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Two photos merged in Photoshop

The ability to merge multiple photos is a useful skill for real estate photographers. Even though most of them want to get the photo right directly in the camera, there are certain scenarios where merging the pictures together is proven useful and nece ...

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How to Remove Reflections in Photoshop

Published: 23/12/2021

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Real estate photographers, may they be amateur or professional, are all familiar with reflections showing up in their pictures. Reflections appear as very bright, and they are sometimes spots that can damage the quality of the pictures. It also distracts the viewers from the main subject and it may also cover the focal points of the image.

Luckily, Photoshop lets you retouch your photos and remove the reflections to ensure a clear and crisp outcome. It allows you to manipulate the pixels in your photo to refine them. 

How to Remove Reflections in Photoshop

To remove reflections on your images in Photoshop, you first need to assess the picture and what you want the outcome to be. Every photo is different, which means each of them needs an approach that is unique. Check the complexity of the adjustment that you want to make and review if there are a lot of patterns or details in the area that you want to retouch. 

Also, check the contrast and how it will influence your decision. There are several techniques to remove reflections in Photoshop, so you need to check if one technique is enough or if you will need to do a combination of them for a clean retouch. 

Swimming pool with the house's reflection

You can retouch your images in different ways in Photoshop, the most common tools and techniques used by editors are the following:

  • Content-Aware Fill
  • Clone Stamp Tool
  • Patch Tool

Content-Aware Fill

The Content-Aware Fill tool is great in retouching your images. It analyzes the content in your picture so it can give a seamless blend in the objects or elements that you want to adjust. It also lets you remove unwanted effects, objects and other elements or move them to other areas of the photo. 

Below is the guide on how to operate the Content-Aware Fill tool in Photoshop so you can remove reflections on your images. 

Duplicate the Layer

In order to use the Content-Aware Fill tool, you need to duplicate the layer first in order to access the information that is contained within the picture. It is also vital to work in a way that won't destroy the overall aesthetic of your image, just delete the mistakes or the unwanted results and reflections and start over. 

First create a separate layer to clean up any blemishes and dust from the picture and then remove the reflection after. To duplicate this, just use the following controls:

  • CMD+J 
  • CTRL+J

In order to have simple edits, just remove the small objects from the composition. You can create a fast Content-Aware Fill by using a tool that lets you choose the object, then use the Shift+Delete combination. 

Use the Lasso Tool 

To select the objects that you wish to get rid of in your picture, you can use the Lasso Tool. Just hit Shift+Delete to use the tool You can get great results, however, you may need to blend some edges via the Clone Stamp tool. 

Woman editing an image with her laptop

You can also use the Content-Aware Fill through a method that lets you see the Preview window so you can view the adjustments that you made before you save the changes. It is an effective method to work on larger areas or larger reflections. To use the method, just use the tool so you can choose the space that you want to adjust. Just go to Edit, then select Content-Aware Fill. You will see the Preview window. 

The area that is green in color shows you where Photoshop wants to sample from. Keep in mind that you don’t have to include all of these areas. Just use the brush that is found in the tool panel via the Preview window so you can brush out the area that you do not want it to sample from. Make sure to brush out the shadows that may cause the adjustments to look uneven. 

Set the Opacity

Make sure that when you are choosing the areas for Content-Aware Fill, you have to account for depth-of-field throughout the frame, or your picture will look too fake. 

If the result of the picture is to your liking you can proceed to the next step. Select New Layer so that the file size will remain small. You can also select a Duplicate Layer for a massive file size. If the final edit is good to go, you can use the Clone Stamp tool to enhance it further. 

Clone Stamp Tool

The Clone Stamp tool allows you to copy pixels to a new area. This is one of the most used tools in Photoshop because it is a great way to adjust the different elements in your images, especially if it has a defined edge. It is a great tool that can remove reflections in Photoshop.

You can activate the Clone Stamp tool through the following controls:

  • CMD+S 
  • CTRL+S

You can use the softest brush on the software through the Normal Mode. A good place to begin is through 10% to 20% Opacity at 100% Flow. However, you still need to see what works for your picture. When using this tool, you can change it if your pattern looks repetitious. 

The tool is also great when you want to mirror a reflection in your image to make it look better than the original. It is one of the main reasons that the Clone Stamp tool is the best one to use to remove reflections. If you want to flip the brush, you can do so by selecting the Toggle Clone Stamp icon. You can also use "T" in order to change the clone stamp selection and to adjust the placement and size. 

Reflection of house seen on body of water

Patch Tool

The Patch tool works the same way as the Clone Stamp tool. It allows you to cover up any imperfection on your image and it also removes reflections. 

However, instead of using the brush in Photoshop, you will need to make a selection. You can also move or delete the area, and Photoshop uses the pixels in order to replace it with a seamless background. 

How to Deal With Glasses Glare

Glare is also a common issue in real estate photography since there are instances wherein the lights bounce off the surface of the glass. In order to remove this, you will need to edit the photo in Photoshop. It can be removed by Camera Raw. From here, you can adjust the software's brush size so you can paint over the glare and choose an unwanted area. You need to turn off the Mask and Overlay option when using the Camera Raw. 

Use the sliders that you see on the side so you can adjust the bright spots. Do this until the spot matches the tone of the subject in your image. You can also adjust the Dehaze Slider to reduce the glass glare on the images. The Spot Healing Brush can soften the sharp edges of the picture. 

If flares are still visible in your images, you can edit them through Clone Stamp. You need to create a new layer so you can preserve the original and use the reference points to copy the colors and remove the bright spots. 

Conclusion

Real estate photography has a lot of layers to it, and since you will be presenting the images to a client, it is best to make sure that it is clear and clean. You can remove reflections in Photoshop via different tools. 

Remember that removing all of the reflections will make the image look fake, so it is best to choose the ones to keep and the ones to remove to improve the overall look of your picture. 

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