• How to Cut Photos into Shapes in Photoshop and PSE

    Hereís a technique that is frequently requested: how to use Custom Shapes to cut out photos.

    Begin by opening a photo and a new document in Photoshop or Elements.

    Set the Foreground color so that it contrasts with your document.

    Select the new document and get the Custom Shape tool. This tool shares a space with the Rectangle tool, Line tool and others. Click and hold the tool to reveal the flyout menu of hidden tools. Choose the Custom Shape tool which looks like a blob shape.

    In the Options Bar across the top of the editing window, choose a shape from the drop-down menu. In Photoshop, youíll also need to select Shape Layers and Create a New Shape Layer.

    Shift, click and drag out the shape on your document.

    Get the Move tool and drag the shape into position.

    Now drag the photo onto your document.

    The photo layer should be positioned above the shape layer in the Layers Panel. If it isnít, drag the layer one layer above the shape layer. Then hold the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and place your cursor between the photo layer and the shape layer. When the cursor changes to a double-circle arrow, click. This creates a clipping mask which causes the photo to take on the shape.

    Still using the Move tool, select the photo layer, then click and drag your photo to reveal the portion you want visible. To resize the photo, press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) and use the corner handles to make the photo larger or smaller. Hold the Shift key as you resize if your version of the software is changing the aspect ratio (giving you a funhouse mirror effect.) Click the checkmark to confirm the size change.