I was shooting headshots for Sellboss in Stockholm. All great people and all super models, it turned out. I had set up a speedlight in a softbox pretty much straight in front of the subject and a reflector below the subject to create a clamshell lighting. A second speedlight was on the background for a bit of separation light. Since i didn’t use a boom, the lightstand was as close to center as possible without being in the picture.
Don’t break the flow
Things were going smoothly but i noticed in some shots i was getting the lightstand in the picture. Since i was having great flow and a good conversation with my subjects, i didn’t want to interrupt that to move things around. I figured i could fix it in post processing. Here’s one of the raw photos. Notice the lightstand on the left.
Will i be able to remove that in an easy way?
As i was driving home, i started to worry. Will i be able to remove the lightstand against the dark background without a lot of work? How will i do it? The stamp tool? Paint a gradient? Darken the background down to black? Spot healing tool? I got home and sat down by the computer and imported the images. I picked one of them that had the lightstand in it and opened it up in photoshop. How do i do this?
Maybe content-aware fill will do the job
After thinking for a few seconds, i thought – let’s give content-aware fill a try. I simply drew a selection around the lightstand and clicked on Edit->Fill->Content-aware and after a few seconds of processing the lightstand was gone without a trace! This was almost too good to be true.
I let out a loud YES! and my wife asked what happened. When i told her, she was only mildly impressed. Well, what do i know – she may be making brilliant tax evasion maneuvers at work every day and i’d be equally lukewarm to that.
When i think of it, i have actually used content-aware fill before. When i shoot landscapes and stitch pictures together to make a panorama, often the corners are missing. I’ve used this same technique to fill out those empty corners and been blown away by how well it works.