Dynamic Guidance for Decluttering Photographic Compositions

Jane L. E
Stanford University

Kevin Y. Zhai
Air, Inc

Jose Echevarria
Adobe Research

Ohad Fried
The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya

Pat Hanrahan
Stanford University

James A. Landay
Stanford University

Figure 1. We present a photography guidance tool implemented as a capture-time app. Our tool allows the user to analyze the current clutter in the scene, and adjust until they achieve an image with less clutter. Here we show a sequence of overlays that the user sees as they make intermediate adjustments from their initial framing to achieve their final image. For the initial and final images, we show the overlay on the left and the corresponding photo on the right. The user notices the corner of the painting peeking into the photo in the initial frame, shifts the camera to the left to remove it from frame, but still notices the additional clutter caused by the strong line on the shelf in the foreground of the image in the intermediate frame. The user repositions the plant to the corner of the shelf to achieve the final image with a clean background.


Unwanted clutter in a photo can be incredibly distracting. However in the moment, photographers have so many things to simultaneously consider, it can be hard to catch every detail. Designers have long known the benefits of abstraction for seeing a more holistic view of their design. We wondered if, similarly, some form of image abstraction might be helpful for photographers as an alternative perspective or "lens" with which to see their image. Specifically, we wondered if such abstraction might draw the photographer's attention away from details in the subject to noticing objects in the background, such as unwanted clutter. We present our process for designing such a camera overlay, based on the idea of using abstraction to recognize clutter. Our final design uses object-based saliency and edge detection to highlight contrast along subject and image borders, outlining potential distractors in these regions. We describe the implementation and evaluation of a capture-time tool that interactively displays these overlays and find that the tool is helpful for making users more confident in their ability to take decluttered photos that clearly convey their intended story.

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    title={Dynamic Guidance for Decluttering Photographic Compositions},
    author={E, Jane L. and Kevin Y. Zhai and Echevarria, Jose and Fried, Ohad and Hanrahan, Pat and Landay, James A.},
    booktitle={Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology},
    series = {UIST ’21}