Angela, a lover of photography and the beauty it creates, has taken courses and read many books to help with this artform.
Often we fall in love with our photos, but there is a part of the picture that keeps our good photo from becoming an excellent photo. Something snuck its way into the lens. Maybe it's a little bit of someone's elbow, or a zit, or perhaps even an outlet on your wall that detracts from the overall value of the photograph. In the example above, it is this sign. I looked at this picture, and I thought, what beauty. If only that sign weren't there. Oh wait, I can do something about it, and well, I did use PhotoShop Element's clone stamp.
PhotoShop Element is a great tool that does not cost a lot of money but gives excellent capabilities such as deleting unwanted items in a photo, as well as just spicing up a photo giving it a more professional quality. In this case, we are going to use the clone stamp.
Starting the Fun!
If you look to the right, you will see mine before and after shots. The first one is what it looked like, fresh out of the camera, whereas the second one has been tweaked only using PhotoShop Elements. I have a blown-up version at the bottom so that you can see them closer up further down on the screen. You will see that I did more than edit the sign-out. I enhanced color, brightened the photo, added contrast, and put it through the works with just a few easy steps. This whole process took me less than five minutes.
Here I will walk you through each step as I did it. If you need further clarification, please feel free to ask me. If you haven't had the luxury of working with PhotoShop, I strongly recommend it. Here is a prime example of why. It turned what I felt was a good photo that my husband could be proud of (yes, he took that photo), to an amazingly beautiful shot, showing nature in all its glory.
Step One: Do Quick Editing
The first thing I always do with any photo is to pull up the Quick Edit screen. You can get there by going to the right-hand side of PhotoShop Elements and click on Edit and the Quick button. You can see what it looks like to the right here.
From there, I will click on auto for each section. If I like the changes, I keep it, if I don't, I either adjust the bar myself or undo the action. Usually, I like smart fix, lighting levels, and lighting contrast. I'm not generally thrilled with the color changes, although it is a good starting ground. I also usually do sharpen at the end of the project, although I skipped that step in this project.
Once I do the Quick Edit, I click back on full, and begin the artistic work, which makes PhotoShop Elements so fun!
Step Two: Click on Clone Stamp
With this project, I wanted to get rid of that sign, and I knew the best way to do that would be by using the clone stamper. It will be located on the left-hand side of your screen and looks like a hand stamp.
Select Starting Point
Step Three: Press ALT and Select Your Starting Point
Once you press it, you need to take a look at how you want that section to look. I had a couple of choices; I could have gone with a more vacant appearance, or I could have filled out the tree more. I decided I wanted to expand the presence of the tree; therefore, after clicking on the clone stamp, I took my mouse and pressed ALT then click a section of the tree that was about two inches away from the sign in the tree. By pressing ALT, it tells the computer this is how I want my starting point to look.
Keep in mind that when you guide your cursor down, it will clone right under what you select. For instance, if you were to do this particular section, you would want to avoid clicking right above the sign, because then you would be merely moving the sign down once you started cloning the rest of the area. Nor would you want to click on a section too close to the left of the sign, because again you would moving the sign just directionally. I figure you want to click about as far away from your object as the object you want to disappear.
Use Clone Button
Step Four: Clone
Once you have selected what you want that area to look like, release the Alt button and click on the object itself. Then scroll over this area and let your cursor do the painting. This part is tricky, because you may have to go back to step three if you are not pleased with the original look. I know with this one, I had to ALT select three different times.
If you spend enough time on it, you can make a complete flawless transition. I feel I did not do a perfect job on this tree, for there is a "blurry spot" on the picture. Although if someone did not know that I had taken a figure out of that spot, they might have dismissed that blurry spot as a small movement of the branches.
Step Five: Finish Up
Once I got the tree to look to the point that I was pleased, I then decided to finish the project. If you are happy with your photo at this time, then save it and print. Some people always will go back to sharpen this picture in quick mode.
In this photo, I chose to enhance the color even more than just in quick mode. I ended up deciding to make a high contrast on this photo through the full menu, which I did by using the smart brush tool on the left-hand toolbar. It is next to the pencil. I then used the drop-down menu click on high contrast. I flattened the image and then used the smart brush tool again, but this time decided to use Cloud contrast. I highlighted the whole picture because I knew it would lighten the image as well. Although, in some cases, I would only highlight the sky.
Once finished, I saved and showed it off to my husband. He approved of the changes I made to his photo, so we were both pleased.
Before and After
More Ways You Can Use the Clone Tool
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz
Emma pius on May 09, 2020:
taylor on February 01, 2013:
wow! thank you so much. I am learning about PS little by little and it amazes me each time.
Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on February 19, 2012:
Yes it does, hopefully it worked even better for you!
tanvi on February 15, 2012:
wow!ya it worked....thankz a lot.....:)
Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 29, 2011:
Thank you htodd.
Lisa it takes some time to figure it out. You may just need to do a little more testing.
Lisa on September 26, 2011:
I have Photoshop element 9 n this does not work. I am trying to take my moms arm out of a picture of my daughter
htodd from United States on September 03, 2011:
This is really great post..Nice
Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on June 10, 2010:
I'm so glad to be of assistance! I'm so glad!
Margie on June 10, 2010:
Just what I have been looking for, thank you so much.
Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on May 20, 2010:
That is really true. Actually, this one I tried putting on a site, and it was denied in it's original form, once I edited out the sign and brightened the colors, they accepted it.
Springboard from Wisconsin on May 19, 2010:
Wow. Didn't know much about Photoshop (I'm slow on stuff like that, lol). I'm intrigued to try it out—especially because more and more photography becomes an important part of hubbing, and the more original and detailed the photos...well, it's just better.
Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on May 05, 2010:
Thank you very much!
SakiSan from Kansas, United States on May 05, 2010:
Very nice job!