Mirror The Background In Photoshop To Remove Unwanted Objects

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Mirror The Background In Photoshop To Remove Unwanted Objects

mirror objects in photoshopWe’ve all had that moment of scrolling through our images and finding “the one” but then realize there is a ugly, distracting object in the background!  Most of the time we grab our clone tool and quickly clone it out, but that’s not always the case.  I’m going to show you my all time favorite method of how to remove unwanted objects using the mirror effect.

Mirror The Background In Photoshop To Remove Unwanted Objects

In this image the unwanted object is directly behind my subject.  Using the clone tool would take way to long, especially trying to remove it around my subject.

1)   Open the image in photoshop and create a copy of the background layer by pressing CMD-J (Mac) or CTRL-J (PC).

2)   Go to Edit/Transform/Flip Horizontal.

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 1.25.18 PM

Now you will be looking at a copy of your image that has been flipped.

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 1.25.51 PM
3)   Rename that layer to Background Copy.  Lower the opacity of the background copy to around 50% opacity and use the Move tool to place your new background over the original background.  By lowering your opacity of the background copy you’ll be able to see where to place your new background.  Then raise the opacity back up to 100%.  Make sure you always raise the opacity back up to 100%!

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 1.33.06 PM


5)   Add a mask by clicking on the camera icon in the layers palette (notice I have it circled in red).  Click CMD-I (Mac) or CTRL-I (PC) to invert the mask.  Your mask will turn black and now the image will look like what you started with, but don’t worry.

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 1.49.44 PM
6)   Use a white soft brush to paint in the new background over the distracting objects.  If your painting close to your subject raise the hardness of your brush to around 30% and lower the opacity of the brush to around 60%.  Gradually paint around the subject until everything is blended.

7)   Now go to Layer/Flatten Image.  Grab your Clone tool and use it to clean the rest of the image up.  In this image I still had part of the bed remaining and a line from the layer I flipped horizontally, so I used the clone tool to quickly clean it up.

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 2.19.27 PM

Now that your background is cleaned up, you can go on to edit your image.  Here is the before and after.  I used MCP’s Free Facebook Fix photoshop action to create the before and after template. You can click here to get it for free!


I edited the image with the MCP Inspire Photoshop Actions – to give it a toned, artistic finish.


Lastly, I decided last minute to do a real quick video tutorial to show you how quick and easy this method is.  Just bare with me and excuse my country accent 😉

Mirroring Background Video Tutorial


Amanda Johnson, the photographer of this image and guest writer of this blog post, is the owner of Amanda Johnson Photography out of Knoxville, TN.  She’s a full time photographer and mentor that specializes in Baby’s First Year, children and family portraits.  To see more of her work, check out her website and like her on Facebook Page.

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  1. April 25, 2017 at 2:13 am —

    Amazing tutorial. Thank you for describing the uses of tools. The work is done very nicely. It was also very informative. Good Job!

  2. Sarah
    November 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm —

    I cannot read you post on my mobile device because the pop-up to subscribe. The window available for me to read the post is about an inch big… Making it very hard to see the post. Would you please remove this pop-up with forces readers to login? There is not an “X” available to close the pop-up either; perhaps adding this might be a solution too. Thanks.

  3. November 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm —

    Thank you so much for this! The shot I needed to edit was a little complicated but now looks soooo much better and much more worthy of the client’s Christmas card without a car in the background :). Thanks again!

  4. February 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm —

    Wonderful tutorial!!

  5. February 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm —

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, this is something I really need at times and you make it all easier! Thanks again and I love your photoshop actions.

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Mirror The Background In Photoshop To Remove Unwanted Objects