How To Edit Photos In Photoshop Using The Clone Stamp Tool

In Part 1 of this six-part series, I talked about the first six tools in the Photoshop toolbar. I hope you’ve experimented using each of these tools, and are developing a comfort level with them. In this post, I’ll be covering the clone stamp. It gets its own post because it’s one of the most-used tools in Photoshop.  I know I’d be lost without it. Let’s get started with how to edit photos in Photoshop using the clone stamp tool.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Lighthouse on Island

Disclaimer: “This post contains affiliate links.”

Why Photoshop?

Photoshop is the premier editing program for creating and manipulating images. It’s a must-have among graphic designers, photographers, and web developers. The versatility of Photoshop is unmatched. So many editing and customization options are available, that at first glance, it can be quite overwhelming.

Once you get familiar with the tools and the interface, however it becomes a lot more user-friendly. If you didn’t read Part 1 of this post, you can refer to it here. Now let’s get acquainted with the clone stamp and pattern stamp tools.

Using The Clone Stamp

The “Clone Stamp Tool” is undoubtedly the most used tool in Photoshop. This holds true for me at least. The clone stamp tool lets you copy one area of your photo, duplicating it to be used in another area. It’s an indispensable tool that allows you to remove elements in your image, you no longer want, and replace them with elements you do want.

I have used the clone stamp hundreds of times to remove blemishes on people’s faces, to eliminate fly away hairs, to duplicate leaves on a tree, or to move distracting elements in the background of an image. There are so many different applications for the clone stamp. Here’s where you’ll find it:

The Clone Stamp Tool  - Clone Stamp in Photoshop

In the image below I want to remove the three people on the rocks as they don’t add to the image, and are distracting.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Lighthouse Starting Picture

To do this, I select the clone stamp, while holding the down the “Shift” key. Editing is much easier if you zoom in. On the horizontal bar above the toolbar, you’ll see these controls where you can customize the brush size and hardness, and lower the opacity. Incidentally, I always leave the “Mode” to normal for simple edits like this.

The Clone Stamp Tool  - Changing Opacity

For the picture below I used a small brush with a hardness of 46%. These settings will be different for each image so you just need to experiment with them until you get the result you want. Here’s what the brush drop down menu looks like:

brush dropdown in photoshop

You can also customize your brushes in the brush tool bar above the layers palette.

The Clone Stamp Tool  - Brush Tool Bar in Photoshop

Here’s what my photo looks like with the people removed. I think the image looks much better, and it took me all of 15 seconds to complete that task.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Lighthouse Picture with People Removed

 If you use Photoshop, the clone stamp will be your new best friend.

Watch the video tutorial below to see the clone stamp in action.

The Pattern Stamp Tool

I use the “Pattern Stamp Tool” to make a photograph look like a painting. It’s a great tool to create interesting textures and brush strokes, and these strokes can be subtle or bold.

Begin by going to “Edit” and “Define Pattern.

The Clone Stamp Tool  - Defining Pattern in Photoshop

You’ll see this screen where you can name your pattern. I’m naming mine “lighthouse.”

The Clone Stamp Tool - Pattern Name

Now select the pattern stamp tool, and go to the brush drop down menu and choose a brush.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Brushes

You’re going to need to fiddle around with the brush settings until you get the look you want. This will take some experimentation.

Alternatively, you can also import your own brushes if you have them. You’ll see this option by hovering over the little gear icon. Select “Import Brushes” to import brushes you’ve previously used.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Photoshop Brushes

Go to the upper toolbar and select the drop down menu to the left of “Aligned.” You’ll see these boxes:

The Clone Stamp Tool - Pattern Dropdown

Choose the picture that you already named. Mine is at the bottom. Keep both “Aligned” and “Impressionist” checked.

Now create a new layer by going to “Edit” and “New Layer.”

The Clone Stamp Tool - New Layer

Name this layer “Black” and set the opacity to 80%.

The Clone Stamp Tool - New Black Layer

Add another new layer and name it “Paint Layer.” Leave the opacity at 100%.

The Clone Stamp Tool - New Paint Layer

It’s now time to paint. Make sure that you are painting on your first layer. For me, it’s my “Lighthouse” layer.

The Clone Stamp Tool  - New Paint Layer

Choose a brush from the brush palette. This is the one I’m choosing.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Brush Settings

This is where it’s up to you to experiment with the brushes and the settings. You’re going to need to play around until you’re happy with the look. Change the “Opacity” and “Flow” in the upper tool bar as well, and erase any mistakes by deleting them in the “History” box.

Change the size of your brush depending on the area of the image you’re working on. Smaller areas will require a smaller brush. Alternate between long and short brush strokes to see which effect you prefer, and change the pressure where necessary.

Here’s my final product. See how it looks more like a painting now than a photograph?

The Clone Stamp Tool - Lighthouse Painting

When you’re finished painting, click on your “Black” layer and bring the opacity back up to 100%. That’s it! Either save your image as a PSD if you want to work on it further, or flatten it and save it as a JPG.

Be sure and save the brush you used as a preset so you can use it next time you use the pattern stamp. In the top, left-hand corner, you’ll see the icon for the pattern stamp. Click on that, then the little gear icon, and “Save Tool Presets.”

The Clone Stamp Tool - Saving Tool Presets

Name your brush and save it for future use.

The Clone Stamp Tool - Saving Brushes

Good job. You now know how to use the pattern stamp in Photoshop.

Watch the tutorial below to get a feel for how the pattern stamp tool works in real time.

Key Points

The “Clone Stamp” and “Pattern Stamp” in Photoshop are versatile tools that can be used for a wide range of applications. One such application for the clone stamp is to eliminate any distracting elements in a photo’s background. I use the pattern stamp for turning an image into an impressionistic-looking portrait. Both tools are so fun to use, and can greatly enhance your photos.

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What’s your favorite way to use these tools? Let me know in the comments:)

2 thoughts on “How To Edit Photos In Photoshop Using The Clone Stamp Tool”

  1. My first thought when I saw the title of this post is- Awesome! I have used Photoshop before and there can be some features that are difficult to use. I didn’t realize that the Clone Stamp Tool was one of the most popular tools. 

    I may have missed this- but on your first set of instructions- what exactly did you do to remove the images of the people? Sorry if I missed this in the article. The pattern stamp tool is very cool as well. I love the “painted” look. Can Photoshop be purchased on a subscription basis? Thank you.

    • Hi Misty,

      Yes, Photoshop is purchased on a monthly subscription basis. I used the clone stamp, with a small brush, to remove the people in my lighthouse image. Select the tool, while holding down the Shift key. 

      You’re right, the pattern stamp tool is really amazing for turning photos into realistic looking paintings. 

      Thanks for your comment!


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