You took the perfect photo, but something is missing. Adding a border is a great way to set off your image and make that picture pop! 

Using Photoshop to add a border to your photo is faster and easier than you think. Plus, there are several Photoshop borders to choose from, so you can add custom flair! Read on to learn how to add a border using Photoshop.

How to Create a Solid Border

Sometimes it’s best to choose a basic border. Whether you want to stick with classic white or choose a color that sets off elements of your image, a solid border can add a lot to a photo.

Step 1: Open Your Image in Photoshop

Before adding a border in Photoshop, make sure you do any editing you want for your photo. If no editing is necessary, head to step three.

Step 2: Flatten the Edited Image

If you edited your photo, your file has different layers, so you need to merge, or flatten them. Go to the Layers Panel (bottom right side) and click on it. When the drop-down menu appears, you want to choose “Flatten Image.” 

Step 3: Unlock the Layer of Your Image

To add a border, you may need to unlock the layer of your photo. If needed, do this through the Layers Panel. 

Click on Layers Panel (bottom right side) and search for your photo. A small padlock should appear next to the photo. Click on the padlock. 

Once you select the layer with your photo, it should appear as Layer 0, but you can rename it.

Add a border to your picture using Photoshop

Step 4: Adjust Your Image Canvas Size to Accommodate A Border 

Now you need to make room for the border. Go to Image (at the top of the toolbar) and click on Canvas Size in the drop-down menu. 

Adjust your canvas size to add a border

Step 5: Fill Out the Dialog Box Properly

A “Canvas Size” dialog box should appear. There are a few important steps to take here but begin by selecting “Relative.”

Fill out the canvas size dialog box in Photoshop

Step 6: Choose Your Border Dimensions 

The next thing to set up in the Canvas Size dialog box is the width of your border. Generally, one or two inches works best, but you can adjust your image canvas size to find the best fit.

Step 7: Pick a Border Color 

Finally, you want to choose the color of your border. At the bottom of the Canvas Size dialog box is “Canvas extension color” beside a drop-down box with color options. Click on your desired color. 

Step 8: Click Ok

Click Ok at the top right of the dialog box to accept the changes and admire your border. Don’t forget to save your image after you click ok!

Photos with a solid border in Photoshop

How to Create a Custom Photoshop Border

Are you bored by the plain border? If you want to step it up a notch, try a custom border in Photoshop.

Step 1: Open the Image in Photoshop

As always, start by opening your photo in Photoshop. If you like your image as is, proceed to step two. 

Step 1a: Edit Your Photo

Make sure you complete any photo editing you want to do to your image before adding a custom border. Repeat, the custom border should be the very last thing you do to an image!

Step 1b: Flatten the Edited Image

Don’t forget to flatten your layers. If you forgot how to do this, see step two in how to add a plain border.

Step 2: Create a “Solid” Layer

This is where the process of adding a border shifts slightly. You need to create a layer mask for your image to obscure parts of it without manipulating the photo any further.

Click on the Adjustment Layer button at the bottom part of the Layers Panel in Photoshop. A menu should appear in the Layers Panel with several choices.

Step 3: Choose Your Border Color

From the Adjustment Layer menu at the Layers Panel, select Solid Color. Pick a color for your border. That color should apply to the entire layer.

Step 4: Invert the “Layer Mask”

Don’t panic because your entire image is a solid color! It’s just a layer, and your photo is still there. Just double click on the mask (color layer) and select Control +I or Command +I. Two things happen at this point, your mask turns black, and you can see your image again.

Step 5: Choose a Brush to Paint Your Border

You’re not done customizing yet! Click on the brush tool via Photoshop’s brush icon. There are several brush choices, but you can always make your own.

Step 6: Paint Your Border on the Image

Using the brush tool, paint over the image where you want to see a border. The brush strokes initially look white on the black mask, but when you see your photo, the border will be the color you chose.

When you’re satisfied with the look of your border, click save to preserve your changes.

Creating a Grunge Border in Photoshop

Grunge borders add a chic feel to any image. It’s a creative alternative that takes just a few steps to create a grunge border for Photoshop.

Step 1: Choose an Image of a Skyline

It doesn’t matter if the photo is urban or nature-based. Open the file in Photoshop.

Step 2: Prep Your Image to Create the Grunge Border

That’s right, you use the Skyline image to create the grunge border. On the top menu, click on Image and select Adjustments then Threshold.  Set the threshold to a very high number to create a black and white image. 

Use an image of a skyline to create a grunge border in PS

Step 3: Open a New Blank Canvas

Select the image (use Control/Command + A) and copy it (Control/Command + C). Paste the image (Control/Command + V) in a new blank canvas.

Step 4: Transform the Skyline Image 

At the top menu, select Edit. Choose Free Transform from the menu and squeeze the entire black and white image to one of the edges. You have one edge of your Grunge Border.

Step 5: Duplicate the Skyline Image into More Layers

To create the other sides of the border you need to duplicate the layer. Go to the Layer panel and select duplicate layer to create three more sides.

Duplicate the skyline

Step 6: Build Your Border

One at a time, select a layer and use the Transform menu to rotate and resize it to fit a side of the image. Repeat until you have a rectangular border. 

Build your border with layers

Step 7: Blend the Layers

To create a true Grunge Border, you need to manipulate each side of the rectangle, so it doesn’t look uniform. In the Layer panel, select Layer Style and Blending Options. Play around with each layer to create slightly different sides until you achieve the result you love!

Don’t forget to save your work!

How to Use Grunge Borders

Are you wondering how the image fits in with a grunge border? Don’t worry, we can help with that. Once you create grunge borders for Photoshop, you can apply them to any images you choose.

Open the border file. On the top menu, select File, then Place, then select your photo. Photoshop resizes and inserts your photo into the border file. You may have to make some minor manual adjustments by dragging the edges (hold down the shift key while using the Transform tool). 

The Blending tools help you add additional effects through the Layers panel. Choose Layer Style and Blending Options to play around more.

Blending your grunge border

How to Add a Border Using Photoshop Elements

Photoshop elements makes it easy to add a border to any photo. You can even choose the desired color and thickness for your Photoshop frame.

Step 1: Prepare the Image

Open your image in Photoshop Elements. Use the Select menu to choose “all” or try the keyboard shortcuts (Command-A for Macs and Control-A for PCs). It should select your entire photo with a frame of dashed lines.

Step 2: Open The “Stroke” Dialog Box

Click on the Edit menu. Choose “Stroke (Outline) Selection.” You have three sections in the dialog box, but we only need to worry about two – stroke and location. 

Step 3: Set the Desired Stroke and Color

Start with setting the stroke. You can choose how wide you want your stroke and what color you prefer. The width can range from 1 to 250. 

To choose a color other than black, simply click on the black rectangle then “select stroke color,” and a new dialog box appears. Choose the color you want and click ok.

Step 4: Choose the “Location”

You have three location choices – Inside, Center, and Outside. It’s the relationship of your stroke to the selected image. You may want to play around with the options to determine which you prefer.

Step 5: Save the Changes

Once you select your stroke, color, and location, click ok. 

Step 6: Deselect

You probably don’t want the dotted line around your picture, so you need to deselect the image. Use Command-D on Mac or Control-D on PC to get rid of the dotted line.

Optional Step 7: Alter the Border Size and/or Color

If you don’t love the border, you can still make changes via the “Edit” menu. Click on Revert and repeat steps one through three until you create a border you love.

Final Thoughts on Creating Borders in Photoshop

A Photoshop border allows anybody to add a creative, personal touch to any image. Even professional photographers use Photoshop to retouch images. The best part is that it’s not difficult for beginners, and the sky is the limit when it comes to customizing options.