Take A People-Free Photo In A Crowded Place

You're at a popular location and you really would love a photo of the place without all the people in the way. Looks like you're out of luck and you should just buy a postcard, right? Not with this clever trick.

You'll need a tripod, enough time to take a few dozen pictures of the location, and a copy of Photoshop at home. Take a few test shots to find the exposure you want, set your camera to manual mode and set the exposure settings, and then start snapping away. Take as many shots as you need to get every part of the scene as people mill about covering and uncovering sections of the frame. Take a few extra to be safe.

In the Shutterstock newsletter they highlight the power of Photoshop to help turn your photos of a meandering crowd into a photo of the landmark they are all visiting.

When you return home, open all the images from the series in Photoshop CS3 Extended. From the top menu, select File >Scripts > Statistics. In "Choose Stacks Mode" dialogue, select "Median."

That's all there is to it! After crunching some data, Photoshop will spit out a new image without anybody in it. You may need to use some of your individual files to clean up a few artefacts generated by the process. In this example, I took 25 exposures during approximately 15 minutes (the place was incredibly busy as you can tell from the first picture). The clouds had shifted, so I "borrowed" the sky from one of the shots.

Pretty awesome stuff, I've been using Photoshop for over a decade and I still learn new tricks. Check out the full article for more information or share your favourite Photoshop trick in the comments.

How to Make a People-Free Photo in a Crowded Place [Shutterstock]


    you can also use a Neutral Density filter for pretty much the same affect, I'm using a ND1000, which allows me to take a 30sec exposure in full sunlight, so anyone moving in the shot is not picked up. Great for busing shots or roads to cut out the cars etc...

    Very cool idea - could have used a thousand times in the past! Now a good reason to lug that tripod around after all!

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now