How to Add Someone Into a Picture Using Photoshop

By Shawn M. Tomlinson

A good and bad thing about Adobe Photoshop is that you can alter reality with it. The bad part about that is we no longer can trust every photo we see. The good part, from a user’s perspective, is that we can make our images look the way we want them to. For example, if Uncle Bob missed the family reunion, it is no problem because you can add him into the picture.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Digital images

Step 1

Tone both the photo of the individual you want to add and the photo to which he will be added. In Photoshop CS4, the simplest way to do this is to go to the "Image" menu and select "Auto Tone." If the results are not satisfactory, go to the “Image” menu and choose “Adjustments” and then “Levels.” Use the sliders beneath the histogram to correct the darks (left slider), the midtones (center slider) and the whites (right slider) or click the “Auto” button. Sometimes, photos do not come out "as shot" with the correct color, light/dark or tonal balance. This is why you need to make corrections to these aspects of digital images. Another way to do this is "by the numbers." Go to "Window" and "Info." Go to "Image," "Adjustments" and "Levels." While watching the numbers in the CMYK portion of the "Info" box, click the left eyedropper in the "Levels" pop-up and find the darkest area of your image. This will have the closest number to 100 in the "K" part of CMYK. When you find it, click. Then, using the right eyedropper, find the value closest to zero in the "K" of CMYK and click. This will give you a balanced image in most cases.

Step 2

Correct the color casts of both images so they are similar. A color cast is an overall atmospheric color that permeates the entire image. For example, if you have an image of the desert in bright sunlight, the color cast might be brown or orange. You can make these alterations in several ways, but try the “Photo Filters” under “Image” and “Adjustments” first if there is a general color cast. The overall “look and feel” of both images should be similar in order to blend in the person you are adding to the other photo.

Step 3

Compare both photos side by side and make sure they both have the same image quality. Go to “Image” and “Image Size” to set the sizes of both. The width and height are not as important as the “Resolution.” If you intend to print your combined photo, set the number in the “Resolution” box for each to 300 pixels per inch. You can adjust the size of the person you are adding once you place it into the other photo.

Step 4

Select the image of the person and then click the “Lasso” tool on the side Toolbar in Photoshop and hold it. A popup submenu will appear. Select “Magnetic Lasso.” Then, go to the top Toolbar and type a number between five and 20 in the “Feather” box. This will give you a softer edge around the person. Click the “Magnetic Lasso” tool at a point at the edge of the person you are cutting out, then begin to follow the contours of the person, clicking occasionally to set points. Follow the person all the way around until you return to where you started and click. When the dotted “marquee” begins to move, the image is selected. Copy it by clicking “Edit” and then “Copy.”

Step 5

Select the photo you want to add the person to and then select "Paste" from the "Edit" menu to paste the image into the photo. You can use the “Move Tool” to reposition the image, and you can go to “Edit” and “Free Transform” to make the person smaller or larger to appear consistent with your background image. Once you have it in place, double-click it. To further blend it in, you can use the “Eraser” from the side Toolbar. It will erase material from the Layer you are working on, so it will leave the underlying image alone.