How to Remove a Person Using Photoshop

By Ann Johnson

One advantage of digital images over traditional film is the ease of editing. Adobe Photoshop is a popular image editing software program that allows you to correct and manipulate your photographs, including removing people from the picture. This would be a particularly helpful technique for that family vacation photograph where an un-welcomed individual shows up in the picture. Often we can solve the problem by simply cropping them out of the picture. But, sometimes cropping isn’t the answer. We want the person to disappear. Photoshop can do that for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Adobe Photoshop
  • JPG digital image to edit on your computer

Step 1

Go to the Start menu and click on the Photoshop icon to open the program.

Step 2

In the upper left hand corner of the Photoshop window, click on “File.”

Step 3

After you click on “File” a drop down menu will appear. Click “Open” to find the image file. A window will open showing the files on your computer.

Step 4

To determine if this technique will work for you, look at the picture and the person you wish to make disappear. You will be replacing the person with a background that will blend in with the rest of the picture. Normally the ideal background to use is directly to the right or left of the person you wish to delete.

Step 5

To the left of the image to edit is a tool bar. Look for the “Patch Tool.” The Patch tool looks like a circle of barbwire. If you don’t see it, hold your cursor over each tool and right click. Each time you do this a menu will appear, showing the various tools. When you find the “Patch Tool,” left click to choose it.

Step 6

When you move the cursor over your image to edit, the Patch Tool icon will appear. Move the cursor next to the person you want to delete from the picture. Hold down the left click of your mouse and carefully circle the person, keeping as close to the person as possible, without touching the person.

Step 7

After you completely encircle the person, with the beginning of the line touching the end of the line, the line will appear to be wavy.

Step 8

Position the cursor, which looks like the Patch Tool icon, directly in the center of the wavy line around the person. Left click the mouse and hold the button down.

Step 9

While holding the mouse button down, slowly move the cursor to the right or left. As you do this you will see how the space you originally encircled is being replaced by wherever you are moving the cursor.

Step 10

When you are satisfied with how your picture looks, release the button on your mouse and the wavy line will disappear. And, so has the person!

Step 11

To save your image, click on “File,” then “Save As,” giving the file a new name. This will allow you to save as a new file, while keeping your original.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will have best results if the background pattern of the area you are replacing matches the fill image.
  • If the line you drew around the person crosses over a background with many different shades and patterns, the end result can be blurry, resembling watercolor.