Clone Photography

Tutorial and Tips

Author: EmilyiPhotography Tutor

Clone photography can be a great project to try. You can shoot this project indoors or outdoors, and it can be the perfect starting point for you to learn some basic tools in Photoshop.

In this article, we will cover:-

  • How to shoot your images
  • How to edit your images
  • Tips and tricks to get the best results
cloned person in a kitchen

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

clone photography three people on one couch

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

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How to shoot clones

To create an image like the ones above, you will need to take three or four separate images. You’ll need to use a tripod to make sure that everything else in your frame remains identical aside from your moving subject.

You can shoot these photos alone by using a timer on your camera, or ask a friend to press the shutter.

You’ll need to use manual focus so that the focus point stays the same throughout all the images. It can be handy to use a more narrow aperture (F/8 for instance) so more of the frame is in focus.

After you’ve taken your different shots, it can also be very handy to take a blank frame with no subjects in it. Make sure you keep the focus exactly the same as in the other shots. This step is optional, but it can help in editing.

Here are the steps in a nutshell. We will go into them in more detail shortly:

  1. Choose your scene and set your tripod and camera up
  2. Set focus on your subject (more info below) and switch to manual focus
  3. Take your different photos one after the other
  4. Take a shot of the empty room/space without changing focus
  5. Done!
clone of someone in the window

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Clone photography: how to set focus

You should set yourself up for success and use a narrow aperture of around F/8 or so. This means that a lot of your scene will be in focus naturally, and it gives you some room for error when you move your subject around the scene.

If you’re shooting alone, you can put an object in the frame to act as a stand-in and focus your camera on that. Something of a similar height to your subject would be handy, like a broom, or a chair with a high back. Focus on that object, lock your focus, then take its place. You can mark a spot on the floor so you know you’ll be in focus when you get into frame.

Use a 10-second timer function on your camera to give you time to get into position.

Remember: It is absolutely essential that you keep the focus the same in every shot. If you don’t then the images won’t blend together in editing.

clone photography a woman cheersing with herself

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Clone photography: tips

  • Images that don’t have cross-over will be much easier to edit. To begin with, you should consider trying a simple cloning photo where your subjects don’t touch at all.
  • If you do want your subjects to touch, like several of the images in this article, it will take a little more attention in Photoshop to pull it off.
  • Have fun with your clone photography! You can make some very humours images with this technique!

Your imagination is your only limit once you’ve mastered the basics! You can add in however many clones you like, like this example below.

a clone photograph with lots of clones

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

So now we have our separate photos. They should look something like this:

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

How to Edit Clone Photographs In Photoshop

There is a dedicated video down below that will show you how to edit clone photography photos in Photoshop, so definitely give that a watch at the end. Here are the steps to take:-

 

  1. Import your images by going to File > Script > Load Files Into Stack.
  2. Select your images.
  3. Make sure you click “attempt to automatically align source images”. This will align everything for you.
  4. Once your stack of images has loaded, order the layers so that the subjects in the back of the scene are at the bottom of the layer stack, and the subjects closest to the camera are at the top of the layer stack.
  5.  Select the first layer you want to work on and press the Adjustment Mask button. You can find this at the bottom right of the screen. (see image).
  6. Press Control+I (Windows) or Cmd+I (Mac) to invert the white mask to black. This will make the layer completely invisible, which is what we want.
  7. Choose a white paintbrush and paint back in where your subject is, and they’ll appear. If you make a mistake you can switch to black to erase what you’ve done
  8. Repeat this for every layer.
  9. Finished! Export as a JPG when you’re finished editing. It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of your work as a .PSD so you can go in and change things if you notice anything at a later date.
adjustment layer photoshop clone photography
paint brush tool photoshop clone photography
colour picker photoshop clone photography
paint brushes photoshop clone photography

Watch the clone photography video below to see you you need to edit your images together.

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Summary

You should now have all the skills you need to make some fun clone photographs! Remember, it’s OK to start out small and work your way up to the more complex edits. 

Have fun and good luck!

P.s. If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy learning about levitation photography

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The other challenge when shooting through glass is the tinting. Unfortunately, architects and designers didn’t think about us photographers when creating these skyscrapers.

Their windows are invariably tinted in some way to help with heating.

This means that some of your photos may have a green/grey tint to them.

It’s not the biggest issue as you can rebalance this tint in editing with the ‘tint’ slider for example.