How to Mirror an Image in Photoshop CC [5 Mins]

Creating a mirror image in Photoshop is one of the many types of image edits available in this powerful platform.

You might have seen this being used in marketing at some point. It’s a tool used to make an image stand out by showcasing it uniquely.

This post is going to show you how to create a mirror image in Photoshop. It’s surprisingly easy and doesn’t require extensive photo editing skills.

Just download Adobe Photoshop for Windows 7, 10 or MacOS to start mirroring images for free right now.

Creating a mirror image in Photoshop is not too difficult, but if you find yourself still having trouble pulling it off, consider outsourcing it to a photo expert like the Artwork Adobe Company.

Here is step by step instructions on how to mirror an image in Photoshop:

Step 1: Import the Image and Unlock the Background

The first step is to either open the image in Photoshop or import it. When you start with an image, it always defaults as a Background Layer. But we need to be able to move the image along the background, which requires us to unlock it. Don’t worry! It’s super easy.

  • In the Layers Panel, double click on the Layer’s Name, which should be labeled as “Background.”
  • Rename the layer whatever you want. Most people use the word “Photo” or “Image.” This will unlock the background.
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Step 2: Add Space to the Image

Now we need to add some space to both sides of the image.

  • From the Menu, select Canvas Size.
  • In the window that pops up, check the box beside Relative. You will then need to set the Width to 100% and the Height to 0%.
  • To ensure that the new area is added to both sides equally, select the Anchor Grid’s Center Square.
  • Click on the OK button.
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Note: Depending on your settings, the image might not fit onto your screen. If it doesn’t, then select View from the Menu. Select the option that says Fit on Screen.

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Step 3: Add a Vertical Guide to Determine the Exact Center

It’s essential to find the exact vertical center of the image, so we need a guide to do that.

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  • Select View from the Menu. Then click on New Guide.
  • You will find yourself in a new window. From here, select Vertical and then set it to 50%. Press OK. Photoshop will divide the image using a vertical guide right down the center.
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Step 4: Move the Center Focus to One Side

The vertical line we just added is the flip point that will be used to create the mirror effect. So we will move the central focus to one side of that line and use the opposite side for the flip effect. The side we choose depends on the image.

  • From the Toolbar, click on the Move Tool.
  • Hold the Shift key on your keyboard and drag the central focus of the image so that it’s to the side of the line.

Note: Anything you leave on the opposite side of the line is deleted, which can be useful if you want to clip part of the image.

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Step 5: Select the Image

  • From the Layers Panel, hold the CTRL button on your keyboard and click on the Preview Thumbnail of the layer.
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Note: The selected area will outline the image at this point. So we need to narrow it down to the part of the image that is to be mirrored. We do that by reshaping the outline.

  • From the Menu, click on Select and then Transform Selection.
  • At this point, there should be clickable areas in the selection area. These are known as Handles. What you need to do is adjust the side handle on the opposite side of the area that you want to mirror. Click and drag it so that the entire side you are mirroring is selected while the opposite side is not selected.

Note: For Photoshop 2019 or later, you will need to hold the Shift key on your keyboard as you drag the handle.  

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Step 6: Copy the Newly Selected Portion to a New Layer

What we’re going to do now is create a new layer using the newly selected area.

  • Go to Menu and then click on Layer.
  • Click on New and then select Layer via Copy.
  • The area that you previously selected will now appear as a new layer labeled “Layer 1.” Double click on it to rename it to whatever you want. This is going to be our Mirrored Layer.

Step 7: Create the Mirror Image in Photoshop

Next, we will have to slip the content of the Mirrored Layer to create our mirror image.

  • Click on Edit and then select the Free Transform option.
  • Drag the reference point so that it points over to the guide. This will place a similar number of Handles around the Mirrored Layer that is just like those used in Step 5.
  • Click on the reference point in the center of the Mirror Image layer. Drag it to the side of the image so that it is placed over the handle on the same side as your guide.
  • Using the Free Transform command, perform a right-click inside of the Free Transform Box. Select the option to Flip Horizontal. This should flip the image. Click on Accept to finish.
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Step 8: Trim the Extra White Space from the Image

Now we need to remove the extra trim from around the mirrored image.

  • From the Menu, click on Image and then Trim.
  • Inside of the Trim Window, click on Transparent Pixels. Be sure that you select all the boxes (Right, Left, Top, Bottom). Click on OK.

Photoshop should trim away everything except for the two mirrored images. So you will be left with two opposing mirror images of the original. Now you can save this new image and use it to your heart’s content.

All you need to do is open the file and crop whatever side of the image you want to use. Or in some cases, you might choose to use both.

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Creating a mirror image on Photoshop is extremely simple. However, if you have to do it very often, it’s a good idea to seek help from professionals.


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