Imagine yourself walking along the most photogenic landscape you’ve ever seen. The sun is about to set and the light is as good as it gets. You’ve found the perfect composition and you might very well be about to capture your new favorite image.
However, there’s one major problem. A issue that might ruin your shot. People. They are everywhere. The paths are full of them running around and enjoying the beautiful scenery. At this moment you might feel just as frustrated as you’re happy.
Luckily there are ways to get an image with no people in it, without spending hours upon hours in post production. In the article How to Avoid Crowds at Tourist Traps I mentioned various steps on how to avoid the crowds at popular locations, but it’s not always possible. Here’s one simple way to remove people from images.
For this technique to work you will need two essential things; a tripod and Adobe Photoshop.
1. Capture Multiple Images
The first step to removing people from your images starts outside in the field. No, it’s not yelling “wolf” out loud – even though that could be effective!
When you have found the composition you wish to use, take a moment to decide if this is the exact one you want to use. During the next 20 minutes you’ll be taking this exact image over and over.
Now it’s time to start photographing:
Take a picture every 20-25 seconds. This will allow people to move between the images.
Take a total of 20-30 images. If some people stick to the same place all the time you might take a couple extra images.
That’s it! We are done in the field and it’s time to head back home and remove the people from your images.
2. Blend Images in Photoshop
It’s in the second part of the technique where the magic happens. All the images we just took will now be blended into one single photograph, without the people.
- Import the images to your computer.
- Open Photoshop
- Click File -> Scripts -> Statistics
- Choose Median as your Stack Mode in the box that appears and check the box for “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images”.
When the image is done processing, zoom in 100% and look for any spots where the script wasn’t able to do a perfect job. If you find such spots select the Spot Removal Tool and carefully heal these places.
That’s it! You now have an image without people!