Cutting Out an Image in Photoshop

by Jeff McLain

Adobe Photoshop is not a program that is just for ‘fixing’ problems in a photo. It can also be used as a vital component to achieving your vision of an image. Once you begin to possess some mastery over the program, you begin to see where you can use it in your overall workflow - knowing when to fix things “On-Set” versus “In Post.”

In this tutorial, I examine a situation where a client needed a clean ‘on white’ product shot of a particular product that had been shot on-location. Using the Pen Tool, I create a super-tight selection of a hard-edged object and begin to strip it out to a new surface and create a believable product shot from what started as a location shot.

Solutions like these add value for clients, and are par-for-the-course techniques in a commercial photographer’s toolkit.


Jeff McLain

Jeff McLain is a photographer, videographer, and digital retoucher. After his photography education, Jeff got his start as a freelance photo assistant in San Francisco working on editorial, catalog and advertising shoots. His skills in Photoshop and computing allowed him to help photographers bridge the gap between the film days and all-digital workflows, and he stood at the forefront of the advent of the career of the "Digital Technician."

Jeff soon moved into shooting, and then moved laterally to video capture. His background as a multi-instrumental musician has also benefited his understanding of sound design and audio capture, which can be a technically challenging aspect of film-making.

He worked for many years as a digital technician for Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn, Logitech, and Crate & Barrel. As a photographer, he has shot for Williams Sonoma, Mountain Living Magazine, Keen Shoes, Mountain Hardwear, Red Envelope, Robert Mondavi Wines, Mountain Living Magazine, and Cottage Journal Magazine... among others.

He has been a freelancer for over 18 years and takes a 'real-world' approach to his perspective of the photographic industry and the skills needed in today's market. Locally, he and his wife operate a videography business.

Jeff is a 2001 graduate of Hallmark Institute of Photography and holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Montana. When not working on still or video projects, Jeff spends time with his wife, son, dog and cat in Missoula, Montana. He plays bluegrass dobro, banjo, guitar and harmonica to unwind.