How to Cut & Paste a Head in Photoshop

Written by filonia lechat
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How to Cut & Paste a Head in Photoshop
(Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

If you consider your Adobe Photoshop software as solely something to use to look at, tweak and print your digital photos, you’re missing much of the program’s functionality. Photoshop offers many ways to completely change your images, with cutting and pasting tools to help you create drastic differences and to fashion pictures your camera could never capture. Whether you’re tinkering around with your photos for fun or work, let Photoshop help you with electronic tools.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Photoshop, click “File” and click “Open.” Navigate to a digital photo with a head to cut and paste and double-click the file name. The image opens in the Photoshop workspace.

  2. 2

    Click the “Magnifying” tool, which looks like a magnifying glass, on the bottom of the “Tools” palette on the left side of the screen. Zoom in on the person’s head so that the head takes up just about the entire screen, giving you the most precise access to it. Enlarge the window if you need room to zoom in more.

  3. 3

    Click the “Lasso” tool on the “Tools” palette. Draw an outline around the person’s head. When the blinking “marching ants” appear surrounding the outline, pull down the "Edit" menu and click "Cut" to cut the head out of the picture, which also temporarily saves the head into Photoshop’s memory. Note that this will leave a hole or the background colour, normally white, in your photo.

  4. 4

    Click the "Move" tool, which looks like a black arrow head and cross at the very top of the "Tools" palette. Pull down the "Edit" menu again and click "Paste." The cut head picture pastes back in; drag it around the photo with your cursor and fit it back into the cut spot or in a new place.

  5. 5

    Paste the head onto a new photo by leaving the original open, clicking “File,” clicking “Open” and browsing to another image. Double-click the file name to open the photo in the Photoshop workspace.

  6. 6

    Press the “Ctrl” and “V” keys; the copied area is still in Photoshop’s memory, so the head pastes onto the new photo.

  7. 7

    Close the photo or both photos when satisfied. Rename each image with a new file name so as not to overwrite the original in case you want to access it again.

Tips and warnings

  • Photoshop offers multiple options along with the "Lasso" tool for selecting the head in your picture. Right-click the "Lasso" tool for two other selection options, the "Magnetic" lasso, which grabs its way around your selection path as if it were using magnets, and the "Polygonal" lasso, which uses straight lines as a way to surround your selected area. Further down the "Tools" palette is the "Pen" tool, which doesn't actually write, but gives you another way to select a finely detailed area. Experiment with each of these tools to find the one you're most comfortable with using for selections.

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