I did some head shots, where they wanted the background to be through the windows. It was kind of raining lightly that day hence I have a few few streaks of water on the window. They wanted a nice blurred background and this is a real eye sore.

I want to achieve the following:

  1. Water streak free background
  2. Add a blue tint to the background

What would be a good scalable way to do this? I need to process 30 pictures like this one.

Sample Picture

enter image description here

Things I've tried already:

  1. Heal tool in Lr/Ps and I feel it takes too much time.
  2. Use a magnetic select tool to create a mask over the background and try to replace background with one picture with all the heals. This process also takes a long time and becomes complicated for portraits with curly hair.
  3. Draw a mask on the background and turn down clarity & dehaze. There is some improvement but background becomes too blurry.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ take a photo of the windows without subject or rain, then using compositing replace the windows in your shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – cmason
    Oct 14, 2016 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably the quickest way since you don't live in the UK is to just take the photo again when it's not raining. \$\endgroup\$
    – user29608
    Oct 14, 2016 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh man, it took me a minute to realize you blacked out the photo. I'm like, wow... you need some foreground light! \$\endgroup\$
    – rrauenza
    Nov 24, 2016 at 6:05

4 Answers 4


There's no way to automate this. If you need it done quickly and your time is too valuable to do it yourself than you should consider hiring someone to do the cleanup work for you with more experience.

The fastest method I would think is to just airbrush it considering the background is very simple. If you want better results you could use Frequency Separation on it but it's a bit slower.

If the camera is on a tripod so the background doesn't change than you could save some time by copying and pasting the bulk of it from image to image so you only have to clean up the parts by the people in each image.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I decided to go all manual in LR. Airbrushed over the background to add the blue tint and NR. Spot removed each streak on all the pictures and used skin softening to smooth out the faces. \$\endgroup\$
    – Danish
    Nov 25, 2016 at 16:21

Due to the dynamic nature of how rain falls, and assuming you do not want to blur your photos like crazy, I cannot think of a good, automated way to clear up the drops... You can, however, use a clone brush and fix them rather quickly -- any photo editing suite should have one.

To get your blue background, you can use Script-Fu in GIMP to set the Hue-Saturation to more of a blue color... Assuming all of your subjects are silhouettes like this, you shouldn't notice the color change as much on them, giving you an automated way to make it have a stronger blue color.

If that's not good enough, you'll have to colorize layers and erase the subject area manually... Which makes you lose the automation, but 30 photos isn't too bad once you get a flow figured out.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think his subject is a silhouette. I think he quickly blocked us from seeing the real subject. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14, 2016 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like you're right, didn't catch that at all... Well, I guess old perseverance is the only automation to be had here. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14, 2016 at 20:26

Get the trial version of Topaz ReMask (and/or buy it) and you can create a mask of the person very quickly. You should be able to create a mask for your sample in less than a minute. Then use that to composite your subjects over a clean background.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why was this downvoted? This was a technique the OP actually tried but found too difficult, the software mentioned would likely eliminate that difficulty. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:55

If the pattern is the same in each picture, then you might be able to use spot removal and other tools in LR to fix one image, and then sync the setting across all 30 images. To sync settings you can go to the Library module, select the pictures and click "Sync Setting" in the right-hand pane. Make sure you sync all the settings - including spot removal.


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