Cropping is useful for removing unwanted parts of a scene that are on the periphery. However, if you have unwanted objects in the centre of your photo, like the power lines in our example, a different approach is called for. Here we'll show you how to use the clone tool to remove offending items or even people from your photos.
The way to getting rid of objects is to paint over them. Needless to say, if you try to do this with a single colour it’ll stand out like a sore thumb, even if the background is largely a single colour like a grass field or sky.
Instead, you need to copy an area close by that is of pretty much identical colour and texture to the parts of the photo immediately surrounding it. This is accomplished using the clone stamp.
Click on ‘Clone Stamp’ on the Tools tab and then select whichever of the three brush sizes is most appropriate. In all probability you’ll need to do this in several stages, perhaps using all three brush sizes.
Now click on the part of the photo you want to copy from followed by the part of the scene containing the unwanted object that you want to paint over. Keep clicking until you’ve over-written the whole object, noting that the area you copy from will change as you move. Practice makes perfect but beware the tell-tale repetitive pattern you’ll get unless you periodically restart by clicking again on ‘Clone Stamp’.
If you have a version of Photoshop Elements, you can use the healing brush tool to automatically close out unwanted objects.
Here are the before and after images:
This article is part of our Fix your photos feature, and uses the free Photoscape image editor from www.photoscape.org. The principles apply to other image editing software, but the steps above explain how to achieve the fix in Photoscape.