Tech & Work

How to remove logos from your images to make them stock photo-worthy

It can't be a stock photo if it's loaded with trademarks and logos. Here are some ways to to remove those objects from your images using Lightroom and Photoshop.

bieshutterbistock-613331898.jpg

Image: iStock/bieshutterb

I previously shared how aspiring photographers can get their work published via stock photography. Sure it's a competitive field, but it's super easy to submit your work. Well maybe it's not "super easy," as the stock photography hosts such as ShutterStock and Adobe Stock use rigorous approval processes to allow your work to be sold. I've had some photos approved on one or the other, but there are varying standards of approval. However, they both deny any images with official trademarks or logos visible. If your awesome photo can't go unseen, fire up your photo editor and remove those logos! Here are a few ways to remove the logos with Lightroom or Photoshop.

SEE: Getting started with drone photography (free TechRepublic PDF)

Easy logo removal

First, let me warn you. For my examples I used some random photos from my library, and some of them are pretty bad in quality. I know this. Now with that out of the way, let's look at the easier scenarios.

In the image below, you'll see that the pen has the DJI logo on it. What makes this logo removal easy is the size and simplicity. Since it's a small logo, I opt to use the Healing brush found in Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is the first step for all of my photo processing and touch up, but not always the last. In this scenario, the logo removal will take only a few brush strokes.

dji-pen.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

First, click the Spot Removal option in the Develop panel of Lightroom or press Q on your keyboard to activate it. You'll notice there are settings to adjust the size, feather, and opacity of the brush. You'll also notice the Clone and Heal options. I use Heal for small jobs like this because it's a small area to adjust and the details are typically missed—and because I don't think the Clone option works very well in Lightroom.

spot-removal.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

Next, zoom in on your image. Zooming in gives you more surface area to successfully apply your brush stroke. Brush from the outside in on the logo you're trying to remove. This lets Lightroom calculate the surrounding pixels of your brush area, so the blending will look more natural.

brush-stroke1.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

As you're brushing in your logo, take into consideration the brush size and feather settings. A higher feather setting reduces the hard edges of your brush stroke.

Zoom out on your image after a few brush strokes to check how well you're doing with the removal. As you zoom out to a normal perspective of your photo, you'll find that the logo is nicely removed. It will blend in with the existing lighting or shadows if you brushed carefully along their paths.

dji-removed.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

More detailed logo removal

In most instances, removing logos from images will be a lot more tedious than my DJI logo example. This is the time to lean on Photoshop's tools and intelligence. Photoshop offers several tools for logo or object removal. All require lots of practice to master. The tools I lean on regularly are:

  • Clone Stamp, Pattern Stamp (shortcut S on your keyboard)
  • Spot Healing, Healing, Patch Tool, Content-Aware Move Tool (shortcut J on your keyboard)

Of this group of tools, I always try the Patch Tool first. It has AI built in to analyze surrounding pixels of a selection and match it up quite nicely simply from your dragging and dropping. You'll have to be sure to select the Content-Aware option at the top of your menu. Zoom in tight on your photo, then draw a line around the logo you're trying to remove. I'll continue to use my low-quality DJI pen photo as an example here.

patch-tool.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

Now drag (click+hold) that selection to a spot on your image you'd like the area to be patched with. When you drag to an area that fits your needs, drop the selection by letting go of your mouse click.

patch-tool2.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt


As you zoom out, you'll see the logo is removed. Feel free to lightly use your mixing brush under the Brush Tool or the Smudge Tool to blend in the edges a little more if you see fit.

removed.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

You're not limited to using one tool per logo or object removal. Sometimes, I'll patch an area and then go back with the Healing brush to clean things up.

SEE: Here's why your Pixel 2 is about to start taking better photos (ZDNet)

As another example, let's look at the tee-shirt this handsome young man (who looks like me) is wearing. I want to remove the team name from the shirt.

tee-shirt.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of real estate to work with when it comes to dragging the patch to an area matching the size of my selection. If I drag too high, Photoshop will encompass the shirt color and black undershirt the young man is wearing. This is okay. The content-aware AI will do its best to blend accordingly. If it misses an area, just press Control + D to remove the selection, then use the Healing brush (J) to finish the job.

tee-shirt2.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

When using the Healing brush, you have to press Alt (Option on Mac) to tell Photoshop what the source area is that you want as the "paint" on your Healing brush. In this example, I'll hold Alt and click with my mouse on a gray area of the tee shirt. Next, let go of Alt and brush the area that needs the healing. For less extreme areas, just use the Spot Healing brush.

tee-shirt3.jpg

Image: Ant Pruitt

Use these tools in your stock photography projects or any project where a logo or even small objects or artifacts are distracting in your images. With any tool, lots of practice is required to master them. Take a few snapshots in your home, such as your computer monitor or a coffee mug. Use the Patch and Healing options from either Lightroom or Photoshop. Be sure to zoom closely on your image as you're doing your patching or healing and be mindful of your brush settings for hardness or feathering. I highly recommend using a Wacom tablet for these adjustments. Your brush strokes will be a lot easier to complete with this tool and the Wacom is pressure sensitive.

Share your thoughts

Feel free to tag me on Instagram or Twitter with some of your Lightroom and Photoshop handiwork. These apps are great for photo editing and manipulation. The beauty is you may find other ways to remove logos or objects that best suit your needs using their tools. Share your discoveries with fellow TechRepublic members in the Comments below.

Also read...


About Ant Pruitt

Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox