Picnik has become my favorite program for creating banners to use in websites and my Blackboard course sites. Here's an example of a banner I created for a course on Blackboard:
To create a banner using Picnik, follow these steps:
1. In the opening page of Picnik, select COLLAGE (third option). (Note: You have to sign up in order to have access to Collage. Membership is free.)
2. Select the basic frame with four squares.
3. Drag and drop photos from your photo basket.
4. Play with spacing, proportions, kookiness, columns and rows. Move the sliders and see what happens when you do!
5. You can change the color of your frame by clicking on the color box. A dropper will appear and you can choose any color within the palette or even within your pictures.
6. When you're happy with your banner, click DONE.
7. Give it some time to process. Then you will have the opportunity to edit your photo.
8. You may want to soften the picture (by increasing exposure) and add text. In this case, I added text three times so I can create a yellow and light blue shadow for the text.