When Digital Editing Works

When Digital Editing Works

It is common for clients to bring in a photo and ask us to add or remove a person. When removing a person, the reason could be one of many:

  • “We’re divorced.”
  • “I hated them.”
  • “I don’t know who they are.”
  • “They’re ruining the photo.”
  • “I just want them gone.”


However, when someone wants to add a person, reasons don’t matter.


We worked on a project recently where a client wanted to add her father to a family photo as a present to her mother. He was deceased at the time of the family photo, and she wanted to give her mother the gift of seeing her family together again. The photo was to be enlarged over 20”x24” and displayed over a fireplace mantel as a surprise.



Our client brought in a number of family snapshots, her wedding album, and the family photograph to be edited. The challenging part is finding a photo that will fit naturally in the final photo. The family photograph was professionally taken and combined with a regular snapshot would look unnatural. We opted to use a photo from the wedding album because it was a higher quality image and the lighting was a closer match to the studio lighting in the family portrait.


Technology allows us to easily include the client in the editing process. We were able to share revisions over email and print off proofs for her to circle troublesome spots. It takes a lot of work and time to add someone to a photo and make it look natural. Besides lighting, you have to consider how the person will fit into the original composition of the family photo, perspective, and other minute details. Our client soon understood this and collaborated with us proof after proof.




The final outcome was amazing. We framed the photo in a wide, intricate black Italian frame with a linen liner edged in gold. Our client sent us a video of the “reveal,” and this video has to be one of the best gifts our studio has ever received.



Whether we’re adding or removing a person from a photo, our goal is always maintain a natural look. We work with clients to ensure that they are going to have a stunning final photo. If you have a photo that you want edited, take these points into consideration:


  • Make sure you have the proper photo releases. Professional photographers maintain copyright on your images, and you will need a release that allows us to edit and reprint the image. This goes for adding OR removing people from an image.
  • Look at the background. Removing a person means adding a background. If the person you wish to remove is standing against an intricate background, it is going to be harder to edit. We will work with you to come up with the proper solution if you run into this issue.
  • Consider the lighting. This one may be a little tricky, but look at how the light falls on a person’s face. If you want to add someone to an image, try to find a photo where the lighting looks similar on their faces. Not sure? Bring in a few photos, and we’ll help you find the right solution.
  • Where do you want them to go? Placement is huge in adding a person. A person floating off to the side in a cloud was a trend in the 1970’s, but not today. Choose a photo that has enough space to add a person, and think about where you want to insert someone. Find a photo where your added person has a body position that looks natural in that space.



Lean on a professional to guide you. They won’t have the emotional attachment and will tell you what will give you the best outcome.