Content-aware fill – your best friend

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.

Using content-aware fill in Adobe Photoshop

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.

This entry was posted in Image processing, Inspiration, Learning, Software.

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