How to Create a Digital Stamp Portrait From a Photo

  • 01 of 06

    How to Make a Digital Stamp Portrait from a Photo

    Digital stamp made with Photoshop
    Kate Pullen

    If you fancy are looking for a totally unique digital stamp to add to your next crafting project, how about making a portrait digital stamp from a photo. 


    There are many reasons why you might want to create a digital stamp portrait from a photo. Here are few:

    • A digital stamp is black and white. Therefore it is cheaper to print than a full-color photo. This makes a digital stamp a perfect option if you are creating multiple versions of a card or invitation.
    • You can color the digital stamp using marker pens, pencils or paints. Go to town with colors and experiment. You'll be able to create effects ranging from pop art to realistic.
    • The black and white digital image can be used to create a rubber stamp. This is a great option if you want to stamp the same image over and over again without printing it and is ideal for teachers who may want to personalize their comments to students with a stamped image.
    • You can offer a custom digital stamp service as a gift for friends and family or even sell.

    How to Make a Digital Stamp Portrait From a Photo

    Read on to learn how to make a digital stamp portrait from a photo. You'll find two versions, one using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and the other using the free software alternative, GIMP.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    How to Create a Rubber Stamp Effect Portrait Using Photoshop

    digital stamp in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen

    Here is a fun technique for giving a photo a rubber stamp like effect using Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. I'll be using an older version of Photoshop, but you should be able to follow along without too much difficulty using most versions of Photoshop Elements.

    This tutorial basically makes use of just a single tool to create the effect and that is the Threshold adjustment or Filter. If you like super simple projects, this is for you.

    If you're interested in creating this effect but don't have a copy of Photoshop, you may be interested in checking out our other tutorial that shows how to create this effect using GIMP. GIMP is a free and open source image editor that is generally considered to be the best free alternative to Photoshop.

    Assuming you've got your copy of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements open, let's get started. On the next page, learn to start with opening the photo that you're going to work with.

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  • 03 of 06

    Open Your Photo

    searching for file to make digital stamp in Photoshop
    Select photo. Kate Pullen

    Go to the File menu and from the drop-down menu click on Open and then in the window that opens you can navigate to wherever your photo is saved. ​Double-clicking on the photo file will open it in Photoshop.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Open the Threshold Filter

    Opening the threshold filter in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen

    Now your photo should be open and hopefully, you managed to find something a little less visually challenging than my photo – turns out the old warning about the wind changing is true.

    If you're using Photoshop Elements, you will probably need to go to the Filter menu and then from the Adjustments sub-menu, select Threshold. In Photoshop, go to the Image menu and select Threshold from the Adjustments sub-menu. If you prefer using Adjustment Layers, you could also use the Threshold tool this way as the technique is just the same.

    With the Threshold tool open, you should see your photo turn to black and white. Next, learn how the tool works and why that happens.

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  • 05 of 06

    How the Threshold Filter Works

    Although you can just adjust the slider and see how the effect changes, it makes sense to have an understanding of what's going on. If you imagine a scale of 0-100, with zero being pure black and 100 being pure white, all the pixels in the image are turned black or white depending on how light or dark they are.

    When the Threshold tool is first opened, all pixels with a lightness value of 50 or less are converted to black with all the others converted to white.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    How to Adjust the Threshold Filter

    How to Adjust the Threshold Filter in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen

    The Threshold tool is simplicity itself as it really only has the one control, that being the slider below the histogram. The histogram is a graph-like representation of how dark and light pixels are distributed through the photo, but you don't need to understand it. Just drag the slider control to the left or right and see how it affects the photo.

    If you drag to the left, overall the photo will get lighter because there are now more pixels to the right of the slider and all pixels to the right are turned white. Moving the slider to the right has the opposite effect, with more black pixels being added to the image.

    For my photo, I've moved the slider just a little to the right. It's barely noticeable in the accompanying image by looking at the slider, but if you look at the Threshold Level box, the value has increased from 128 to 132. Depending on your photo, you may have to make a more dramatic change in either direction. It really can vary quite widely from photo to photo.

    When you're happy with the result, just press the OK button to apply the change. You can now use your image as a digital stamp or even have it made into a real rubber stamp.