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Remove Background Distractions from Your Dog Photographs

You should always be cognizant of what’s going on in the background of your dog photos and compose your frame accordingly, but sometimes you can’t control every single detail of your background. Using Photoshop to remove certain elements in your photo (like that leash) takes some practice, but it’s a fantastic skill to have up your sleeve should you need it!

Follow along with these steps to see how to edit out annoyances. Remember, practice makes perfect here; use these tools enough and deleting a leash will be a piece o’ cake soon enough.

1

With your file open in Photoshop, use your Layers palette to make a duplicate layer of your image.

To do this, click your Background layer, drag it on top of the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of your Layers palette, and release. You now have a second duplicate layer called Background Copy.

When editing out distractions, working on a duplicate layer is always a good idea in case things don’t go as planned.

2

Use the Navigator palette to zoom in on the leash (or other object) to be removed. Choose the Clone Stamp tool from the Tools palette.

Adjust the brush size using the Brush Picker drop-down menu located in the Options bar.

Choose a brush size that’s slightly larger than the width of the leash.

3

Position the Clone Stamp tool over an area directly next to the leash and Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) to set that point as your sampled area.

When choosing an area to sample, you have to think about what would have been present if the object you’re removing was never there and choose your sampled area accordingly. In this example, if the leash were not there to begin with, you’d see more green grass from the background, so this is the area you choose to sample from.

4

With your sampled area chosen, position the Clone Stamp tool at the top of the leash, click, and drag down the leash — but stop before you actually intersect the dog’s body.

In the first pass of leash removal, the goal is a rough cover-up job.

5

At this point, you’ve roughed out the first part of the leash to be removed, but you now need to blend it into its surroundings.

Choose the Patch tool from the Tools palette and circle the area you just painted over. Be sure to keep your selection boundary entirely within the green background area.

If you extend the boundary and cross through the bottom of the leash that hasn’t already been roughed out, you’ll end up with a nasty blotch because Photoshop is trying to blend together two very different areas (a green background and a purple leash). Drag your selection over to a matching area and let go.

6

Zoom in even further to the area where the leash intersects the dog’s body.

With the top portion of the leash successfully removed, you can now get more detailed with the remaining portion.

7

Switch back to your Clone Stamp tool and return to the Brush Picker drop-down menu to decrease the brush’s size.

You want to choose a much smaller brush so you can accurately follow along the outline of where the leash intersects the dog’s body.

8

Again, choose an appropriate sample area and then paint over the last area of visible leash in small increments.

Switch back to the Patch tool and again outline the area you just painted, but without crossing into the dog’s body.

9

Drag your selection over to a matching area and let go.

Sandy is a short-haired dog, so outlining her ear with the Clone Stamp tool yielded satisfactory results.

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