Easily Remove People From Your Images With This Simple Trick

Aug 11, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

Easily Remove People From Your Images With This Simple Trick

Aug 11, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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It has been my experience that most people are cordial when they see you trying to capture a photo.  They may pause until you are done or ask if you are taking a shot at the moment or apologize if they feel they accidentally walked into frame.  Then again, I live in a place where we wave at strangers while driving just to be polite, so my sampling may be skewed.

But, what happens when you’re taking photos on a tripod outside a nuclear facility and the security personnel keep getting in the way of your pristine shot?  (Buggers!)  Well, you remove them.  (EDITOR’S NOTE:  “Remove” is not to be confused with “eliminate.”  We are forbidden to advocate such actions.)  In Photoshop.  Greg Benz show us the rather straight-forward process which involves shooting multiple frames of your subject (whilst keeping the camera still, i.e. mounted to a tripod) as people are moving about within the frame.

YouTube video

Breakdown of Steps:

  • 0:00 Intro & Lightroom setup
  • 2:11 Sending the images to Photoshop as layers
  • 3:35 Make Smart Object and set to “median” to get rid of moving objects
  • 5:00 Clone/heal to fix artifact
  • 6:19 Blending in original image to keep a moving object

Basically, what you’re doing is amassing a collection of images that each have a slightly different composition.  Then you bring out the areas that from each frame where nobody is present, resulting in a final image free of people (if only removing real people were only this easy…).

I have seen this technique applied to architectural photography, landscape photography, and photography as tourist destinations that are typically crawling with people.  Tired of everyone ruining your perfect shot of the Blarney Stone?  You now know what to do.

[via Fstoppers]

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Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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5 responses to “Easily Remove People From Your Images With This Simple Trick”

  1. M Rick Richards Avatar
    M Rick Richards

    In PS3 and above, you can do this in layer stacks too.

  2. mike Avatar
    mike

    For the love of pete, please stop putting “…with this simple trick” and “companies hate…” in the headlines. It makes this sounds like the clickbait garbage that buzzfeed is.

    1. mike Avatar
      mike

      That being said, this is a pretty informative video. It is similar to how I remove airplanes and satellites and random noise from astrophoto pics. Basically in this case the pedestrians are the “noise”, and the signal is the items in the image stack that are fixed. Take enough pictures and average them together and the “noise” disappears.

    2. Rick Avatar
      Rick

      At least he didn’t refer to it as a hack.

      (Allen, thank you.)

  3. James P Avatar
    James P

    Great tip. Thanks for sharing!