How to Make Perfect Photo Templates on Zazzle

How to Make the Perfect Photo Templates on Zazzle Article by Jen Clarke Gold ProDesigner on Zazzle

Making the perfect photo templates on Zazzle increases your credibility as a designer, and has a positive affect on your sales. Designing on Zazzle for the holiday season is upon us. I am sure you are inspired to make some amazing designs. However, you might be asking yourself; How do I make awesome and fool proof cut out photo templates for Zazzle products? You are not alone! Many designers have come to us with this question. I have a very simple and easy to use solution. Once you learn it, you will be creating professional looking templates from now on!

How to Make the Perfect Photo Templates on Zazzle

How to Make the Perfect Photo Templates on Zazzle Article by Jen Clarke Gold ProDesigner on Zazzle

Photo templates can be used on many products for many different occasions and holidays on Zazzle. However, during the Christmas holiday season customers go crazy buying that special photo card to send out to friends and family. They also buy other photo template items such as ornaments, postage, mugs, calendars and more as unique gifts for the holiday season. If you have never made a photo template product in your Zazzle store or your templates are not set up properly, you are loosing out on huge sales opportunities. Read on to find out how you can profit from photo templates.

Learn How to Properly Make Photo Template Holiday Cards

In order to profit from the holiday shopping frenzy as a Zazzle designer, you need to know how to perfectly craft the holiday photo card template! You want your customers to easily customize your photo template product so that they don’t have any issues and will end up buying your design.

Please watch my short video, where I explain how to create my photo card design in Photoshop and show you the key elements you need to consider when posting your design for sale on Zazzle.

What Did You Learn in The Video?

Easily Creating Your Photo Templates in Photoshop

There are a couple different ways that you can create a great cut out photo template in Photoshop. Use whichever way works best for you. You can create ‘frames’ using shapes, or you can cut out shapes using the select tool.

Make sure you use the ruler to be sure your frames are positioned properly and are the same size. Customers will be frustrated when they receive their products and realized the picture is not centered or proportioned properly.

Using the Right Image Sizes and Orientations

While creating your template in Photoshop, be sure to make your frames according to the normal size ratio for images. Use the ratio size of a typical photo people take on their phone or camera, such as 5″ x 7″ for vertical images and 7″x 5″ for horizontal. That means your design can have openings with size increments of these ratios like 5″ x 7″, 2.5″ x 3.5″ or 10″ x 14″.

You can also use a square format for variation in shapes on your photo design area if using multiple photo “openings” on your template design.

What to Do for Irregular Shapes

If you are going to play around with other shapes such as circles or hearts, make sure your design takes into account how the square or 5″ x 7″ ratio photo would fit in behind the opening. Consider how you place the photo in your design to give enough room for where the subject would typically be located in a normal photo of a customer.

Also with irregular shapes, like a heart for example, create the heart shape frame to properly fit a horizontal or vertical photo. Then make sure you use that orientation of photo as your “sample” or “placeholder” photo in your template field when posting your Zazzle product.

Applying the ‘Fill’ Option in the Template Settings

Make each of your photos a template, by selecting your image and then  click on the ‘more’ tab in the product design tool. You will be able to choose “Make this a template”. Then you will see three options appear for image templates; ‘fit’, ‘fill’ and ‘none’.

Make sure you select ‘fill’.

When customers add their photo to your existing photo template in your design, their photo will fill the exact same space as your original template photo you placed in your design. This ensures that their photo, when inserted into your product, will not interfere with any other aspect of your design. It will be as you originally designed it.

For example, if you had three vertical photos on a horizontal card, these photos will not overlap. Or, if you had your photos placed in three square frames as a collage, they will appear as your original product had them.

Use the Correct Size Photos as Placeholder or Sample Images

You correctly have set up the template areas on your design. Then you chose all the correct settings on the template selection menu for each photo in your design. But now you have 2 more steps to take to ensure success.

  1. Use the correct size and ratio for your placeholder image (sample photo).
  2. Choose a photo that has the subject placed properly at full size

These two points are super important to remember. If you have a 5″ x 7″ opening on your design, for a photo, then use a 5″ x 7″ sample photo.

It may seem obvious to do this, but here is an example of what often happens.

You use the correct size photo, but then when you add your photo onto your design on the Zazzle design tool, you notice the subject may be off center or too far away to make it look good on your design.

You decide to move the photo around on the design tool or enlarge it to make the photo image to look more appealing on the final product.


It may look good on your design, but it will create many problems for your customer when they add their own photo.

Many customers will be shopping on mobile devices and uploading their photos from mobile.

So even though the Zazzle mobile version of the design tool will be more functional with Zazzle’s recent updates, it will still be harder for the customer to set their photos onto your design, if you have not done it correctly.

Upload Sample Photos Correctly Sized and Already Cropped

Rather than adjusting your sample photos on the Zazzle design tool, use a photo re-sizing program like Photoshop to crop and adjust the look of your photo BEFORE uploading your placeholder photos on Zazzle.

That way your correctly sized and proportioned sample photo will fit exactly in the area you designated for it in your design.

Then when your customer uploads their photo it will “fill” the exact size of the “cut out frame” on your design. It won’t “overlap” other photo elements or be unintentionally “zoomed in”.

Maximize Your Holiday Photo Card Sales

Your customer will be happy and buy more easily when there are no problems when using your photo templates on your holiday card design.

You will be happy when you make a sale.

Selling photo holiday cards can be quite profitable, so I want you to not only take advantage of this opportunity, but ensure you do it correctly for maximum results.

Now You Can Apply What You Learned to Any Other Photo Template Design

It is time to expand and apply what you just learned to other Zazzle products that you want to design with photo templates.

You have done all the hard work. You made your Photoshop template to define where your photos go on the design. The sample photos are all sized properly. Now add your design to other items with the same ratio proportions.

Make a New Photo Template if the Zazzle Product Design Area Has Different Proportions

If the proportions are not the same on other items you want to post, create a new template in Photoshop. Do not try and resize your template design to fit a different proportion ratio design area on a different Zazzle product.



Have you struggled with designing photo templates?


Did you know you have to choose the correct settings for your photo templates so customers’ photos will fit in properly on your designs?

Have you started making your Christmas and holiday cards?

I would love to hear from you.

Write your comments below.


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  • DC

    September 26, 2017


    Just wanted to know how you can fill an entire product with a design. I want the whole design to show on the entire product like a bag or blanket, not just on a limited section of the product.

    Thank you.

  • Kathie M

    September 27, 2017

    This has been very informative and helped me alot. How do you load your sample images if the image is to be at an angle and not perfectly square to the card? Do you load it at the angle it’s to be on the finished design, or do you load the photo in the straight, then turn it in Zazzle?

  • Kathie M

    September 27, 2017

    Oh, sorry forgot to include my second question. If the angled photo is overlaping another photo a little, how do I load the photo underneath? Do I make sure the overlaped area is removed or do I load both images as full images. I hope I’m making sense here.

  • Billie keeslar

    September 27, 2017

    Love the article and the video but unfortunately I do not have photo shop. Can we adapt this process to any other programs such as pixlr?

  • admin


    September 28, 2017

    Hi Kathie. You upload it straight and then turn it using the rotate option in the design tool

  • admin


    September 28, 2017

    Make sure your images are only as big as the area just underneath the opening for each frame. Then set your template option for the photo to “fill”. That way the customers photo will only fit in that area too. If your sample photos overlap your customers will too. You can make one layer go below another so your overlapping photo is in “behind” your other one but I don’t recommend it

  • admin


    September 28, 2017

    You can only have an image or graphic fill the entire area of a product if it is a “Print all over” option on Zazzle. Not all products have that option, but some do. Just look in the product creation menu under the type of item you want to make and look through the options to see if one or more of the products allow you to do the print all over option

  • admin


    September 28, 2017

    Hi Billie
    If you have any sort of graphics program that allows you to create layers then you can use this technique. I am not a Pixlr user so I can not comment on this.

    If you can you can also do the same actions done in photoshop right on Zazzle. Create your rectangular blocks in a graphics program and then upload to Zazzle and use to create the layers in the Zazzle design tool. Then lock the image layers which were used to make the frame so the customer can not change the layout.

  • Judith

    September 28, 2017

    At last! Thank you so much. I’ve been trying to figure out this template thing for over a year. I knew how to make the Photoshop templates. But the missing piece for me was understanding that the template on Zazzle is actually the photos themselves, not the Photoshop template. So basically I was doing it backwards all this time. No wonder I couldn’t get it to work. One other thing that I think seems obvious but may not be for people just getting started…you want to make sure in the “Layer Order” box to select “Move layer backward” when placing the template photos.
    Thanks, Jen. This is an answer to a prayer!

  • admin


    September 28, 2017

    You are welcome, Judith

  • Tanya

    October 4, 2017

    Hi, just wanted to pop in and say how helpful this is. I’ve been doing more frames and photo template cards this year, and this showed me a few mistakes I am making in setting up the photo templates in Zazzle. I will definitely be using this guide as a check list for my next photo template designs – thanks again! 🙂

  • admin


    October 5, 2017

    Hi Tanya! I am very glad this this was helpful to you. Making the cut out frames can seem tricky, but it is quite easy! Thanks for your comment!

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