How to Remove Objects from Photos

Have you ever taken the perfect vacation photo only to have it ruined by that man slurping his drink in the background? When it comes to taking pictures, we don’t always have the most ideal circumstances or surroundings.

You could look like a supermodel, and yet your photo was ruined by a trash can inconveniently place behind your head. If you’ve ever needed to erase an unwanted object from your pictures, this is the article for you.

Quick Summary

  • Photoshop Fix (Phone): Best for correcting both simple and more complicated unwanted objects on the go.
  • Snapseed (Phone): Best for adjusting small image spots on a phone-based editing app. Extremely easy to use. Might not always be accurate with blending pixels into the background.
  • TouchRetouch (Phone & Computer): Best for correcting unwanted background objects easily. Has a simple user interface as well. Available on most platforms.
  • Snapheal (Computer): Great photography app for computer-based editors. Makes minor image adjustments simple.
  • Photoshop (Computer): Professional photography app that is good for removing visually complex objects from an image. However, it also has a steep learning curve for beginners.

5 Tools for Removing Objects from Pictures

While there are many professional editing software platforms available on PC or Mac, you might not always want to go through the hassle of uploading your photo on a laptop. If you’re looking for apps to use on the go to post quickly on Instagram, these are the ones for you.

1. Photoshop Fix

As with all Adobe apps, you’ll need to sign up for an account before being able to use PhotoShop Fix. However, signing up is free, and there are tutorials within the app to help guide you through using it.

First, load your photo up on the app. Next, tap “healing.” It will then bring you to the blemish brush. In this example, I will remove the circular ring on the wall.

There is a guide video option if you need help or want to watch how unwanted objects are taken out in a photo. Play it to get a rough idea of how your picture looks like after Spot Healing.

Next, after you’re in Spot Heal mode, use your finger to swipe over the unwanted object. Spot Heal blends it out of the photo, making it look like it was never there to begin with.

This is the finished result! You can see that the circular ring on the wall is completely gone, leaving a white background.

2. Snapseed

If you’re looking for an alternative to PhotoShop Fix, Snapseed (iOS & Android) is a good choice for taking unwanted objects out of your photo. In this example, I will load the same photo on Snapseed and replicate the result shown above.

After you load your photo on Snapseed, tap “Tools.” You should see a Healing tool option.

Next, similar to what we saw earlier in Photoshop Fix, there will be a blemish brush for you to swipe on objects that need to be taken out of the photo.

There are undo and redo options for areas that look out of place after healing, so you’re able to adjust it accordingly to your picture. I will remove both the circular ring and wall pipe from this shot.

This is the final result. As you can see, the Healing tool removed the unwanted objects and blended the area together with the shadows, making the wall appears clean.

On Your Computer: Phone apps are useful when you need them immediately and don’t have access to a laptop. They also might not be pixel-perfect in their accuracy. If you’re looking for apps to use on your computer instead, these are the ones for you.

3. TouchRetouch

TouchRetouch is an editing app that is available for PC/Mac and on your phone. It’s a paid app. After a free trial, you’ll pay $9.99 for the computer app and $2.98 for the iPhone app. Take note of the system requirements before purchasing it for your computer.

Image source: Microsoft

Similar to the other apps, after loading up your photo on TouchRetouch, click on the Brush icon on the side. You can then click away any unwanted objects from the picture. There are also different sizing options for the brush that fixes up the photo, adjusted by the circles you see in the screenshot below.

Image source: Microsoft

After editing your changes, export your photo to the Gallery in order to save it.

The requirements for using the Windows version of TouchRetouch is Windows 8, with Architecture x86, x64, ARM, or ARM64. Note that those are just the minimum requirements in order to open the product on your computer. You can find TouchRetouch in the Microsoft Store, the Mac App Store, the App Store, and the Google Play Store. If you have a Setapp subscription, you can use TouchRetouch for free.

4. Snapheal and Snapheal CK

Snapheal is a Mac app that removes unwanted objects from your photo. Similar to other apps, it blends the erased part where the unwanted object was with the rest of your photo so that it doesn’t look out of place.

However, similar to TouchRetouch, it is not a free app. Additionally, there are two different versions: Snapheal, and Snapheal CK, which is a part of the Macphun Creative Kit. The former is only available as a standalone app and lacks some functionality, while the latter is only available as part of a large package and includes all features.

When you first launch Snapheal, you’ll be brought to this page. Load up your image for editing. You can drag it to the screen below to load it, or click on the box to upload it manually. If you need help, there are demonstrations within the app as well.

After choosing your photo, you will notice that the sidebar of the app has many tool options for you to choose from. The right-hand panel has three modes (Erase, Retouch, Adjust), and can be used to make edits to the image.

In order to remove objects from your photo, click on the Brush tool. To use it, simply left-click and drag your mouse across the areas you want to erase.

The jagged rectangular icon furthest to the right is the Lasso tool. It allows you to draw around an area you want to erase. Joining the ends of the lasso line will select what you wish to erase within the area.

The middle tool is the selection eraser. This tool allows you to fine-tune your selections. When you select something, it will be highlighted in a red mask to differentiate it from the rest of the image before removal. You can use the selection eraser to change the shape of this mask.

Once you have selected what you want to remove, click the large “Erase” button. The results are affected by the replacement and precision options you have chosen.

Snapheal CK has an exclusive feature that is not available on the regular Snapheal–the ability to install the software as a plugin. If you use Snapheal CK, when you load your first image, you will be prompted to set up the plugin feature. To do this, you need to have the other programs installed first. The process is quick and automatic; however, you can choose to skip it by clicking the ‘X’ at the top-left of the screen and coming back to it later.

Snapheal CK is included in Macphun’s Creative Kit, and cannot be purchased separately without special accommodations. It can be used as a plugin for several other photo programs including Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Apple Aperture and Macphun Luminar, and contains a wide range of editing tools in addition to its erasing function. It is valued at approximately $50. The Macphun Creative Kit retails for $99.

Snapheal cannot be used as a plugin and has a narrower range of editing tools beyond the erase function. It retails for $8.99 USD when purchased as a stand-alone. It is exclusively a Mac app; a Windows version isn’t available.

5. Using a Professional Photo Editing Program (like Photoshop)

The above apps may work for editing simple unwanted objects out of a photo, but if an area is persistently difficult to correct, you might want to check out a more professional photo editing program. Photoshop is a professional photographer’s go-to for editing out photobombers. However, it isn’t as easy to use as other programs, so check out the video linked here for a more comprehensive guide in editing out unwanted objects in Photoshop.

Conclusion

All in all, Photoshop Fix seems to be the most accurate image healing app for phones, while Snapseed was simple and easy-to-use if the test image only needed minor adjustments. Snapheal is the most fuss-free app for computer editing and is more user-friendly than the alternatives if your image does not need complicated editing. TouchRetouch offers a good compromise if you plan to edit on desktop and mobile. While Photoshop remains the most accurate software for computer editors, it is also the most complicated to use.

I hope this article helps you out in removing unwanted objects from your photos. Feel free to share your thoughts on which apps worked for you, or leave any questions you might have! Maybe you can finally post that vacation photo you’ve been holding onto because of those tourists taking a selfie behind your face.

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