If you are retouching a photograph, for the sake of safety (and your sanity if you accidentally erase something you didn’t want to) , you should do all of your retouching on a separate layer above your image. By doing this you are only changing your new layer and won’t damage your main image and you can play with blend modes and opacity to achieve different levels of retouching.

So if you are using the Clone Stamp tool (S) or the Spot Healing Brush (J) or the Healing Brush (J), in the Options bar at the top of the screen, turn on the Sample All Layers option. Now you will be sampling from your main image but painting onto the new layer you created above it.

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