One thing I hate when I taking a photograph is people who getting in my way. They destroy my vision and impossible to get rid of. As if I can yelled at them to leave. But that’s the fact of life, unless you’re in an isolated place, there will be another people who end up in your frame. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice and this is one of the choice you can make. This is 5 step to remove people from photo with photoshop.
Now, for landscape photography it is always a problem when there people who get in the frame (unless they want to). That happen a lot when you’re in a crowded location, like tourist spot. But it doesn’t mean you can’t shot there. There many way to handle this issue. One easiest thing to do is using a long exposure shot. It minimize any moving object. It is easy, but in case of removing people, for me isn’t really effective. So another alternate is using post-processing in photoshop and this is how.
What we gonna do is combine all these photos into a single file to make the same kind of long exposure effect. So this method can also be use if you want shot long exposure.
Remember this tutorial is for removing people at crowded places. Not if it just one or two people.
1. Take Many Photos
Before we jump into photoshop we should start in processing step.
Start taking photos of the same place and frame. Keep the burst, take more than 20 photos if you have to. For the timing, you should have an interval of 10 second or more after each shot. Depend on how crowded the place you photograph are.
For example if you in a tourist spot in sunday (you can imagine what happen) You probably should increase the interval up to 30 second or even a minute. Because if you keep bursting after each shot, there probably won’t be a lot of different in each shot. Which isn’t really effective.
Remember each shot have to be in the same position and didn’t move. You can use a tripod for that.
2. Open Photos as Layers in Photoshop
Now into your computer and open photoshop. What I use is Adobe Photoshop CC.
First open all of your photos as layers. You can do this by click File -> Scripts -> Load Files . Then the Load Layers box will open.
Click Browse and choose all your photos. Then click OK.
All of photos is in photoshop as layers. You can see on the bottom right.
This is not really part of the step. But sometime it happen when your photo don’t exactly align and there are a small different because your camera was shaken.
To fix this you can select all the layers than click Edit->Auto-Align Layers. And all your photos will be align automatically.
But if you’re already sure it wasn’t shaken or moving you can just skip this step. Make sure your photo is align by zooming the very detail and check one by one.
3. Convert to Smart Object
Its time combine all of them. There are many way to do that. But for this purpose you should combine it with Smart Object.
To do this select all your layers. Then Right click your mouse and Click Convert to Smart Object. It usually take time.
The more photos, the more longer it took to convert them. After that all your photo will combine as one layer.
4. Turn into Stack Mode
Now this time we gonna remove the peoples from photos. Click Layer->Smart Object->Stack Mode.
In the stack mode, there will be many option you can choose. Try to experiment all of them. For this purpose, I found that Median work the best.
With that all of the picture combine and remove the people. But it’s not done yet.
5. Remove the Rest
In my experience removing people using these steps, it’s rarely that I can remove them fully.The only time I can is because there wasn’t much people in the first place. There will be some left that can’t be remove automatically with photoshop. Because of that you have to do it manually.
There are view option you can use.
You can use the overlap the image with the same image you took before as layer. Find the one you think have lest movement (I mean people) and just overlap that part of photo with Layer Mask. And simply add the the part you want with Brush Tool.
Another option is you can just paint it. Click Layers->New->Layer or you can just click the New Layer Icon on the bottom right. Then start using Clone Tool or Healing Brush Tool on the left side. Combine those two tools to get the best result.
The main point of this step is the using of Brush Tool. Now, if you’re using photoshop, one tool that I say you have to learn is brush tool. Because for photography you will use that tool the most. Or even that’s the only tool you gonna do.
I can’t really show you how to do it right now. But there are many video tutorial about this on YouTube. One recommendation is from Phlearn. Really help me a lot the first time I use photoshop.
After all said and done you done removing those people from your photo
See the different: