Adobe PhotoShop – Removing Unwanted People/Objects

By Megan P Galope

Have you ever been in a beautiful location trying to get that perfect landscape image, but people keep walking through your shot? This is a common problem in popular places. I had this particular issue on a recent photo workshop in Sedona, AZ. Luckily, there’s a fairly simple way to deal with this.

The key to this method is that the people must be moving—it doesn’t work if the people remain in the same place. First, be sure to use a tripod. Take several shots in a row without moving the camera or changing the settings. Be sure to take enough so that the people have moved to completely different places in the frame.

Once you have downloaded your photos, choose images that show the people in different places. You may only need two images or you may need more. Open these images as layers in Photoshop. You can do this either by choosing FileScriptsLoad Files into Stack in Photoshop, or in Lightroom, highlight the photos and choose PhotoEdit InOpen as Layers in Photoshop. Do not make any edits to the images prior to opening them—you will make any edits to your final image.

First, we want to make sure the layers are exactly lined up. To do this, select all layers (click on the top layer, hold down the Shift key while clicking on the bottom layer), and choose EditAuto Align Layers. Under Projection, make sure Auto is chosen and click OK. You may have to crop the result if you see any white around the edges.

Next, click on the top layer so that it is the only one selected. To remove the people from the top image, we are going to erase them, which will cause the next layer to show through. Choose the eraser tool from the toolbar. Resize the eraser to the appropriate size (you can do this using the “[“ and “]” keys) and erase the people in your photograph.

Eraser tool

Continue to use the tool until all people and unwanted objects are removed from your photograph.

Final Image

Using this method, you no longer have to avoid popular locations to make great landscape images

Megan P. Galope is a Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.

Twitter = @megangalope