Add blur, replace colors, and clone image areas

You can enhance your photos in Photoshop Elements by adding blur, replacing colors, or by cloning part of the photo. Use the Blur tool to add blur to your photo, the Brush tool to replace colors, and the Clone tool to clone part of the photo. You can select these tools from the Toolbox. For information about the Toolbox, see Tools.

Blur or soften edges

The Blur tool softens hard edges or areas in an image by reducing detail. Blurring a busy background can bring your subject more into focus. You can also use Blur filters for this purpose. For more information on Blur filter, see Blur filters.

Original photo (left), and photo after blurring the background (right).

  1. In expert mode, select the Blur tool  from the Enhance section in the toolbox or press R.

  2. Set options in the options bar:


    Specifies how the pixels you blur, blend into other pixels in the image.


    Sets the brush tip, from the brush pop-up menu. For more brush shapes, click the Brush drop-down inside the pop-up, and then select a brush thumbnail.


    Sets the size of the brush, in pixels. Drag the Size slider, or enter a size in the text box.


    Specifies the amount of blur that is applied with each stroke.

    Sample All Layers

    Blurs all visible layers. If you deselect this option, the tool blurs only the active layer.

  3. Drag over the part of the image you want to blur.

Replace colors in an image

The Color Replacement tool simplifies replacing specific colors in your image. You can paint over a targeted color—for example, a yellow flower in an image—with a different color, like red. You can also use the Color Replacement tool to correct colors.

Replacing colors

  1. In expert mode, select the Brush tool from the Draw section in the toolbox or press B.

  2. Select the Color Replacement brush  from the Brush tool options bar.

  3. Choose a brush size from the Brush menu in the options bar. 

  4. For Tolerance, specify a low percentage to replace colors similar to the pixel you click, or raise the percentage to replace a broader range of colors.

  5. For Mode, keep the blending mode set to Color.

  6. For Limits, choose one of the following:


    Replaces the sampled color wherever it occurs under the pointer.


    Replaces colors that are contiguous with the color immediately under the pointer.

  7. Choose one of the following methods of sampling:


    Continuously samples color, as you drag the color replacement tool.


    Samples color only once, when you start dragging the color replacement tool.

    Background Swatch

    Replaces the area containing the background color, whenever you drag the color replacement tool over it.

  8. Select Anti-aliasing to give a smooth edge to the areas you correct.

  9. Do one of the following to choose a foreground color:

    • Select the foreground color by the Eyedropper tool:
      • On Windows, move the pointer on the color and press Alt+Click.
      • On Mac, move the pointer on the color and press Option+Click.
    • Set color in the toolbox by the Color Picker tool.
  10. Drag within the image to replace in the targeted color.

Clone images or areas in an image

The Clone Stamp tool paints with an image sample, which you can use to duplicate objects, remove image imperfections, or paint over objects in your photo. You can also clone part of an image to another image.

Original photo (top), after adding starfish with the Clone Stamp tool (center), and after removing a person with the Clone Stamp tool (bottom).

  1. In expert mode, select the Clone Stamp tool  from Enhance section in the toolbox or press S.

  2. (Optional) Set options in the options bar:


    Sets the brush tip. Click the arrow next to the brush sample, choose a brush category from the Brushes pop‑up menu, and then select a brush thumbnail.

    Sample All Layers

    To sample (copy) data from all visible layers, select Sample All Layers. To sample data from only the active layer, deselect this option.


    Sets the size of the brush in pixels. Drag the Size slider, or enter a size in the text box.


    Sets the opacity of the paint you apply. A low opacity setting allows pixels under a paint stroke to show through. Drag the slider, or enter an opacity value.


    Determines how the source or pattern blends with existing pixels. Normal mode lays new pixels over the original pixels.


    Moves the sampled area with the cursor as you begin to paint, regardless of how many times you stop and resume painting. Select this option if you want to eliminate unwanted areas, such as a telephone line across the skyline or a rip in a scanned photo. If Aligned is deselected, the Clone Stamp tool applies the sampled area from the initial sampling point each time you stop and resume painting. Deselect this option for applying multiple copies of the same part of an image to different areas within the same image or to another image.

  3. Click Clone Overlay, and set the following options:

    Show Overlay

    Select show Overlay for the overlay to be visible inside brush size.


    To set the opacity of the overlay, enter a percentage value in the Opacity text box.


    To clip overlay to the brush size, enable the Clipped option.

    Auto Hide

    To hide the overlay while you apply the paint strokes, select Auto Hide.

    Invert Overlay

    To invert the colors in the overlay, select Invert.

  4. Position the pointer on the part of any open image you want to sample, and press Alt (Option in Mac OS) and click. The tool duplicates the pixels at this sample point in your image as you paint.
  5. Do one of the following:

    • Drag or click to paint with the tool on the same image.
    • Drag or click to paint with the tool on the other targeted image.

Photomerge Style Match

Not available in Photoshop Elements 13 and later

If you like the style of an image, you can apply its style properties to another image. You can work with a set of images, apply styles, and choose to update the image with the style that produces the best results.


When you apply styles multiple times, the effect is not cumulative. Only the last applied style is saved.

Image after the style of the style image is applied

  1. Open the image, and select Enhance > Photomerge > Photomerge Style Match

  2. In the Style bin, add the images from which you want to transfer the style. Choose images that have strong stylistic properties and details.


    You can also choose an image from the default style images displayed in the Style bin.

  3. To apply the style of an image, double-click the style image in the Style bin or drag the image from the Style bin to the Style Image placeholder.

  4. To refine the image, use the options in the Edit panel.


    Controls the amount or intensity of the style to transfer. The maximum value implies that you want to transfer 100% style of the style image.


    Improves the local contrast of a stylized image. The contrast of the slowly varying intensity regions is enhanced, bringing out crisp details in darkened regions.


    Improves the overall or global contrast of the image.

    Style Eraser

    Removes the applied style from specific image areas.

    Style Painter

    Adds the style back to areas from which you have removed the applied style.

    Soften Stroke Edges

    Softens hard edges caused by to style erasing and painting.

    Transfer Tones

    Transfers the tones of the style image. For example, if the style image is black and white or sepia, and the image to which you want to apply Photomerge Style Transfer is colored, selecting Transfer Tones transfers the style tone (black and white or sepia) to the colored image.

    Original colored image changed to black and white through Transfer Tones

  5. Click Done to update the image with the applied style.

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