I do tons of travel photography. I’ve visited so many countries and cities that I’ve lost count. I have an entire disk drive full of landmark photos that I’ve captured through the years and I can tell you that you’ll never take a photo of a popular landmark when there’s no one around. People will find the most creative ways of getting right in the middle of your shot and there’s simply nothing you can do about it. Day or night doesn’t make a difference. If the area is popular with tourists, you’ll need to get creative. There’s hope though. If you’re attempting to capture an image of something (fountain, arch, building, city square) and there are lots of people, dogs, cats, cars – whatever, milling about, and you want none of these people or things to be in your final shot, I have a technique that can help tremendously. And it’s not difficult to pull off at all. All it takes is some preparation.
Ready? Okay, here it is. You’ll need a few things before you begin though. You’ll need either a tripod or a very firm, stable surface on which to place your camera. You’ll also need a camera that has a shutter delay feature or you can even use a remote shutter button. The point here is that you’re going to need to keep your camera completely still as well as virtually eliminate camera shake by you touching your shutter button. What I just mentioned above aren’t too difficult to pull off.
The trick is to take between 20 and 50 shots of the same exact thing (arch, fountain, etc…) over the span of a few minutes. If you think about it (on a small scale), one person may by on the right of your shot and walking towards the left. If you take two photos a few seconds apart, that person will be in different positions for both shots. If you combine those two photos, you’ll be able to easily mask out the person from both shots and the photo will end up fine, as if they were never there in the first place. I’ll link to a Photoshop technique below.
The reason you want to keep your camera as still as possible is because not all image editing applications are as sophisticated as Adobe Photoshop is. While I use Photoshop for all my editing work, everyone can’t take advantage of their “Image Align” technology because it simply doesn’t exist in the program they’re using. Keep your camera still and avoid shake. That’s the rule.
The other rule is to take tons of photos of your subject. Make sure the people in the area are moving though. If everyone is sitting down for a picnic, it’s not really going to make a difference if you photograph them 30 times. They’ll be in every single shot. This technique works best when everyone is walking around. You’ll need empty areas as well as areas where the people are.
When you’ve got all your nearly identical photographs, import them into your favorite photo editor in the same file, go through each layer and mask out the objects you don’t want in the images. If there’s something you don’t want there, but it’s in every single shot, you’ll need to remove it using other methods, such as a healing brush type tool or some sort of content aware type feature. You’re bound to need these things sooner or later.
To learn about image alignment in Adobe Photoshop and image stacking, follow this link:
To learn about image alignment specifically, click below:
And to learn about how to remove moving objects from multiple photos using Adobe Photoshop, click through below:
Please let me know your situation and how you have or had things set up and I can most likely help you through the editing process. Please reply to this post below. I’d actually love to help.