5 Steps for Removing People in Adobe Photoshop

5 Steps for Removing People in Adobe Photoshop

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One thing I hate when taking a photograph is people who get in my way. They destroy my vision and are impossible to get rid of. As if I can yell at them to leave. But that’s the fact of life unless you’re in an isolated place, there will be other people who end up in your frame. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice and this is one of the choices you can do. These are 5  Steps for Removing People in Adobe Photoshop.

Now, for landscape photography, it is always a problem when there are people who get in the frame (unless they want to). That happens a lot when you’re in a crowded location, like a tourist spot. But it doesn’t mean you can’t take a shot there. There are many ways to handle this issue. One easiest thing to do is use a long exposure shot. It minimizes any moving object. It is easy, but in the case of completely removing people, for me, isn’t really effective. So another alternative is using post-processing in photoshop and this is how.

5 Steps for Removing People in Adobe Photoshop


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 used if you want shot long exposure.

Remember this tutorial is for removing people at crowded places. Not if it’s just one or two people.

1. Take Many Photos

Before we jump into Photoshop we should start in the 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 seconds or more after each shot. Depend on how crowded the place you photograph is.

For example, if you in a tourist spot on Sunday (you can imagine what happen), you probably should increase the interval up to 30 seconds or even a minute. Because if you keep bursting after each shot, there probably won’t be a lot of difference 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 clicking File -> Scripts -> Load Files. Then the Load Layers box will open.


Click Browse and choose all your photos. Then click OK.


All of the photos are in photoshop as layers. You can see it on the bottom right.

Align Layers

This is not really part of the step. But sometimes it happens when your photo doesn’t exactly align and there is a small difference because your camera was shaken.

To fix this you can select all the layers then click Edit->Auto-Align Layers. And all your photos will be aligned automatically.

But if you’re already sure it wasn’t shaken or moving you can just skip this step. Make sure your photo is aligned by zooming in the very detail and checking one by one.



3. Convert to Smart Object

It’s time to combine all of them. There are many ways 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 takes time.


The more photos, the longer it took to convert them. After that, all your photos will combine as one layer.

4. Turn into Stack Mode

Now this time we gonna remove the people from the picture. Click Layer->Smart Object->Stack Mode.


In stack mode, there will be many options you can choose from. Try to experiment with all of them. For this picture, I found that the Median works the best.


With that, all of the pictures combine and remove the people. But it’s not done yet.

Also read: Quick tips on Sharpening Image with High Pass on Photoshop

5. Remove the Rest

In my experience removing people using these steps, it’s rare that I can remove them fully. The only time I can is because there weren’t many people in the first place. There will be some left that can’t be removed automatically with photoshop. Because of that, you have to do it manually.

In this fifth of 5 Quick Steps for Removing People in Photoshop, these steps have a few options you can use.

You can use the overlap of the image with the same image you took before as a layer. Find the one you think has the less movement (I mean people) and just overlap that part of the photo with Layer Mask. And simply add 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 use of the Brush Tool. Now, if you’re using photoshop, one tool that I say you have to learn is the 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 tutorials 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


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