Use clipping paths!

We often run surveys asking customers or contributors about their experience with Dreamstime. You will probably see more ideas in my blog or somewhere else on the site ;)

Here is one of them:"Clipping Path Outlines on photographs of objects are a handy feature that I haven't yet experienced on Dreamstime."

Although I've seen images with clipping paths this customer probably didn't probably download one of them. It is good to keep in mind when post-processing your photo that there is enough interest from buyers for this so try to provide a clipping path for the main subject in your image. If you work with layers or isolated objects that should be easy to do.

How to create one in Photoshop:

1. Separate your object in a different layer. Make sure its margins are well preserved and that you are extremely careful when isolating the object.

2. Select it by using the magic wand tool

3. Right click the selection and choose "Save selection". Assign it a name such as "name of the object".

4. Continue with whatever other postprocessing you want to make or save the file (always go for the highest quality, don't forget that).

5. When uploading it you will want the customer to know about a clipping path. you can include full details within the description area, enter "clipping path" within the keywords and maybe within the title: i.e. Object name (with clipping path)

Photo credits: Photoeuphoria.

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September 07, 2007


Yes, I agree professional traced path is a time saver for designers and paths converted from selections (i.e. magic wand) are usually not very precise which means you need to rework it.

However, path has its limitation in objects which are blurry without well-defined contours such as hairs or object in motion. In some cases I believe alpha mask channel would do a better job for the isolation. Is there any benefit to include PNG or PSD files as an additional formats?

September 06, 2007


Dear Serban,

Thanks for the useful post. We are a professional Photoshop clipping path service provider and core graphic design process outsourcing company. Our clients are professional graphic designers. Therefore, they require the most crispy cutout with clipping path. Crispy cutout is not possible with manual hand drawn clipping path(s). Any shortcut like "Magic Wand" for creating path is not considered professional to our clients. Moreover, our expert hands thinks that using "Magic Wand" takes more time as you have to fine tune each anchor point of the clipping path to get that professional look.

September 03, 2007


Dersankt, the efforts of a photographer can spare the time of all designers who download the image. You can devote 10 minutes to create a path, while save 10 designers 100 minutes (let's say your image will be download 10 times)!
More, in most cases you already work with isolated objects in layers, so this is just a "save" option within your workflow. Creating the path specifically for this may be a sign of good will, but saving it is just avoiding your work being wasted, while giving the designer an extra incentive to download your image and not another one.

August 31, 2007


i always thought this was a designer's job. photographers alrady put in a lot of time in processing the photos to be on stock sites to get a very small return on the time we give to each photo.

wouldnt designers be appreciative of the time we invest in shooting, processing and keywording etc. i think we would have more incentive to do this if the price was raised. like ten cents per pic with clipping path orsomething.

that wud benefit both the designers and the photoraphers.

August 17, 2007


I always create Clipping Path in my isolations, but I know that some stocks delete them from our JPGs. Do they leave CP on Dreamstime?
I make a selection of the object, then go Paths - Make new Path - Save Path - Clipping Path. JPGs preserve such clipping paths, but they don't preserve alpha channels with selections.

July 31, 2007


I've put a tutorial on my own blog that explains how to do this. I tried putting the link to it here but wasn't able to?

July 31, 2007


Good idea --really didn't know that was an option D'oh anyways save it as ---what a .tiff?

July 31, 2007


I strongly agree !!! Many times I downloaded pictures of isolated objects. In the process of production of this pictures, the photographer used clipping paths, but then the path is deleted before uploading to Dreamstime. That forces me to redo the path in order to be able to use the picture in the final design. By just keeping the path, you're helping the designers to save a lot of time !!!

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