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How to Quickly Clean Up Any Photo in Photoshop

Use Content-Aware Fill to speed up the editing process
Photo of Content-Aware Fill

Most working photographers we know would prefer to spend more time out shooting photos than editing them later in Photoshop. So, we’re always looking for Photoshop tools and shortcuts to help speed up post-processing.

One such handy Photoshop feature you may or may not be aware of is called Content-Aware Fill. This time-saving tool lets you quickly remove distracting objects from your photos (such as wires or telephone poles) and replace (i.e., fill) them with a seemingly natural background that blends in with the scene.  What makes the feature so powerful is it uses AI to preserve the integrity of the scene, so it doesn’t appear there’s a glaring hole in the image.

Content-Aware Fill has been available in Photoshop since 2010 but it has continued to evolve with increased integration throughout Adobe’s flagship photo editing software. In the below video, Aaron Nace of Phlearn shows you how to quickly clean up any photo with Content-Aware Fill.

“Content aware fill is a powerful technology that analyses areas of your images in order to cover up any unwanted areas,” Nace explains. “In this tutorial we show you how to use Content Aware Fill in an easy to use workflow that will allow you to move quickly through your image and remove any unwanted elements.”

In the nearly 14-minute video below, he walks you through the simple process. You can follow along with Nace’s edits while sharpening your Content-Aware Fill skills by downloading the free sample image here.


“Today we’re going to show you how to use the Content-Aware Fill dialog to simply highlight any area you’d like to remove and automatically remove it,” he says. “I really like this image, but we’ve got a lot of distractions here on the background: some spray paint, we have some marks on the wall here, this is kind of inconsistent on the top. So, I just want to clean all of this up.”

Check it out below and if you want more tips and tricks to help you quickly clean up your photos in post, here are three ways to erase distracting elements from a scene.


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