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Removing Tourists in Shots using Photoshop

Lesson 35 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Removing Tourists in Shots using Photoshop

Lesson 35 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

35. Removing Tourists in Shots using Photoshop


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Removing Tourists in Shots using Photoshop

So we were talking about tourists before. Here is another example, look at this landscape we got, pretty nice. But that's not what it looks like when you get there, there's always tourists there, it's next to impossible to get something there without a tourist in it. Well, I have some layers here, I'm gonna turn them off. You see all the tourists? Weren't that many, but we had some. Let's get rid of those tourists. I'm going to get rid of the layers that are here because they're not usually magically there. They're just the ones that I'd created when I did this image before. If you have the Move tool active, that's the tool on the upper left, and you hit the Delete key, it will delete whatever layers are currently selected, that's what I just did. And when I do this image, I want to do it in a non-destructive way. Non-destructive meaning I can undo anything that I do. And so I'm going to create a brand new empty layer before I do my retouching. To create a new layer, you click on this ...

icon. I usually double-click on the name of the layer up here and I name that, Weeds Be Gone, because I think of retouching as pulling the weeds in the garden that is my picture. Then, I'm going to come in and I think the first thing I'm going to try to do is use my Lasso tool to isolate an area like this, and I'm going to try that Content Aware Fill. And we're going to see how much work it can do for me. So, Edit, Fill, Fill is grayed out right now and the reason why it's grayed out right now, I had to glance over to my Layers panel to figure out is it doesn't know where I want the result to be deposited. If you look at my Layers panel, there are no layers active. And if there's no layer active, where is it supposed to put it? I need to make sure that layer that I just renamed goes active, then if I go over here and choose Fill, Content-Aware. You're going to often get this happening when you have an empty layer that you're working on, and you try to use Content-Aware Fill, and that's why if you happen to purchase the course, one of the actions that you get makes that not happen. It makes it so instead of going to the Edit menu and choosing Fill using Content-Aware, you instead apply this action. And it will make it so it will force it to work. You might be thinking, how can you force it to work, what are you talking about? Well, what I can do is do something special, which would create a layer here that looks like whatever's in the rest of the image. That's what this is filled with. Then, going up here and choosing Fill would work, because the entire picture is in that layer. Then, I can select the opposite and hit Delete. So that now, we have the result of what it had, turn off the layer, it's just that little piece, and not the rest. So it's not something you want to mentally think about, it's just know that I can trick it to make it work, and I've done it through an action. If you need to do that yourself, because you're not going to buy the course to get that action, then what you'd have to do is this. First, create a brand new empty layer. Second, hold down the Option key and choose Merge Visible. That's going to put whatever this picture looks like into that empty layer. That's whatever this picture looks like, doesn't matter if it's 10 layers that it's made out of or one, that's what the image would look like. Then, you'd have to make your selection. And then this would work, the reason it'll work is it always works when your entire picture is in the layer that you're working on. And so it works. But then I didn't want the rest of what's in that layer, just didn't want it, I don't want this big copy of the image that's completely filling that layer. So you select Inverse to get the opposite, and watch the Layers panel, I hit Delete to get rid of the rest of the picture, because I didn't need it. And then finally you choose Merge Down to put it back on to the layer that you were actually wanting to work on. You want to remember those things? No, you want an action that just does it for you. So that's why I create actions that save time. Now that wasn't perfect, the thing we just did. Look at this rock, it's kind of halfway sitting in here. The other tool that I might use in this case is the Spot Healing Brush. With the Spot Healing Brush, I always use a hard-edged brush. And I might come in here and paint over wherever it doesn't look good, and see if it can do a better job. When it messes up, only paint over the area where it messed up. Usually the area where it's messed up will be smaller than the area that you initially painted over. So you keep working on smaller and smaller areas as it messes up less and less and less. And I don't know exactly what this area's supposed to look like, so I'm not being too precise there. Know that if you're working on an empty layer though, that's where your retouching is being deposited, you will first need to go up here to the top of your screen and there's a checkbox called Sample All Layers, it will need to be turned on. The default setting doesn't have it turned on. And that's true for all your retouching tools, there'll be a setting at the top of your screen, it'll either be a checkbox like this, or if I switch to a different retouching tool, it might be a pop-up menu like this one here. And the default setting will usually be Current Layer, which means that it will ignore all other layers in your document, as if they don't exist. Well, if you're working on an empty layer, we can't have it ignore all the other layers, because that's where our picture is, it needs to be able to pay attention to that. So usually you set it to All Layers. That's the prerequisite in order to be working on an empty layer. So we can come over here and I think that's my wife Karen, not certain because her head's been obscured, but what's she doing in my picture? Yeah, that's my old tripod she was using that day. So I'm going to go over here again, now in this case, what do I do, I use the, I thought I was in the Spot Healing Brush and I wasn't, so I needed to switch there. Spot Healing Brush though is one of those tools, it along with Content-Aware Fill, are the two tools that can invent information that didn't exist previously. It's not limited to copying from somewhere else, instead it looks at the surroundings and says, what can I create that just looks like these surroundings? And it'll do that using some of the pieces in the surroundings, but it's not a blatant copy. And then I give these tools three strikes and then they're out, and I switch to something else where I might have to manually do this, because they only have so much intelligence built in, and if it doesn't end up doing it, I'm going to give up on it and go to something else. Usually something else means where I have to manually look around the picture and decide where can I copy from and move it over.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work