How to Overlay Text on Photos in Adobe Photoshop

Updated on February 19, 2020

Beautiful Photograhs With Inspirational Sayings

Have you ever seen those beautiful photographs with even more beautiful quotes and sayings incorporated into them? The all-to-famous kitten hanging on to to a tree limb with one claw and the inspirational saying “hang on” set on the image. Well, it is a very simple process when using Adobe Photoshop that will only take a few minutes. Sometimes this can be the solution for a boring cast away photo to be transformed into something interesting.

Choose a saying or quote that works well with the photo that you choose.
Choose a saying or quote that works well with the photo that you choose. | Source

Choose a Photo That Goes Well With Your Quote

First, you need to choose a photo that you want to work with and figure out what you want the text to say. For this example, I have chosen a photo that I have manipulated to highlight the butterfly in color while the rest of the photograph is a desaturated black and white. This is also a very beautiful butterfly that has some damage to its wings, but is still incredibly beautiful. I have chosen to add the very simple words “be different” to this photo.

Select Your Text Tool

Select your text tool in your tool window—it is the tool that is labeled with the letter “T”. Click anywhere on your image, don't worry you can change the placement later. Type the word that you want to start with, in this example the first word is “be”. Now you can choose what font you would like the word to be keeping in mind that fonts are a lot like art in themselves. For something like this, I will be choosing a delicate font because the butterfly is very delicate.

Choose the text tool in Adobe Photoshop
Choose the text tool in Adobe Photoshop | Source
Choose a font that matches both your photo as well as the quote.
Choose a font that matches both your photo as well as the quote.

Using your curser tool, select all of the fonts and choose a font of your liking. Once you have chosen your font choose your curser tool again (the black arrow). Instead of being any color or just black I want the color of the text to match the blue in the wings of the butterfly. To do this I will be using the eyedropper (color picker) tool.

The eyedropper (color picker) tool is labeled with an image that looks like an eye dropper. Once you have selected the tool click on the color that you want to match. You will see It appear automatically in your main color swatch selected in your tool menu. Select the text that you want to match the color, and click on the color swatch in your main tool menu. The main tool menu is where you also found your text tool and the eye dropper tool. Once you click on the color you will see the color of the text that you selected change.

Changing the opacity can make the text more subtle or gentle.
Changing the opacity can make the text more subtle or gentle.

I also want to change the opacity of this word so that it does not stand out as much as the other word. When you created the new text on the photo, Adobe Photoshop automatically created a new layer for you. To view your layers you can go to “window” → “layers”. You will see a layer named with the text that you typed, in my case the word “be”. Make sure that you are using the curser tool (black arrow) and look at the top of the layer menu. You will see the word “opacity”. When you click on it the program will prompt a slider. You can slide it back and forth until you get the look you want. The lower the number the lower the opacity and the more transparent the text will be on your image. Follow these steps for the rest of the image. I added “different” in the blue color but left it full 100% opacity.

Save As A .PSD to Edit Later

If you want to save the document so that you can edit the text later you will need to save as a .psd. This is a good idea if you know that you want to use the same settings but for different words, or even copy and paste these words to another document. When you copy and paste it to another image the opacity and color setting will stay with the text. Then, go to to “Layer”-> “flatten image”. This will compress the image and you are now able to save it as a .jpg.

Saving as a .PSD will allow you to save the image with the layers in tact. This way you can go back and edit specific layers.
Saving as a .PSD will allow you to save the image with the layers in tact. This way you can go back and edit specific layers.

Want to Know How I Pulled Out the Color in the Butterfly Image?

If you want to learn more about how I made the butterfly color and background black and white check out this article.

There are several tricks to photo processing and sometimes you need to batch process a large amount of photos. Actions can come in handy for this as well as savings settings for you.

The photo that I used in this article was taken at a butterfly conservatory in Massachusetts. These educational places are great to work on your lighting techniques as well as practice macro shooting.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 dappledesigns


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    • JohanaPS profile image


      15 months ago

      Highlighted text looks also great on photos. You can try this action:

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      8 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi there, very informative Hub! Also beautiful. I mean to install Photoshop eventually, but am still struggling with other, more basic aspects of computer work. Also, I need to start taking photos, that is enough challenge for the moment. But I will certainly come back to this article when I!m ready. Very clear, you made it look really easy! Happy Hubbing!


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