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Editing Landscape Photos with the Clone Stamp Tool

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

When you're taking landscape photographs anything can creep into them. For example, a bird, plane or UFO (well, you never know) in the photo's skyline. With some image editing software you can erase smaller details from the picture. You can do this with the clone stamp tool included in photo editing packages such as Paint.NET and Photoshop.

The clone stamp tool is a copy and paste option for images. With it you can copy one part of the image, and then paste that over another area of the same photo. When applied effectively you can erase over some parts of the picture by blending the copied area with their surrounding background. However, if the copied area is not effectively blended with the background the editing will be not be disguised.

To edit photography with the clone stamp you'll need to have suitable software. Consider the freeware image editing software Paint.NET. It includes an effective clone stamp tool with which you can erase things from your landscape photos. To add it to your software library, check out the Paint.NET website.

With Paint.NET open a photo by selecting File and then Open. Then select Tool, and the Clone Stamp option. Then you should have a small circle at your cursor. That circle highlights the area of the picture that the clone stamp tool will copy. When you apply the clone stamp tool, it copies anything within the circle's area.

Firstly, you should adjust the size of this circle. Select the Brush width box, and then a more suitable size for the circle. It's generally best to select smaller brush width sizes which are more effectively blended with the surrounding background.

Then you should move the circle over an area of the picture to copy. Next hold the Ctrl key and left click the mouse. That will copy the small area of the picture.

A second circle should then appear. This is the circle that highlights the area of the photo the clone stamp tool will copy over. Place the circle over an area of the photo to erase, and then left click. That will paste the copied area over it.

Wherever you drag the second circle, the first will move with it. The clone stamp will paste over other parts of the picture with the area included within the first circle. Thus, you should check the first circle's position to ensure it still includes suitable colors with which to effectively blend with the erased part of the photo. If the copied part of the photograph does not blend with the background your photo might be like the one in the image below.

Edited photo
In that picture the blue skyline has erased over some of the rock landscape. As the blue skyline has not been effectively blended with the surrounding rock, it's clear that the clone stamp option has erased over some of the photo. As such, the editing does little to enhance the picture.

Edited Photo
In the above photo you can spot a few small birds (but no UFO) flying around the rock. Those are details that the clone stamp tool is ideal for removing. The clone stamp tool removed the birds from the same photo by pasting the blue sky over them. 

The Rock

To effectively remove small details from photos you should zoom into them more. In Paint.NET select the Zoom magnifying glass option from the toolbar. With that option zoom into the photograph by 200, 300 or perhaps 400%. 

Palm Tree
For another example of how the clone stamp tool can erase things from a picture here is a beach landscape photograph. In the above photo there are a couple of black dots (below the right palm tree) which are probably people in the water. At the top left corner of the photo are palm tree leafs. In the edited photograph below, the clone stamp tool has erased some of the tree leafs and the black dots in the water.

Palm Tree Photo edits
The clone stamp tool will always erase smaller parts of the photo more effectively. Removing a larger part of the photo above, such as one of the palm trees, will require considerable cloning to be effective. It's doubtful whether either one of the trees could be convincingly removed, except with the cropping option which will cut out much of the image.

Nevertheless, the clone stamp can still be a great option for erasing small bits from your landscape shots. Just so long as you effectively blend the surrounding backdrop with the copied area of the photo. Then you can make some effective clone stamp edits that should enhance the photo.



Nov 12, 2013 2:04am
Great information on removing unwanted spots etc from photos. We had a problem with one of our lenses and it kept leaving a blemish on all our photos. I used the clone tool in PSP to remove them. It is a great way to fix things, without destroying your photos.
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