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How to Align an Image Across Two Template Pages in Photoshop and PSE

When you are working on a double-page template like some of Katie Pertiet's Side by Side Layered Template Sets, you'll occasionally want to use one photo which spans the gap between the pages. It can be tricky to line up the photo so that each side matches exactly. Here's a strategy for perfectly aligning the photo between the two sides of the template:

Begin by opening Photoshop or Elements.
Select File > New or press Ctrl N (Mac: Cmd N) on the keyboard and create a 24x12-inch document at 300 pixels per inch.

Open both sides of the template. Choose Window > Arrange > Float All in Windows from the menu bar so that you can see all three of the documents at once.

Select the document that contains the left side of the template. From the menu bar, choose Image > Trim. Tick all of the "trim away" boxes to delete all parts of the image outside of the square canvas.
Click the top layer of the template, then hold the Shift key as you click the bottom layer. This selects all layers of the template. Drag the selected layers directly from the Layers panel onto the 24x12-inch document.
With all the layers still selected, drag them to the left, aligning them with the left side of the document.

Repeat with the right side of the template, aligning the layers with the right side of the new document.

Select one of the photo placeholders that spans the gap in the page.
Open a large photo. Use the Move tool to drag the photo onto your document and position it above the photo placeholder so that it spans the page. Drag it to position it where you'd like it to be placed, paying attention to both sides of the page.
Press Alt Ctrl G (Mac: Opt Cmd G) to clip the placeholder to the photo. (In older versions of Elements, choose Ctrl G or Cmd G.)
This causes the photo to take on the shape of the placeholder. Now you’ll see only a portion of the photo.

Next, copy the photo by selecting it and pressing Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard.

Drag the photo copy up or down the layers panel until it rests one position above the other side of the template, one position above the photo placeholder on that side.
Note: to make it easier to find, I select the photo placeholder and right-click on the left side of the layer to choose a color. This "marks" the layer so that it's easier to position the photo copy.
With the photo in place create a clipping mask by pressing Alt Ctrl G (Opt Cmd G) or Ctrl G/Cmd G in some versions of Elements.

Now your photo will be seamlessly positioned across the two pages.
At this point you can either finish embellishing the page or crop the page into two sides again and then finish embellishing.

To do this, get the Crop tool and choose 12x12 inches/ 300 pixels per inch in the Options bar.
Position the crop square on left side and press Enter on the keyboard.
Choose File > Save As and give the page a new name (like layout _left).
Undo the crop by pressing Alt Ctrl Z on the keyboard and repeat the process with the right side of the page.
Save it with a new name (like layout _right.)

Now you'll have two coordinating pages with a photo that runs across them and your photo will line up perfectly!
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