Rub out the people you don’t like. Part 1

nine dragon screen wall stock photo

Dragon Screen Wall in the Behai Park in Beijing, China

This is just to show how I managed to wait long enough to get a clear view of the wall. But I had to crop it fairly tightly still.

OK, let’s find out how to rub out the people you don’t like.

Let’s get back to a Stroll in the Park.

Two variations of a Strol in the Park

two variations of a digital photograph a “Stroll in the Park”

One of the great things about digital imaging is that there are so many new approaches to solving problems and if one doesn’t work you can try another.

As I said in my last post, you often can’t wait until there are no people in your picture. So here’s another approach:

Take a series of pictures which are basically the same except that the people have moved on.

(There’s a ‘right’ way of doing this which is to put the camera on a solid tripod, set manual exposure, and use a cable or remote release to trigger the shutter. This will ensure that all the main elements of your scene are accurately aligned.)

In this case I took the pictures handheld.

The idea is to replace elements from one picture with some from the other until you have the perfect composite.

This will need some computer manipulation and just to emphasize that any programme with layers will do I’m going to use my Photoshop Elements version 2.

First of all, I’ll have to open both the pictures.

When I’ve opened them I’ll want to see them both together on the screen and so I’ll choose the tile option.

tile option digital photo

Then I’ll choose the move icon so that I can copy one picture over the other.

move digital photo

If I drag the move tool with my mouse over the second picture while holding down the SHIFT key, the pictures should align perfectly on two separate layers.

shift and drag digital photo

The cursor changes to show I’ve copied the image and can release the SHIFT key.

new layer cursor release shift digital photo

Voila! I now have my two pictures on two separate layers.

two layers digital photo

Now I have the pictures in position and I’m ready to get on with recreating the single composite.

One way of doing this will be in the next post.

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2 Responses to Rub Out the People You Don’t Like. Part 1

  • Good tip, I have recently read about this method in a book also. Does it really work with the two pictures taken without a tripod? I guess it might if the background is rather feature-less.

  • johnphoto says:

    Thanks a lot for your interest Dan. I’ve had a look at your site and always love tips. Now it all depends what you mean by “Work”. I said that it’s always better to use a tripod here if you’re properly prepared but it it’s always worth having a go. Of course you might have to move some of the information to make it fit exactly or rotate it a bit. There’s some trial and error. It might not give the best result every time but you can combine it with cloning and anything else you can think of. I actually find this technique works well when there’s a lot of detail in the background because then it’s easier to match up. And I only do this when I feel waiting might not work. It’s not just a question of patience but scenes can change quite quickly. My approach is based on a need in stock photography where identifiable people are a big problem.

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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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