Composite Terminology

Modified on Wed, 31 Jan 2024 at 10:07 AM


A composite refers to an assembly of portrait images presented on a single sheet, usually formatted with labels under or next to the photos. Composites may be very simple (eg. a single elementary classroom) or very complex (eg. an organizational chart for military or service professionals).


Composite Frame

A composite frame  is an individual arrangement of portrait images into rows and columns, usually accompanied by text labels under each portrait. A composite grid is generated by using information in a database (index) to include portraits and place them in a particular order. A composite may include more than one grid/frame - for instance, to show divisions within a single organization.

Composites are created using portrait photos and an index file. An index is a database text file containing information about the people in the portraits, such as their names and their membership in particular groups (eg. classroom, department) and position (eg. job titles, ranks). 

Professional group portrait photographers use special software to link the portrait images to their data, usually by means of a bar code scanning system. Before a portrait photo is taken, the photographer will scan a bar code to associate a portrait with information about the person in the photo. This information is usually provided by the school or organization before photo day. The resulting database package can be exported for use in photo ordering & distribution systems, search/identification applications, and to generate group composites and yearbook portrait flows.

Composite Grid

Composite grids are created by specifying the arrangement of portraits into rows and columns and the order in which portraits should be placed. Usually this is accomplished using a combination of rank/hierarchy and alphabetical name ordering.


A knockout refers to an area within the composite grid that has been turned off, usually to make room for a photo, logo or text.

Feature Frame

A feature frame refers to one or more large portraits at the start of the composite grid. The person(s) in these portraits will usually have a higher rank/status than the other people in the group and this breaks the portraits usual alphabetical order (eg. a teacher portrait appears before her students).

Portrait Template

A portrait template refers to the layout of a single portrait, its label, and other graphic elements (eg. color blocks, logos, decorations).

A basic portrait template
A complex portrait template


Composite Styles

There are several styles of composites you can create in Memento Composites.

  • a standard group composite: members of the group are flowed alphabetically by last name, with little adjustment for roles or hierarchy. A classsroom composite is an example of this style.

  • an organizational composite: multiple composite frames on a single page to demonstrate sub-groups or hierarchy within a single organization. These complex composites are often used for military, police and other service groups, where persons of different ranks or divisions are organized in smaller groups on a single page.

  • a memory mate: an individual customized portrait is placed in a featured position, with the remaining group members in a standard portrait flow. A common example of this style is a team sport composite which highlights one player while displaying the remaining teammates in a standard grid.

  • A sports composite is a visual representation that highlights the achievements of an individual athlete by combining multiple photos of them in various sporting poses into a single image.

  • A certificate composite is a customized visual document that typically includes a student's graduation photo, along with essential details such as the year of graduation, school name, field of study, and any notable honors or distinctions achieved during their academic journey. It serves as a formal recognition of their educational accomplishments.

  • An ID card composite is a multifunctional visual (to be printed on a plastic card) featuring a student's photograph, a unique barcode for easy identification, essential personal information including date of birth, school name, grade level, and additional pertinent details. It serves as a comprehensive means of confirming an individual's identity and affiliation with an educational institution or organization.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article