5 common photo problems, avoided or solved

Here are five common digital photography problems and how to sidestep them or fix them in an image editor.

Clone Away Your Problems



You have no doubt taken some photos in which something annoying--a wandering tourist, a telephone pole, a fluttering pigeon--ruins an otherwise wonderful photo. In many cases, it's a snap to clone away unwanted elements in Adobe Photoshop Elements or any other popular photo editing program.

To get started in Photoshop Elements, click the Clone tool in the palette on the left side of the screen (it looks like a rubber stamp). Next, find a region in your image that's similar to the area you want to cover. If you want to airbrush away a power line that runs through the sky, for instance, look for a nearby patch of sky to serve as your source for the clone brush. To set the source, position the mouse pointer over it and Alt-Click. Now move your mouse over to the area you want to brush away, and start painting. Don't try to cover the blemish all at once; paint a little, pick up the mouse, and paint again. This action reduces the chances that a recognizable pattern will appear. You can see a work in progress in this example, where I'm cloning away a boat by painting over it with water.

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