How to Overlay Images

How to Overlay Images: 3 Effective Ways

So, you have a photo collage in your mind, be it a genuine piece of art or just a meme to amuse your friends or interned crowd. But bringing your idea to life involves overlaying a pair of photos. And now you’re wondering how. Well, wonder no more! In this guide, we will show you how to overlay images with different tools to achieve quite artistic results. Some are straightforward and easy, while others have a learning curve, but return much more on your investments. Read on and discover the perfect one for you!



GIMP, a.k.a. GNU Image Manipulation Program, can be regarded as Photoshop’s “evil twin”. It may be somewhat less feature-rich, but GIMP makes up for that by being completely free and upgradable with external plugins. However, this is still a very powerful tool that will allow you to draw original art and perform a great variety of editing wizardry. GIMP really opens up as you master it, but laying images over one another is actually quite a basic trick you can do without great skills. Here’s how to overlay images with it:

  1. Load the Images. Firstly, put the images you want to edit in one folder. Then run the program and go to File > Open as layers, navigate to the folder with your pictures, select both, and click open.
  2. Arrange the layers. Go to the Layers panel in the right parts of the window. There, drag the base image to the bottom of the list.
  3. Adjust the Top Layer. Switch back to the top layer. Use the Move tool to correct its position. You can also do more thorough adjustments with the features you find in Tool > Transform Tools.

In case your top image is not yet prepared, you can erase the background yourself right away! Select the top layer, go to the Layer tab and select Transparency > Add Alpha Channel. Navigate to the panel on the left, and select the Fuzzy Select tool. Then click on the background part and press the Delete button to remove it. It might take a few tries and threshold adjustments to remove everything you need. Do some cleanup with the Eraser tool if need be. Achievement of crisp-clean and seamless results might take some practice. But, you have not to spend a dime, so give it a try.



If you find the complexity of high-end software off-putting, then take a look at PhotoWorks. It is packed to the brim with features that will make photo editing as fast and easy as it gets. You can streamline your work with an intuitive interface, tons of filters, automatic tools, and batch processing mode. There are pro-level tools, such as curves, tone mapping, and LUT profiles if you wish to dig in deeper. Here’s how to overlay photos with PhotoWorks:

  1. Open the Base Image. Launch the program and click the Open Photo button to find your picture via the file browser. Or you can simply drag and drop the image into the program window. If you want to enhance the image a bit before proceeding, just click the Auto Correction button.
  2. Select the Image Overlay tool. Navigate to the tools tab and click Overlay Tool. Then open the second picture, you can either pick an image from a built-in library or upload your own photo.
  3. Add the Top Image. Click Add Image from File and select the image that will be in front.
  4. Adjust the Top Layer. Move the uploaded image around to find the perfect spot. You can also resize and rotate the layer to make it fit perfectly.

If you wish to remove the backdrop of a photo before overlaying – you can! Go to the Tools tab, pick the Change Background tool, and use the corresponding brushes to mark the background and objects. Once the program removes the unwanted parts, you can erase the remaining bits (if there are any) manually. Then you can either save the image with a transparent background or add a new background right away. That’s it!



Installing extra software on your device is not always feasible. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t worry – online services have got you covered. Pinetools offers you all the features you need for day-to-day editing and lets you use them via a web browser. Image overlay is on the menu as well, here’s how to use it:

  1. Open Your Images. Go to the Pinetools main page and upload your pictures – the main image will be the base, and the secondary image will be the top.
  2. Position the Top Image. Move the crosshairs over the base image to pick the perfect spot for the top layer. You can also adjust the size and rotation angle of the top image.
  3. Overlay Your Photos. Click the Process button to lay the images over one another. Note that Pinetools has no preview for this feature, so it might take a few attempts to make the pieces fit.

This method may appear somewhat clumsy and limited. However, if you don’t have (or don’t want to have) any desktop programs, Pinetools could come in handy.


Now you know how to overlay pictures in three ways. If you are ready to learn, then GIMP will open up a lot of possibilities for you. If you want to keep it simple and do something uncomplicated, then run with Pinetools. And if you are looking for a golden mean between capabilities and ease of use, then PhotoWorks is the way to go. However, these are but three out of a great many available applications. You can discover even more from this article on how to overlay pictures. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the best method for you based on your skill level, aesthetic goals, and preferred platform.

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