For years I have played with the various Adobe Photoshop tools to remove pesky tourists from my landscape photos. Some of the tools and methods I've tried include:

  • Clone Stamp Tool(.87 or earlier)
  • Duplicate layer techniques(3.0)
  • Healing Brush(7.0)
  • Patch Tool(7.0)
  • Spot Healing Brush(CS2)
  • Content Aware Fill(CS5)
  • Content Aware Patch(CS6)¹

I still haven't found myself sticking with one tool or set of tools in most situations. I flip back and forth and can't decide what is best. I also don't really know what others are using since just searching for a tutorial will yield results, but everyone seems to use them all as well.

My question is, assuming the shot is already complete(not as in this prior question), what post production techniques can I use to best remove human beings from the following photo? I've also included my scaled down result, using the patch tool, duplicate layers with opacity adjustments, clone stamp tool, spot healing brush, and probably other things³. It isn't perfect at 100% but probably can pass as so to the untrained eye².

Before manipulation of people After Photoshop attempt

¹I've never actually used this one | ²Facebook | ³It took me about 1.5 hours of messing around in PS CS5

  • 1
    Personally, Content Aware Patch(CS6.5) and stamp tools are my best friends. I rarely have the need to use much else. But i -generally- shoot industrial shots which have hard-straight lines which makes Content-Aware a breeze as it can keep up with the 'pattern' it detects.
    – NULLZ
    May 6, 2013 at 1:37
  • 1
    Any chance you can upload a higher res shot of the original so i can have a play with and see what 'works' for me? (also, time wise, how long did your below result take?)
    – NULLZ
    May 6, 2013 at 1:51
  • 1
    Go get the darkest ND filter you can find and take them out before you get to photoshop...
    – Joanne C
    May 6, 2013 at 3:44
  • JoanneC: That is not a post production technique. In my example shots I already had a 10 stop ND filter plus a grad. If my exposure got any longer I would have started to miss some of the sunset as well.
    – dpollitt
    May 6, 2013 at 13:12
  • @dpollitt - I know, which is why it's not an answer directly. Fair point, though, if you already had a heavy ND. Looks like they too stayed to watch the sunset.
    – Joanne C
    May 6, 2013 at 13:42

4 Answers 4


I usually try content-aware patch first. I think that works better than most of the tools in most situations. Content-aware fill is also good.

Clone stamp is good for small areas, but on larger areas I always end up being able to see patterns from the stamping, or if I use low opacity and multiple passes, that has the effect of averaging out pixels and destroying any texture.

So on large areas where content-aware doesn't work, I usually use duplicate layers as follows:

Make a selection that is similar to the area you want to fix.

enter image description here

Duplicate and move over the area to fix.

enter image description here

If necessary apply curves/levels or color adjustments to match the area.

enter image description here

Use a mask to blend

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Once this is done, I will merge the layers and then use a clone stamp at a medium opacity to clean up small areas. Here I've fixed the lower portion, then done some cleaning up with clone stamp.

enter image description here

This is pretty quick - took about 2 minutes. Even if it doesn't come out perfectly, you'll have a cleaner image to use as a base, and may then have more success with the other techniques.


The same as any removal. A clone brush, a digitizer tablet, patience and artistic talent/practice. Take surrounding material that fits and feather it in to make a distinct texture that doesn't look like it was simply copied. It can be done with a mouse and lots of brush adjustment, but it's far easier with a pen or better yet air brush style digitizer.

The big trick is making sure you sample from the right area in order to start with a close match.


Here are few simple steps to do it.

These steps are shown into following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhHccbDWt6c

  1. First of all select objects you want to keep in the image using pen tool.
  2. Right click on selected area, choose "Make a selection"
  3. Use Ctrl + c to copy it and paste it at same place, using Ctrl + v
  4. It will make a new layer.
  5. Now to remove the girl in left side, we will use clone tool. Using clone tool, we will make clone of flowers and tree, to hide the girl.
  6. You can see how to use clone tool in my another video.
  7. Now the portion you can not clone, select it and copy from another part of image. Like we have done for bench.
  8. You are done.

Removing an object is not really “magical” work. Your goal is basically to cover up the information you don’t want in an image with information you do want. Here are some core techniques to remove objects from image. Clone Stamp and Pattern Stamp Tool: This tool allows you paint into your image with your mouse or stylus. Eraser and Brush Tools: Paint flat colors and shapes, and erase cloned layers of image information. Pen, Quick Selection, Lasso, and Crop tools: Select, isolate, and remove parts of your image with these selection tools.

Apart from these, there are some other methods to remove objects from existing photographs.One of the flagship features of Photoshop CS5 is the tools for refining masks with “Smart Radiuses,” to help mask objects accurately and quickly. Removing fuzzy objects from the background, Use proper fill settings or removing fuzzy objects from the background; these are the core methods used for removing objects from images.

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