I’ve been noticing some amazing layouts in the Gallery!  Thank you for uploading your creations so we can all be inspired by them!

I was asked about photo clipping masks this week, and so I went to the gallery to snag a few examples for you.  Here are just three.

In this layout by Retired Lady, she used a clipping mask on her main photo. I love how this highlighted the photo, and how the soft edges of the mask help blend her photo perfectly into the paper.

Here is one by nightshadow.  I love how she used the mask on her photo and has it spilling out of the frame!

And one more example for you by LiMa Inspirations. Her use of a mask on her photo is the perfect touch for her gorgeous page.

So how do you use a clipping mask?  I think you will be surprised at how simple it is!

I am using Photoshop CC2017 for this tutorial, however, this technique works the same way in Photoshop Elements.

What is a clipping mask: Simply defined, a clipping mask is a shape, which will define the edges of the item that is “clipped” to it.

Pictured below is a clipping mask. It is on its own layer in Photoshop.

Place the item (photo, paper, etc.) you would like to clip to the mask on the layer above the mask.


  • Click on the top layer to select it.
  • Hover your mouse in-between the 2 layers, while holding down the ALT key.
  • Once you see the white square, with a down-pointing arrow, left click your mouse and left go.
  • Your photo or paper will take the shape of the mask.
  • (Also note how, once clipped, the photograph will be indented with a down-pointing arrow to the left. This symbol indicates that the item is clipped to the layer below.)

And that’s it!

You can clip anything you like to a mask, and that is just part of what makes them so very versatile! Experiment with clipping papers to masks too. It’s super fun!

I hope you have found this helpful!