Counting Subjects in a Photo


Today’s Question: When I use my photos in wildlife surveys I need to count the animal subjects in the frame. Can you recommend a way of performing this count in Photoshop? When there are more than a few subjects I find that I often lose track of which I’ve already counted.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Actually, there is a tool in Photoshop CC specifically designed for counting subjects within a photo. It is called the Count tool, and it can be found “hidden” below the Eyedropper tool on the toolbox.

More Detail: The Count tool was originally included in Photoshop Extended, and is now available in Photoshop CC. To access the Count tool you can click and hold your mouse (or simply right-click) on the button for the Eyedropper tool on the toolbox. This will bring up a flyout menu where you can select the Count tool.

With the Count tool active you can simply click within the photo on each subject you want to count. I recommend increasing the values for both the Marker Size and the Label Size so that you can better see the actual marks when you click on each subject. You can also adjust the color by clicking the color swatch to the left of the Marker Size setting on the Options bar, in order to bring up the Color Picker to select a color that will be clearly visible on the current photo.

As you click on each subject in the photo, a marker will appear with a numeric label that increments with each click. In addition (and perhaps more importantly) there is a Count value on the Options bar that shows you the current count total. So you can simply navigate around the photo clicking on each subject, until you’ve clicked to add a marker to every subject that appears in the photo. The total count will be shown toward the far left of the Options bar.

When you’re finished counting the subjects in the current photo, you can click the Clear button to remove all of the markers if you’d like.