James Paterson explains the best way to get rid of distracting details in your landscapes with simple retouching skills in Photoshop Elements
Get rid of distracting details in your landscape scenes
We’re used to hearing about Photoshop retouching in relation to portraits, but what about landscapes? Sometimes a landscape photo will require a little tidying to make it perfect. Perhaps there are annoying telephone wires, a hapless tourist or – in this case – messy debris that distracts from the overall mood of the scene. Photoshop Elements has all the tools you need to fix this.
The most useful retouching tool is the Spot Healing Brush. With it, we can simply paint over messy marks and blemishes and watch while Photoshop removes the problem area for us. The Spot Healing Brush works best when the offending area is surrounded by uncluttered detail, such as a sensor mark against a plain sky. But it can slip up when the surroundings are more detailed. If this happens, we can simply switch to one of the other retouching tools. The Healing Brush is a good choice, as it lets you define a target area when attempting to remove a messy patch, so you can point to a similar clean area nearby to give the tool a helping hand.
Both these tools are semiautomated, in that Photoshop makes decisions for you on what should be removed. Most of the time Photoshop gets it right, but it’s not perfect. At times, when full manual control is required, we can switch to the Clone tool, which simply lets us copy pixels from one place to another. The Clone tool is also a great finisher, as we can use it at a low opacity – say 20% – to smooth out any remaining rough patches created by the other retouching tools. Used in combination, these tools will let you remove almost anything from your photos.