Spot removal in street photography

Street photography is mostly related to photojournalism, where a photograph shows the real activities on a street. It is not at all required to manipulate such photos, but there are some elements which certainly distract the viewers to see the actual story from a picture. Such as the “wires“. I have gone through several street photographs taken in India and other countries and I saw this difference in the pictures. Photographers do remove the distracting elements from the picture to bring the focus of a viewer to the actual story of a photo.

There are several tools which are used to bring focus on a particular object or part of a picture. Such as –

a. Contrast/bnw:

b. Vintage effect/Lens correction:

c. Spot removal:

Click on the below links to visit my other blogs related to Contrast and Lens correction

Spot removal is one of the most time taking process and there are different tools available which are used to do it. During my last tour to Kolkata, I have taken some street photographs with the Galaxy S7 Edge and this is a sample picture from that trip which I have chosen to describe the spot removal techniques.

spot removal - phone photography - kolkata - street

I have used Photoshop CS5 on a windows 10 PC to remove the wires from this picture. The tool which is used to remove the wires/spot is “Clone Stamp Tool“. It helps to clone a specific part of a picture on a different part that you want to remove/replace.

There are some basic steps to do this. Such as –

1. Import the picture to Photoshop.

2. From the left tool bar, click on “Clone Stamp tools”. It will show a drop down. From that drop down again click on “Clone Stamp tool”.

spot removal - phone photography - kolkata - street

3. Right click on the picture that you have imported to Photoshop and select a soft round brush (Size < 25px Hardness 0%).

4. Press Alt and click on a place close to the wires to clone that part on the wires.

That’s all you need to do. But there are some points which you need to consider while removing the wires from a street photograph.

a. If there are poles in the frame, do not remove all the wires. It will look unrealistic.

b. If a wire is over a billboard or a banner with gradient then do not remove it.

c. If the wire is crossing any street wall art or written script, do not remove it.

d. Remove the wires one by one taking the clones of the closest area possible.

e. Use multiple layers.

Shortcuts keys you may use:

[ – Decrease the brush size.

] – Increase the brush size.

Alt+Ctrl+z – Undo (Step back up to 10 actions)

Shift+Ctrl+z – Redo (Step ahead up to 10 actions)

Alt+ Scroll down – Zoom out

Alt+Scroll up – Zoom in

Ctrl+Scroll up – Scroll right

Ctrl+ Scroll down – Scroll left

The points and tips those I have mentioned in this article are based on my experience and I would love to try if you can suggest any alternate easy method to remove the spots. Do comment and let me know if you are using any other process or tools so that I can learn as well. Thank you for reading. Hope it will be helpful.



Author: @zuvam

Tech blogger, Photographer and founder of THN - The Hello Network

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