Put yourself in the picture with Photoshop

put yourself in the picture with photoshop

This method is a little more technically rigorous than just taking a picture of yourself in the scene you want, but has the advantage that you are able to completely escape the limitations of your current reality.

Want to float the Amazon River? Climb Mt. Everest? Visit the Taj Mahal? No problem. Maybe you want to attend the Olympics, the Tour de France, or Burning Man. Heck, maybe you want to win the Olympics! You can use photo editing software to create a believable picture of yourself in any situation you can imagine.

Any photo editing software that supports layers will work, such as Photoshop, its less expensive sibling Photoshop Elements, or the free alternative Gimpshop. I’ll write these instructions generically enough that you should be able to follow them using any photo editing program.

How to put yourself in the picture

1. Start with a digital picture of the place you want to go (or be, or do, or have, or work).

We’ll call that the background picture. You may be able to download an appropriate picture from that destination’s website. If not, use Google Image Search to find a good photo. Open the picture in your photo editing software.

2. Open a picture of yourself in a second window.

As we discussed in Put yourself in the picture, you want a photo of yourself that looks like you might really be there. For example, you might be wearing clothing that would be appropriate for visiting that place.

3. Resize the picture of yourself to match the scale of the background picture.

This step may not be necessary, but in most cases you’ll need to adjust the size of your photo so that you are proportionally believable. For now, resize the whole picture, background and all. In Photoshop you would use the menu command Image > Image size.

4. Select the picture of yourself, and copy it to the clipboard.

Use a lasso or square selection tool to outline an area of the photo that includes yourself. It’s not necessary to get the selection exactly right – we’ll erase the extra background later. When you have selected the piece you want, select Edit > Copy.

5. Paste the photo of yourself into the background picture.

In most programs you’ll select Edit > Paste from the menu to put the picture of you on a new layer in the background picture. Move the picture of yourself around until it’s in the right location.

6. Erase the extra old background from the picture of yourself.

You can now make edits to the “you” layer without affecting the original background photograph below it. Use your eraser tool to remove extra pieces of the old background around yourself. This leaves only the photo of the new background behind you showing through, and it now looks like you’re standing or sitting in that place!

7. Save the picture.

In Photoshop use File > Save for Web. Save it as a JPG file.

8. Put it someplace where you’ll see it.

You can automate repetitious exposure to the image with one of the many delivery techniques we’ve already discussed, such as installing it in your computer background, screensaver slideshow, Google Photos gadget, or Hipster PDA.

That was too hard!

For the technically challenged, don’t despair. Next week I’ll show you how to do the same thing using nothing more complicated than scissors and glue!

Other articles in the Put yourself in the picture series

  1. Put yourself in the picture
  2. Get a gorilla to hold the camera
  3. Put yourself in the picture to get a job
  4. A great digital camera
  5. Put yourself in the picture with Photoshop (you are here)
  6. Put yourself in the picture with glue

Related articles

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  1. Darlene Boone
    Posted February 13, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I have a picture that I would like to put in a country back groung. I have the picure but don’t know how I hope you will help me. Darlene

  2. Lynn
    Posted February 13, 2008 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Steps 1 through 7 above describe the steps necessary to combine two pictures in Photoshop. If you need some help getting started with the basics of Photoshop there are many excellent tutorials available on the web. Google “photoshop tutorial”.

  3. stan R.
    Posted October 16, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    how do I reshape my erraser in photo shop. I USED TO HAVE IT AS A CIRCLE OR SQUARE NOW IT IS JUST AN X I can’t tell where it is going to errase.

  4. co
    Posted December 19, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    ok i tried to put the picture in the 2nd one, and the my cutout of myself got really big and wouldnt shrink. what do i do?

  5. Lynn
    Posted December 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    co, resize the photo of yourself before you paste it into the second picture.

  6. kyky
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    yeah i get that, but how r u supposed to do that on gimp!!! 🙁

  7. Posted January 20, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Hi.. Seriously not trying to be a jerk here, but your description on how to do this is going to lead to nothing but disppointment for people. First, I think if you have invested the money and time into Photoshop, this tutorial is FAR too basic. The other issue is that you didnt address anything to do with color matching, depth, dimension.. people will end up with a collage.. Again, not trying to be rude, but you it would be great if you started this off with ” This is the simplest way to do this and anyone who looks at the picture will know immediately that you just pasted a new picture on top of it..”… that way i could have skipped reading it and saved some time..

  8. Mike
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I use to like the photoplace on the Ctywalk at Universal Studios and they use a green background and they had tons of movies you can put yourself in lol I chose the Hanna Barbaras wanted Jaws next but they were replaced by that face only magazine cover which was retarded.

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