If you’ve just started shooting portraits in the studio, one thing you’ve likely encountered are backdrops that don’t always stay flat. It’s almost inevitable you’ll capture a few portraits you love only to later realize the backdrop had a distracting crease or wrinkle in it. Or even more aggravating, an unflattering stray hair from your subject ruins what would otherwise be the perfect portrait.
Fortunately, if you know a few tricks in Photoshop, you can quickly clean up crinkled backdrops and eliminate stray hairs in post-production, so you won’t need to reshoot your portraits. In the below video tutorial, pro photographer Kayleigh June shows you how.
“Today’s tutorial is going to be about how to remove backdrop creases (i.e., how to smooth wrinkled backdrops) and refine stray hairs in Photoshop,” June says. “This is a really common problem for a lot of studio beginners out there, and it’s something I’ve often had trouble with since I first started purchasing fabric for backdrops.”
By using the simple step-by-step method she demonstrates in the video below, you can solve both problems at the same time.
“If you’ve ever tried to get rid of these before, they can be very stubborn even with a lot of different techniques, so I wanted to show you guys a really easy way to do this that can also really help out with perfecting the hair as well,” she explains. “That’s another issue that a lot of people do find with beauty photography in particular. Because the photos are so close up, the hair is very prominent, and a lot of the hairs can look a bit messy. So, I want to show you a way to simultaneously get rid of those wrinkled backdrop creases and also getting rid of those stray hairs at the same time.”
Here’s the procedure in Photoshop that June demonstrates in the video at the bottom of this post. (And we highly recommend you follow along in the video to understand all of June’s instructions.)
Step 1: Duplicate the background layer & move to new layer button
Step 2: Select lasso tool with feathering set to zero pixels
Step 3: Trace outline around portrait while leaving gap to capture all the hair
Step 4: Go to Edit > Fill (Make sure Content Aware is selected in drop-down menu)
Step 5: Leave color adaption checked and opacity to 100% then click OK
Step 6: Wait a few seconds for portrait to disappear
Step 7: Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur then press OK
Step 8: Wrinkles in backdrop should now be removed
Step 9: To get portrait back, mask it back in by clicking on Layer Mask
Step 10: Select Paint Brush tool, set to large size and put hardness at zero percent
Step 11: Set opacity and flow to 100% and background copy layer to 50%
Step 12: Select black to let background layer show through
Step 13: With portrait now visible, start painting on background copy Layer Mask
Step 14: With Layer Mask selected, use smaller brush to detail parts of portrait including edges
Step 15: While detailing edges of portrait, begin refining and/or eliminating stray hairs
Step 16: Zoom out and check progress of mask by holding down Alt & clicking on mask itself
Step 17: Fix any remaining gaps you missed
Step 18: Hold down Alt & click the mask again to see the final result!