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 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 to sell.

    How to Make a Digital Stamp Portrait From a Photo

    To make a digital stamp portrait from a photo, you can use two methods: one using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and the other using the free software alternative, GIMP.

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  • 02 of 06

    How to Create a Rubber Stamp Effect Portrait Using Photoshop

    digital stamp in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen/The Spruce

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

    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 check 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 by opening the photo you want to work with.

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  • 03 of 06

    Open Your Photo

    Select and open image file
    Kate Pullen/The Spruce

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

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  • 04 of 06

    Open the Threshold Filter

    Opening the threshold filter in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen/The Spruce

    Next, we'll keep your image open and select the Threshold filter. If you're using Photoshop Elements, 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. 

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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 and all the others are converted to white.

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  • 06 of 06

    How to Adjust the Threshold Filter

    Adjusting the Threshold Filter in Photoshop
    Kate Pullen/The Spruce

    The Threshold tool is simple to use because it really only has the one control: the slider below the histogram. The histogram is a graph-like representation of how dark and light pixels are distributed throughout the photo. Just drag the slider control to the left or right and see how it affects the photo.

    If you drag to the left, the overall the photo will get lighter because there are 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 our sample photo, we'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 make it into a real rubber stamp.