Removing dates from your photos in Photoshop

The most effective way of avoiding dates imprinted on your photos is to not activate this feature on your camera. All digital photos have EXIF information attached that stores in text format, among other data, the exact date and time of taking the photo. Printing the date onto the picture is thus an obsolete solution that decreases the aesthetical value of your photos. If you already have the dates on the pictures, you still have an easy job to do. Photoshop’s Dust & Scratches removal filter can help you in a moment. How exactly? Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Open the photo


This ugly timestamp must have gotten onto the picture accidentally. Well, in this case not. We have made it on purpose to show you how to remove it.

Step 2: Selection


First, choose the rectangle selection tool (press M), and drag a marquee around the timestamp. Make it a few pixels larger because we need some space near the edges for refining. Right-click the selection and choose Feather, then type a smaller value on the appearing dialog, for example, 2. This softens the edges of the selection, so the changes made to it will fit the original background better.

Step 3: Dust and scratches


Click Filter/Noise/Dust&Scratches. Although our red stamp is neither dust nor a scratch, but the filter handles the problem in a broader sense and removes (merges into the background) all the smaller and larger spots in the picture. We have two values to set: Radius sets the strength of the merge, while Threshold specifies the threshold value, and thus, refines the result. If the date is in front of a totally homogeneous background (e.g. clear sky), you’ll only need to set Radius and watch the result. This blurs the details within the selection. In this example, we have a more difficult job as we have to preserve the cobblestone texture and cannot blur it completely. Set Radius to a medium value, and change Threshold in small steps. Under Preview, you can watch the area blurred by Radius more and more structured as you increase Threshold. Of course you cannot preserve the original texture, but the area marked with red still has more detail than it would when completely blurred.

Step 4: Be Cautious!


If you have a fine, irregular texture in the background, you can stop here. Grass, rippled water or earth textures can be restored nicely this way. If, on the other hand, you have a relatively regular texture (as in this example), it is best to get your hands on the Healing Brush tool (press J). Take a sample from a part that has a similar structure (just like we have shown you before), by Alt+Click-ing, and cloning the texture to the transformed area with fine clicks.

Step 5: Gone for good


Say goodbye to your timestamp! The photo is finally stainless. If you still want to have the creation date always available, print the photo and write it on its backside, or save the picture into a folder containing the date.