It is possible to make a collage manually and its quite easy.
Click File >> Open and select all of your photos
That will add them to the project bin
Then select File >> New >> Blank File
Select background color White (or whatever you prefer) and add your width and height for your final image (set resolution 72 for web usage or 240 to 300 for printing) then click OK
In the photo bin click your first photo and drag it into the main window on top of your new background.
Click on the move tool and click in the center of the photo and drag to arrange it where you want on the background - you can hold down the shift key to maintain original proportions whilst dragging the corner handles of the bounding box to get the size you want.
Do the same with the next photo (drag it up into the main window) and use the move tool to position it. Then continue with each image.
Finally Click Layer >>Flatten image and save as jpeg. (Save as PSD if you want to preserve the layers for editing again)
N.B. as you add images they get dropped in the center. So you need to use the move tool to drag them apart. Click in the middle of one and move it around, and then the others until you get them positioned as you want.
Thanks, 99jon for that amazingly fast reply.
But doesn't that just create one new collage? And not something reusable where I just drag and drop my photos in? That's what I really love with the supplied templates: something you can use as-is in a few minutes, but also have the chance to modify.
If you save the original file and then do a save as each time you use it, it will function like a template, although not accessible through Create.
Save as PSD and that will preserve the layers. You can also turn on rulers and drag out guides so that photos snap into place.
I'll try tomorrow and let you know!
I tried and it was really easy to get the size, background, pictures and layer styles as I wanted them.
But I didn't find a way to make it a kind of template: fixed size/positions, and new photos can be dropped in. Comparing the originally supplied collage with mine, I see one difference. Right clicking on a layer I can select to duplicate it. My one created says "duplicate layer" the original says "duplicate frame layer".
So, how to create a frame layer? Or something that behaves comparably. I think I am quite close to where I want, but stuck again.
Thanks again so much for your help!