Photoshop Elements: How To Remove an Unwanted Object like A Zit, An Ex, or Other Unwanted Item From a Photo or Picture

Notice the sign in the right hand sign, and how sparse the tree is over there. Also this image is much darker.
Notice the sign in the right hand sign, and how sparse the tree is over there. Also this image is much darker. | Source
This one has much more light and seems much more nature centered without having a distracting sign in the way.
This one has much more light and seems much more nature centered without having a distracting sign in the way. | Source

Often times we fall in love with our photos, but there is a part of the photo that keeps our good photo from becoming an awesome photo. Something snuck its way into the lens. Maybe it's a little bit of someones elbow, or a zit, or maybe 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 wasn't there. Oh wait, I can do something about it, and well I did using PhotoShop Element's clone stamp.

PhotoShop Element is a great tool, that does not cost a lot of money, but gives great capabilities such as deleting unwanted items in a photo, as well as just spicing up your picture giving a more professional quality. In this case we are going to use the clone stamp.

Quick Editing

Source

Starting the Fun!

If you look to the right, you will see my 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 Photo Shop Elements. I have a blown up version at the bottom, so you can see them closer up further down on the screen. You will see that I did more than just edit the sign out. I enhanced color, brightened the photo, added contrast, and basically 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 Photo Shop, I strongly recommend it. Here is a prime example why. It turned what I felt was a good photo that my husband could be proud of (yes, he took that photo), to a shot that is amazingly beautiful, showing nature in all its glory.

Step One: Do Quick Editing

The first thing I always do with any photo is pull up the Quick Edit screen. You can get there, by going to the right hand side of Photo Shop 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 usually 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 Photo Shop 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

Click on an area that is next to the object you want to disappear, that would match the area you want to replace the unwanted object.
Click on an area that is next to the object you want to disappear, that would match the area you want to replace the unwanted object. | Source

Step Three: Press ALT and Select Your Starting Point

One you press it, you need to take a look at what you want that section to look at. I had a couple 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 appearance of the tree; therefore, after clicking on the clone stamp, I took my mouse and pressed ALT then clicked 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 what I want my starting point to look like.

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 make disappear.

Use Clone Button

Press clone button and scroll over the area you want to disappear.
Press clone button and scroll over the area you want to disappear. | Source

Step Four: Clone

Once you have selected what you want that area to look like, release the alt button and just plain click on the object itself. Then just 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 at 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 actually make a complete flawless transition. Personally, 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 may have dismissed that blurry spot as mere movement of the branches.


Finish Up

Enhance Color
Enhance Color | Source

Step Five: Finish Up

Once I got the tree to look to a point that I was pleased, I then decided to finish the project. If you are happy with your photo at this time, then just save it and print. Some people always will go back to sharpen this picture in quick mode.

On this photo I chose to enhance the color even more than just in quick mode. I ended up choosing 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, which is placed next to the pencil. I then used the drop down menu clicked on high contrast. I flattened the image and then used the smart brush tool again, but this time decided to use Cloud contrast. I actually highlighted the whole picture, because I knew it would lighten the picture as well. Although in some cases I would only highlight the sky.

Once I was done 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

Note the red sign on the far right.
Note the red sign on the far right. | Source
Note the missing sign, and brighter color.
Note the missing sign, and brighter color. | Source

More Ways You Can Use the Clone Tool

Photography Magazines

Photoshop Element Products

© 2010 Angela Michelle

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Comments 12 comments

taylor 3 years ago

wow! thank you so much. I am learning about PS little by little and it amazes me each time.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Yes it does, hopefully it worked even better for you!


tanvi 4 years ago

wow!ya it worked....thankz a lot.....:)


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you htodd.

Lisa it takes some time to figure it out. You may just need to do a little more testing.


Lisa 5 years ago

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 profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

This is really great post..Nice


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

I'm so glad to be of assistance! I'm so glad!


Margie 6 years ago

Just what I have been looking for, thank you so much.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

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.


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Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

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.

Thanks.


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you very much!


SakiSan profile image

SakiSan 6 years ago from Kansas, United States

Very nice job!

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