Have you ever taken a photo that you really love, just to find out in post that something (or someone) far off in the distance photobombed your masterpiece? Maybe a client has sent you a photo they took for an advertisement, but there’s just one little element in the way. Both scenarios can be frustrating, but fear not! In this tutorial we’ll show you exactly how to remove unwanted elements from your photos with just a few simple steps inside Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill tool is perfect for these kinds of touch ups, but it can be tricky to get the hang of at first. Let’s take a look at this awesome shot of a hike in the mountains for example. It’s captivating, however this guy with the red book bag smack dab in the middle throws the whole thing off!

How to Remove People from photos w/Content Aware Fill In Photoshop

Before we get started, be sure to download the files so you can following along.

Content Aware Tool Tutotorial


Step One:

Open your image in Photoshop and make a copy of the layer. This is a good habit to get into as it ensures there will always be an original in your file just in case we mess up somewhere along the way.


Step Two:

With your new layer copy selected go ahead and grab your Lasso Tool (shortcut “L” on your keyboard). Now make a selection around anything you want to get rid of out of the image. In our case, it’s the guy with the red book bag.


Step Three:

With your selection made, next go to Edit at the top of your screen and scroll down to Content Aware Fill. This will open a new properties panel to the right of your image. Within this panel you’ll see things like sample area overlay, sample area options, fill settings, and output settings. Here’s a brief description of what each do:

  • Sample Area Overlay:
    • Allows you to select a custom color and opacity of area indicating what pixels are being sampled.
  • Sample Area Options:
    • Selections based on Auto, Rectangle, and Custom. (If you used your lasso tool like we did, this one is obsolete.)
  • Fill Settings:
    • Change the color adaption of your new area, and rotation of pixels sampled.
  • Output Settings:
    • Choose to output your new selection as a new layer, on a duplicate layer or on your original layer.



Step Four:

With your Content Aware Fill panel still open, you can begin to paint away the areas you don’t want to sample. Or hold the option key to paint in areas you do want sampled. In our example we’re going to paint away anything that looks like snow or rock, and leave as much green leafy material as possible to replace our red book bag guy with.



Step Five:

Once you’re happy with the preview on the right side of your image, click ok and it will take you back to the main composition. The selection you made originally will still be active, all you have to do now is use Command + D to deselect and you’re good to go!

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