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Photoshop Elements > Blending Modes

Lighten & Darken Blending Modes

These blending modes are often used with the Healing Brush tool and the Clone Stamp tool.

When using the Healing Brush or the Clone Stamp tool, you may want to select the Lighten or Darken blending modes in options bar/Tool Options.

The use of these blending modes is illustrated with the Clone Stamp tool.

Their use is similar when you're using the Healing Brush tool.

Let's say there are a few distracting white spots in a sky, from white racing pigeons.

In options bar/Tool Options, set Mode to Darken.

The Clone Stamp tool will now only affect pixels lighter than the sky, such as the pigeons.

If there are distracting black specs in the sky, say, from crows, set Mode to Lighten.

The Clone Stamp tool will now only affect pixels darker than the sky, such as the crows.

The chart below describes when you need to use the Darken and Lighten blending modes.

To Be Cloned

The Background

To Be Sampled


Use this

Blending Mode

Lighter spots Is darker than the spots Airplane lights on a night sky Darken

The spots, lighter than the background, will be darkened.

The darker background won't change.

Darker spots Is lighter than the spots Mole on a face Lighten

The spots, darker than the background, will be lightened.

The lighter background won't be affected.


You can use this example to try out the Lighten and darken modes.


Click Photograph to Enlarge


To learn how these blending modes work, and if you know your way around blending modes, go to Darken and Lighten.

If you're new to blending modes, go to Blending Modes.