How to Add Borders to Images for a Professional Touch

How to Add Borders to Images for a Professional Touch

Borders in photos offer a versatile technique with limitless creative potential, enhancing the aesthetic appeal and providing a professional touch. They improve the visual attractiveness of an image by creating a distinct frame, drawing attention to the subject, and contributing to a sleek, professional appearance. Strategically utilizing borders can establish focus, balance, and harmony within the composition. This blog post addresses the steps and techniques applied to add borders to images for a professional touch.


Step 1: Selecting the Right Image Editing Software:


The first step in adding borders to images is selecting the right editing software that suits your needs and skill level. There are several options available, ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced. Adobe Photoshop is a popular option among professionals, offering many tools and capabilities. GIMP is a free and open-source alternative with similar features to Photoshop. Canva is a user-friendly online platform that simplifies the editing process and provides pre-designed border templates. Pixlr is another web-based editing tool that offers both basic and advanced features. Consider your budget, level of expertise, and desired features when choosing the software that best suits your needs for adding borders to images.


Step 2: Opening the Image in the Software:


Once you have selected the image editing software that suits your needs, the next step is to open the image you want to add a border to. Launch the software and navigate the “File” menu or toolbar option. Select “Open” or “Import” to browse your computer’s files and locate the image you wish to work with. Alternatively, drag and drop the image directly into the software’s workspace.


After you have selected the image, it will appear in the editing window or canvas of the software. You can zoom in or out to view the image better and navigate around the canvas if needed. Opening the image sets the stage for adding borders and customizing them to suit your preferences.


Step 3: Creating a New Layer:


It’s important to work on a new layer to add a border to your image without affecting the original content. Layers allow you to make edits independently and non-destructively. Here’s how to create a new layer:


Locate the “Layers” panel or menu in your image editing software. It’s typically found in the toolbar or as a separate tab/window.


Look for an option such as “New Layer” or “Create Layer.” Click on it to generate a new layer.


Give the layer a descriptive name, such as “Border Layer,” to identify its purpose easily.


Ensure that the new layer is positioned above the original image layer. You can rearrange the layer order by dragging and dropping layers in the layers panel.


Creating a new layer gives you a dedicated space to add and customize the border without permanently changing the underlying image. This way, you can easily modify or remove the border later.


Step 4: Adjusting the Canvas Size:


Adjusting the canvas size is necessary to create space for the border around the image. Follow these steps to resize the canvas:


Locate the “Image” menu or toolbar option in your image editing software.


Look for the “Canvas Size” or “Resize Canvas” option and click on it.


A dialogue box will appear, displaying the current dimensions of the canvas. Increase both the width and height to accommodate the desired border size. Ensure that the dimensions are proportional to maintain the image’s aspect ratio.


Some software allows you to choose the anchor point, determining where the image will be positioned within the resized canvas. Select an anchor point that aligns with your aesthetic preferences.


Click “OK” or a similar confirmation button to apply the changes and resize the canvas.


By adjusting the canvas size, you create a larger working area that includes the image and additional space for the border, providing you with the necessary room to design and customize the border according to your vision.


Step 5: Selecting the Border Color:


Choosing the right border colour is important in adding a professional touch to your image. Here’s how you can select the border colour:


Locate the colour palette or colour picker tool in your image editing software.


If you have a specific colour in mind, you can manually enter its hexadecimal code or select it from the palette.


Alternatively, you can sample a colour from the image to create a border that harmonizes with the existing colours. Most software provides an eyedropper tool for this purpose.


When choosing a border colour, keep the overall tone and mood of the image in mind. For a subtle and complementary effect, choose a colour that complements the dominant hues in the image. Alternatively, you can choose a contrasting colour to make the border stand out more prominently.


Once you have chosen the border colour, select it and proceed to the next step of adding the border to your image.


By carefully selecting the border colour, you can enhance the visual appeal of your image and create a cohesive and professional look.


Step 6: Drawing the Border:


Now that you have selected the border colour, it’s time to draw the border on the new layer you created. Follow these steps to draw the border:


Select the appropriate drawing or shape tool from the toolbar. Common options include the rectangle, square, or shape tool.


Set the tool options, such as the stroke size, brush type, or shape properties, depending on your software.


Position the cursor at one corner of the image and click and drag to create the border shape. Ensure that the shape encloses the image and defines the desired border width.


Hold the Shift key while drawing to constrain the shape’s proportions if you prefer a symmetrical border.


Continue refining the shape until you achieve the desired border size and shape. You can use the software’s alignment and adjustment tools to fine-tune the position and dimensions of the border.


Drawing the border allows you to visually separate the image from the surrounding space and create a distinct frame. Experiment with different shapes and sizes to find the style that best complements your image and enhances its visual impact.


Step 7: Styling the Border:


You can apply various styles and effects to give your border a professional touch and make it visually appealing. Here’s how you can style the border:


Select the border layer in your image editing software.


Locate the options or properties panel related to styling and effects.


Experiment with options such as stroke, opacity, gradient, texture, or shadow to enhance the border’s appearance.


Apply a stroke to the border to give it a defined outline. Adjust the stroke size, colour, and style to suit your preferences.


Modify the opacity of the border layer to create a transparent or semi-transparent effect if desired.


Explore gradients to add depth and dimension to the border. Choose a gradient style that complements your image.


Consider applying textures or patterns to the border for a unique and artistic look.


Experiment with drop shadows or other effects to create depth and highlight the border.


By applying various styles and effects, you can customize the border to match the aesthetic of your image and create a polished, professional look. Take your time to play around with different options and find the combination that best enhances your image.


Step 8: Refining the Border:


After applying the initial styles and effects to your border, refining and fine-tuning it is important to ensure it complements your image seamlessly. Follow these steps to refine the border:


Select the border layer in your image editing software.


Use the editing tools provided, such as move, resize, or transform, to adjust the border’s position, size, and proportions.


Pay attention to details and ensure the border appropriately aligns with the image’s edges.


Experiment with different blending modes to see how the border interacts with the image. That can help achieve unique visual effects.


Zoom in to check for any inconsistencies or imperfections in the border and make necessary adjustments.


Preview the image at different zoom levels to ensure the border looks consistent and visually pleasing.


By refining the border, you can achieve a polished and professional result. Take the time to carefully review and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the border seamlessly enhances your image without distracting from its main subject.


Step 9: Saving and Exporting the Image:


Once you are satisfied with the border and have completed the necessary refinements, it’s time to save and export your final image. Follow these steps to ensure a proper saving process:


Go to the “File” menu in your image editing software.


Click the “Save” or “Save As” option to save the edited image.


Select the desired file format for your image, such as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF.


Choose the location where you wish to save the image on your computer and provide a descriptive file name.


Adjust any additional settings, such as image quality or compression, depending on the file format and your preferences.


Click “Save” to save the image with the border applied.


It’s a good practice to save a high-resolution version of the image for future use or printing purposes. Additionally, if you plan to use the image online, consider saving a web-optimized version to ensure faster loading times and optimal file size.




To sum up, adding borders to an image is a valuable factor that can significantly enhance the quality of your visual content. This potent technique can be advantageous in various scenarios, such as blog posts, social media graphics, websites, and personal portfolios. Continue practising with different border styles and honing your skills. Ultimately, you’ll develop a strong eye for design and composition quickly.


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