted a wild multi-color frame (with the hydro dipping method) and needed a photograph for it that exuded class and style. There's nothing classier than an '80s style portrait. I had to make one.


• Camera (with remote and tripod is helpful if you don't have a willing friend handy)

• Photo editing software, Photoshop or free alternative

• Printer

• Hobby knife and straight edge to cut the matte

Pliers for the staples in the back of the frame


• Picture frame

• Printer paper

Foam core, matte board, or pre-cut frame matte (check your frame's size)

• Appropriate clothing and large frame eye glasses for photo shoot

• Favorite pet for photo shoot

Check out the step by step to create the ultimate portrait. The result is pure awesomeness!

Step 1: Background & Photo Shoot

Image Background

The first step is a laser background. It screams '80s, and if I couldn't find the perfect '80s backdrop, this project was going to be totally bogus. If you google laser background, you'll be inundated with numerous baby blue and pink crossed laser images. They're perfect.

Photo Shoot

With this solid foundation, it's time to prep for your photo shoot with accessories. You need oversized glasses, a collared shirt or sweater (outdated is a plus), and an animal doesn't hurt. If you have a gold watch, bracelet, or chains, use them! For some reason my dog was completely ashamed in the portrait. I can't understand why, this is amazing. Hair needs to be incredibly bland or ridiculous. Your pick. It's the '80s anything goes.

Armed with a tripod & remote or a willing friend, capture a dozen images. It's always best to have a few choices. Try numerous poses. Take a few close ups, because the head shot in the background adds an insightful touch. It's best to use a solid colored backdrop for these photos. Green can make editing the background out easier, but any solid color works.

Step 2: Photo Editing

I selected two photos for the final composite, a main photo and a close up. I'm using Photoshop, but is a good free alternative. I tweaked the black/white balance in the images to provide a bit of contrast, and I initially worked on a plain white background to see the feathering better.

Start with your main image and delete the background. I used the magic wand and then a small diameter soft brush eraser to clean up. Then add the close up in the background. This should be on a layer behind the main image. Use a soft brush to erase everything but your face, the larger the diameter the more the feather. A soft brush ensures, a nice feather. Alternatively, use a layer mask in photoshop so you don't irrevocably erase a part of the original image that you discover is needed after.

To top it off, I added an inspirational '80s quote, "Knowing is half the battle." Who doesn't love G.I. Joe? The ambiguity is spell binding. Is it something I know, something you know, or something you don't, but should? Is it something I don't know? The questions are endless.

Print your image. I printed mine on 11x17 tabloid paper, but the size depends on your frame.

Step 3: Finish the Frame

I taped the printed image to the corrugated cardboard backing that came with the picture frame. Most frames use a matte board backing.

Initially I cut a matte out of printer paper, but it didn't look good. I used foam core instead as the new matte because I had it on hand. Picture matte is typically a thin cardboard. It's best to use a paper template when you cut the foam core. You can trace a template right onto paper and use that to cut foam core or matte.

You want the matte to touch the color of the image without a white halo. If your image is full bleed, it helps prevent this, my image was not full bleed.

I used plain white because it helps separate the crazy frame from the crazy background. With the matte, frame, and image, I recommend that only two of those things should be crazy. You don't want to go full crazy!

This frame uses staples in the back to keep everything together. I was afraid the foam core would make everything to thick for the staples to hold it, but it just barely fit.

This frame and portrait combination are radical dude. This is fit to hang in any private space or public office. It's a real display piece. Let people know you're one cool dude!

Photography Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
Photography Contest 2017

Papercraft Contest 2017

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest 2017