How to Prepare a Photo for Photo Etching in Photoshop

Updated July 20, 2017

Photo etching is a process in which a photograph is transferred to a metal plate. Acid then is used to etch the plate in the negative areas of the image. Photo etching is used in the creation of thin, metal decals and in the printmaking processes. Photoshop can be used as a tool to prepare images for the photo-etching process. Using Photoshop, you can create a positive or negative image and print it in a half-tone dot pattern, which is ideal for detailed photo etchings.

Open your photo in Photoshop. Double-click the image if Photoshop is the default program for that file format, or right-click and select "Open With..." and "Photoshop."

Select "Image" from the top menu bar. Select "Adjustments" and "Invert" from the drop-down menu. This will create a negative of your image.

Select "Image" from the top menu bar. Select "Adjustments" and "Brightness/Contrast..." from the drop-down menu.

Adjust the brightness and contrast so that any white areas of the negative are light grey.

Save your document and close Photoshop.


Print your Photoshop photo-etching prepared image on acetate with a black and white photo-quality laser printer.

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About the Author

Eric Brown has been writing for over 5 years. He has written for such sites as,,, and many others. Owner of EB Arts Creative Industries, Eric works full time from home. He has been with Demand Studios awhile now and writes primarily on computer related topics for