How to Mirror a Background in Photoshop

Mirroring a background is a neat little Photoshop trick that can come in really handy. I have used this method to remove unwanted parts of an image, or to just add some interest to a photo. With a powerful tool like Photoshop, there is always more than one way to do things, but this is the way I most often mirror a background in Photoshop.

Mirror a Background in Photoshop

Easy to Follow Steps to Mirror a Background

Open the image in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer (Command J on Mac) or (Control J on PC).

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If needed, I use this layer to clone out any distractions or object I may not want in my final image.

Duplicate the layer again, and go to Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal

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Now your top layer has been flipped.

Add a layer mask by clicking on the white rectangle with a circle in the middle at the bottom of your layers palette, circled in red below.

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Invert the mask by clicking (Command I on Mac) or (Control I on PC). Your mask will turn black (circled in blue above), and your image will now look like the original. Inverting the mask hides the layer we just added, and allows us to “paint on” the new, flipped layer only where we want it.

To paint on the new layer, use a white brush (B) to paint on the new, flipped layer where you want it. *Note: Make sure you are painting on the layer mask, and not on the actual layer.

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With Layer Masks, a trick to understanding which color to use is: White reveals, Black conceals.

Use a black brush to correct any parts that you want to “unpaint.”

*Note: If you are confused about which color to use, remember that by inverting the layer, we made the mask black, hiding the new layer (black conceals). To bring back the parts of that layer that we want, we will paint them on using a white brush (white reveals). The white brush is revealing our flipped, duplicated layer in the places we need it. 

To finalize the image, go to Layer-Flatten Image, and then Save.

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If you’d like to follow along with me as I make this edit, check out this video below where I walk you through this process step by step.

We love to hear your questions! If you have any, please leave them in the comments!