Before and after images

How to Quickly Remove Power Lines from Photos

Those pesky power lines are the bane of every landscape photographer! Alright, maybe I am exaggerating a bit but I don’t think Ansel Adams had to deal with as many as we do, back in his day. Luckily for us, we have something that Ansel didn’t have: Photoshop.

Even with Photoshop, removing power lines can sometimes be a tedious and exacting activity, especially when they happen to be in front of complex backgrounds. You can use smart tools like the healing brush and content-aware fill, but it can take a lot of time to do a clean job that leaves no traces.

There is one very quick and effective technique I learned some time ago that gives good results in a very short time. The only caveat is that you must plan to use this technique at the time of shooting because it is based on taking two exposures from slightly different camera heights.

I wish I could remember where I first saw this technique explained, but my memory fails me. If anyone can point to its originator, please leave a link in the comments so that we can give proper credit.

The video below gives a quick walk-through of the necessary steps. As you will see, it is straightforward and usually gives perfect results.

About Author Ugo Cei

Ugo Cei is a fine-art travel and landscape photographer from Italy. If you were to ask him what he does, he would say that he is an educator who helps photography enthusiasts sharpen their skills, so that they can take amazing pictures.

He does this in various ways. First of all, by providing a wealth of free content here on Visual Wilderness and on his own website.

He lead photography tours and workshop via Mediterranean Photo Tours, a company offering photography holidays in the most inspiring locations of the Mediterranean.

He co-hosts and publishes a weekly podcast about travel photography, The Traveling Image Makers. Every week, they pick the brains of famous and not-so-famous travel photographers to learn what it means to travel for the love of photography and photograph for the love of travel.

  • Paul Bache

    Hi Ugo, have you looked at the wire worm plugin, I’ve been using it for some time

    • Didn’t know about that plugin, Paul. I will certainly have a look now.

  • Steven

    This is truly an excellent tip. Thanks!

  • Ciao, Ugo, great tip, in particular when those wires cross complex structures (buildings, trees, mountains, etc). If those wires would have gone across the blue sky only, it’s just two clicks in LR and the power lines are gone. Btw, I hope you’ll join us again this year’s for our big G+ photowalk.

    • Hi Andy, thanks for your comment. Yes, when those lines only cross a plain blue sky, it’s quicker to just use a healing brush, but sometimes you can’t.

      I’ll do everything I can to join the photowalk, as always. It’s a tradition!