I’d like to start this post with a disclaimer that I am a huge fan of candid photography & I was introduced to lifestyle photography because of my passion for getting those raw and authentic looking photos. Even during my time as a wedding photographer, I preferred the unscripted poses instead of the more formal portrait styles.
With the heat of the moment, I am not always focused on things in the background that may take away from the main subject of the photo. Then I look back on my camera roll and I realize that my favorite photo has that ‘distracting‘ thing (trash, personal information, strangers) in the background. So what do you do? You save the photo!
How to Remove Small Distractions from Your Photos
With the Clone Tool (on Lightroom & Photoshop)
Obviously we want to get it right the first time, but if there were any type of distractions in your photo you would hope that it is a small one. Small distractions are the best distractions because it doesn’t take much skill or time to cover them.
To fix any small distractions, I use the clone tool on Adobe Photoshop. You can use any program/app with a clone or stamp tool feature. A clone tool, or clone stamp tool, allows you to copy one area of an image onto another area of an image like a stamp. This feature works best when the background of the distraction and the new change matches.
Use the slider to see the differences between both images. With the Clone Tool in Lightroom, I removed the manhole cover on the bottom right corner of the image. I recommend the contour when trying to remove small distractions on an image.
When using the Clone Tool, I make sure to turn down the opacity to at least 75%. This allows me to smooth out the distracting area without completely copying another portion of the photo. This style seems smoother on the eyes and is less likely to be caught.
With the Content-Aware Fill(on Photoshop)
If the distraction is a bit bigger, you may have some issues effectively covering the distraction with the clone tool – this is where Content-Aware Fill comes in! Content-Aware Fill allows you to get a more hands-on approach with removing something from an image by giving you a more interactive editing experience.
When using the Content-Aware Fill option on a Photoshop you must select the portion of the image you are trying to adjust with the lasso tool or a square selection, click Content-Aware Fill from the Edit dropdown menu, highlight similar colored and textured portions of the photo, then allow the program to complete the rest. Photoshop will ask you to confirm the changes on the photo, then the changes will appear on a new layer on top of the image. If you approve the changes you can merge the layers to create your new image.
This is the final product! There’s a few spots that can be adjusted, but this is the look with just one click and no additional adjustments. Depending on the direction I go next with this image I may be able to just cover it with new font without trying to hide anything else.
Did These Tips Help Save Any of Your Travel Photos?