How to Photoshop the background clutter out of your photos

Amy at Shooting the Kids passed along this super-helpful tutorial, especially as family photo season is upon us:

Here's my "how to" on removing unwanted clutter from the background of your photos. What I find is that, with kids, we usually don't have time to set up a great shot before-hand. Like I say in my post, with my daughter it usually goes smile, snap. No time to see if there are unwanted people or objects behind her that will show up and ruin my photo. So in this quick and easy "how to" I teach parents how to use the Stamp tool in Photoshop to clean up their photos.

My mom happens to be the resident amateur photo retoucher in our family, and she's very happy with the much less complicated (and expensive) Photoshop Elements, which, I believe, has the same Stamp tool Amy uses.

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  1. Eric says

    (Note, this is not spam, and I have no personal connection to this product, I’m just a happy user) – for an even cheaper alternative to Photoshop Elements, check out Gimpshop ( It is a free/open source graphics/photo editing application. It is based on GIMP, which is a standard UNIX picture editing program. However, its user interface has been modified so that it resembles photoshop. It has many/most of the tools that photoshop has, and for most people, the differences between the too are negligible. For example, it has the stamp tool mentioned in this hack …

    It is availble for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Its great for performing touch-ups such as this hack and many other quick fixes, as well as more complicated drawing/photo/graphics projects. And, the fact that it is free and legal to download may be one of its greatest features. (Again, I’m not affiliated with this program, I’m just a happy user who is looking to spread the word).

  2. zeecon says

    There is also a free (yes, FREE!) program called Gimp that has most, if not all, of the retouching features that Photoshop has.

  3. Steph. says

    I just recently bought Photoshop elements and I LOVE it! It also has a wonderful feature that lets you index all of your digital photos on your computer. So, for example, if you’re looking for a photo of your dog, you can search on dog and it will bring up every dog picture on your computer. It’s awesome!

  4. Christopher Frazier says

    Chris here from Shooting the Kids. I just finished writing up a post about PhotoPlus from Serif Software when you posted our hack, and wanted to suggest people check it out. For those not wanting to hassle with the GIMP, it’s a great, simple, free and powerful alternative. We’re having a pretty interesting discussion about other options too (including Paint.NET), so check out the post!