Photoshop users have a simpler workflow when it comes to creating templates with clipping masks -- the clipping mask can be built right into the template. Once you have created the clipping mask, you right-click on the "Place Your Image Here" layer, select "Replace Contents", locate/select the image you want to add to your template. Your image will come in as a Smart Object automatically clipped to the shape layer underneath it. (You may need to use Free Transform for the image to fit.)
Unfortunately, Elements offers limited support for Smart Objects and the above workflow is not feasible. Fortunately, there is a workaround which will simplify your workflow by eliminating the extra step of having to create a clipping mask every time you use that template.
1. Create a new layer above the shape layer. 2. Clip this new layer to the shape layer underneath (Ctrl-G/Cmmd-G). 3. Save your template as either .psd or .tiff. (as both formats support layers.)
NOTE: Starting with Elements 15, the shortcut is Alt-Ctrl-G/Opt-Cmmd-G.
Now you can forget about creating a clipping mask whenever you use that template. All you have to do is File>Place your image into the blank layer. Elements knows what to do next; it will automatically clip your image to the shape layer.
To enhance this workflow, . . .
- Rename the blank layer "Place Your Image Here". - Color code this layer (PSE 15 and above).
Photoshop Elements 7; Photoshop Elements 10 and above Photoshop 2020 & Lightroom Classic 9.2 Windows 10 Pro