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Get pesky tourists out of your travel photos

Alright, alright, its a first world problem, but it’s frustrating having your sunrise photos of Angkor Wat ruined by, well, other tourists.

Luckily, there is a solution to the eternal problem of humans getting in the way of your arty black and white shot of the Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s just a simple Photoshop hack.

Yep, with a little help from old faithful, you can clear your Taj Mahal pics without phoning in a bomb threat.

It’s surprisingly easy.

The Taj Mahal with the pool in front of it and a blue sky but no tourists

First, set your camera up on a tripod/ gorillapod/ bystander’s head to stabilise it, and take about 15-20 shots of your subject. It’s important that your camera doesn’t move, and that the exposure doesn’t change between these shots.

Then chuck those beaut pics on your computer, head to Photoshop and hit File –> Scripts –> Statistics.

In the Image Statistics dialogue box that opens up, set Stack Mode to Median. Then click browse, select all your photos and hit Open.

This is where Photoshop gets ever-so-clever.

It will process the images by essentially layering them on top of each other, and removing anything that isn’t exactly the same in all the photos – i.e. any of those bloody foreigners wandering in front of your shot.

Voila, a private tour of the Eiffel Tower.

This video from Skillshare takes you through the process, or check out the blog from Too Many Adaptors.

You can play with this technique by getting bae to stand super still on the edge of the Grand Canyon while you take your snaps, so they’ll be the same in all the photos, and still visible when the composite is finished.

Some users are complaining that this feature is only available in the Extended version of Photoshop, which, at nearly $900, sets you back an extra $300 on top of standard software. There are other options available in the cheaper cousin program, Photoshop Elements, but the Extended options is the easiest and most effective way to process the images.

So, depending on how much you hate tourists, that $300 might be worth it.

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About the author

Hannah loves to travel but can’t read a map, so she has plenty of good stories to tell.

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