How to Do an Overlay in Photoshop - Step-by-Step Guide

Oct 27, 2023

Welcome to Summerana, your ultimate resource for photography and creative tools. In this article, we will walk you through the process of creating stunning overlays in Photoshop. Whether you are a professional photographer or a creative enthusiast, overlays can add a unique touch to your images and make them stand out. Let's dive in!

What is an Overlay?

Before we start, let's understand what an overlay is. In the context of photography, an overlay refers to an additional image or texture that is blended with the original photograph to enhance its visual appeal. Overlays can be used to add elements such as light leaks, bokeh effects, textures, or even whimsical objects like butterflies or snowflakes. They allow you to unleash your creativity and transform your images into captivating works of art.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

To begin, launch Adobe Photoshop and open the image you want to apply an overlay to. Make sure you have a high-resolution image to work with for the best results. Once your image is open, create a duplicate layer by going to Layer > New > Background from Layer. This will ensure that your original image remains intact, giving you the freedom to experiment and make changes as needed.

Step 2: Select the Overlay

Now comes the fun part! Choose the overlay you want to apply to your image. There are countless resources available online where you can find free or premium overlays tailored to different styles and themes. At Summerana, we offer a wide range of high-quality overlays that cater to various photography genres and aesthetics. Browse through our extensive collection to find the perfect overlay that suits your vision.

Step 3: Apply the Overlay

Once you have selected the overlay, it's time to apply it to your image. To do this, simply drag and drop the overlay file into your Photoshop workspace. The overlay will appear as a new layer above your original image. Position and resize the overlay according to your preference, using the transform tools available in Photoshop. Play around with different blending modes, such as Overlay, Screen, or Soft Light, to achieve the desired effect.

Step 4: Refine and Customize

Now that you have applied the overlay, you can further refine and customize the look of your image. Experiment with adjusting the opacity of the overlay layer to control its intensity. To make your overlay blend seamlessly with the background, consider using layer masks to erase unwanted portions or apply selective adjustments. This will give you precise control over where the overlay is visible and where it fades away.

Step 5: Final Touches and Exporting

Once you are satisfied with the overall look of your image and the applied overlay, it's time for some final touches. Fine-tune the colors, contrast, and any other adjustments you feel are necessary to make your image truly pop. When you're ready, save your edited image in a suitable format, such as JPEG or PNG, preserving the highest possible quality.


Congratulations! You have now learned how to create stunning overlays in Photoshop. With the power of overlays at your fingertips, you can elevate your photography and unleash your creativity like never before. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't hesitate to experiment with different overlays and techniques until you find the perfect combination that suits your style. At Summerana, we are here to inspire and empower photographers and creatives, providing you with the tools you need to turn your visions into reality.

Start Creating Captivating Overlays Today!

Visit to explore our extensive collection of high-quality overlays and discover endless possibilities for your photography. Join our vibrant community and take your creativity to new heights with Summerana!

how to do an overlay in photoshop
Kaspar Haffner
That sounds amazing! I've always wanted to learn how to create overlays in Photoshop. 📸💫
Nov 7, 2023
Pete Plocharczyk
This step-by-step guide on creating overlays in Photoshop is a game-changer for photographers and creatives. Can't wait to try it out!
Oct 29, 2023