Replacing People You Don’t Want

Oops! I thought I’d arranged for this post to go out in the middle of my holiday! It didn’t. Still, don’t worry, Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

In my last post I emphasized how important it is that people in a stock photograph should be either:

Not be recognizable
Have signed a model release.

The reason, as I said, is that photographs with recognizable people in them cannot be used for commercial purposes such as advertising.

In my photo “a stroll through the park” we removed the two men strolling by using a rub out and replace technique.

Now we are still left with the man sitting on the bench, It’s clear from the blow up that he is recognizable.

We have a number of options:

We can crop the picture to exclude the recognizable figure – this will not work in every case and will always alter the composition and reduce the picture area.

We can use copy and clone techniques to eliminate the figure altogether – this needs some skill and will, of course, alter the composition and content of the picture.

We can replace the recognizable figure with information which will be acceptable from the legal/commercial point of view.

The key to this approach is to have a collection of faces and figures which can be used legally.

One source is pictures of friends, family and other model released pictures – we can shoot a whole variety of these especially for this purpose.

Another source is royalty free pictures with the appropriate rights. These are widely available and need not be large or high resolution.

For this image I have used a royalty free image obtained from the disc provided with Steve Caplin’s must read book “How to Cheat at Photoshop”.

The final, corrected image, depends on two procedures:

First – replace the original head with an appropriate model released/licenced head.

Next – as a finishing touch, select appropriate items of clothing and change important features such as shape or colour. Here I have selected the blue clothes and changed them to green.

The final image is no longer recognizable as the original figure, but the basic information and composition of the picture is preserved.

This is a post in haste as I’m off for a family holiday. See you when I’m back.

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February 2021
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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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