how to fix hair in photoshop

As a wedding photographer, you likely hear requests from clients about aspects they would like adjusted in their photos. A common request is to be able to fix hair using Photoshop. Continue reading below to learn more.

How to Fix Hair in Photoshop

Even with the best intentions and preparations, hair issues are common and often unavoidable in your photography. There are many factors that can lead to hair problems. Knowing how to fix them in Photoshop will help you get the images you want and make your clients happy.

It can be tedious and difficult to fix hair in Photoshop. This can impact the time required to create and deliver images. We understand the importance of a quick and efficient workflow as professional photo editors for photographers. This is why we created this tutorial on how to fix hair in Photoshop.

Types of Hair Issues

There are a few different types of issues hair can cause in your images that you know your clients will want to be adjusted. These include fixing any stray hairs or fly-away hairs or styling the hair. We will show you how to correct each issue so that you can create stunning images that your clients will love.

Related: How to Use the Liquify Tool in Photoshop

Fix Stray or Fly-Away Hair

The first portion we will cover is how to remove stray hairs in Photoshop. Fly-away hair is also included. Although you may do everything you can to avoid any stray or flyaway hairs, clients can easily get it and this will be evident as you review your images in post. These are the steps to correct this issue.

1. Create a New Layer

As you work to fix stray or fly-away hair in Photoshop, it can be valuable to create a new layer. This allows you to freely work on your image without having to alter or damage the original.

To create a new layer in Photoshop, simply:

  1. Drag the existing layer to the “Create New Layer” icon at the bottom. This will automatically create a brand new layer.
  2. Name the layer you just created so that they are easy to distinguish. You may use different names for layers.

Quick Tip

If your image needs any adjustments, such as correcting exposure, adjusting white balance, or cropping, you can perform those actions before you create a new layer. You can save your changes and apply them to the new layer.

Related: Can you relate to these professional photographer’s edit stories?

2. Use the “Clone Stamp” Tool

After you create a new layer for your image, use the “Clone Stamp” tool to remove any stray or fly-away hair. Access the “Clone Stamp” tool in Photoshop by clicking “S” on your keyboard or by selecting the icon on the left side menu.

clone stamp tool photoshop
Image by Image Studio Photography

Set the opacity and fill to a percentage that best fits the needs of your image. This setting is easy if you use a soft edge. You will avoid any sloppy edges. After those are fixed, you can remove any strays and fly-aways from the edges of your hair.

3. Create a “Layer Mask”

The next step is to create a “Layer Mask.” According to Adobe, “Layer masks are resolution-dependent bitmap images that are edited with the painting or selection tools.”

Follow these steps to create a “Layer Mask”:

  1. Click on “Layer” in the top menu.
  2. Hover over “New.”
  3. Select “Layer from Background.”

This creates a mask that hides the work of the “Clone Stamp” tool. Use a stiffer edge brush to paint the background. Next, choose white. This allows you paint the cloning work using the brush.

Once you’re done, you may merge the layers in Photoshop.

Quick Tip

Set a lower opacity for the brush to accurately blend the layers together.

OPTIONAL: Remove Crosshairs

Another adjustment you can make to the hair is to remove crosshairs. For lighter hair in darker backgrounds, set the brush to “Lighten.” For darker hair in lighter areas, set the brush to “Darken.” This is listed as an optional technique because it is difficult and tedious to master and it can be challenging to be precise.

Related: How to Add Grain to Your Images in Photoshop

Other Options to Fix Hair

There is another option that can allow you to fix hair in Photoshop and that is to use the “Spot Healing Brush.” Access this brush by pressing “J” on your keyboard or click the icon on the left side menu.

To blend less clearly, choose a soft-edged brush.

Lightroom allows you to spot-correct and heal!

Quick Tip

When you get too close to the edge of the hair, the blending becomes noticeable and does not look good on your image. You can go back to using the “Clone” tool to fix this, and then swap back to the “Healing Brush.”

Fill in the Hair

After you remove the stray or fly-away hair, you can now look for sections of hair that may be missing. Here are some steps to fill in hair for your clients.

1. Create a new layer

As mentioned earlier, when you create a new layer, you can make any image adjustments needed without compromising the original version.

These are the steps to create a new layer in Photoshop:

  1. Drag the existing layer to the “Create New Layer” icon at the bottom. This will automatically create a brand new layer.
  2. Name the layer you just created so that they are easy to distinguish. You may use different names in Photoshop, so the naming convention of layers can vary.

2. Use the “Clone Stamp” Tool

Once you make a new layer of the image, use the “Clone Stamp” tool to paint in another copy of just your client’s hair. Then, add the new hair to the top of the existing hair. Then, add a “Layer Mask” and paint with white the area you need to fill.

“Layers” and “Layer Masks” are linked, though you can unlink them and move each one separately. This can be done by clicking on the link that appears between the layer & the mask. Select the layer you want to move your hair.

Quick Tip

Use the “Transform” tool to rotate or adjust hair inside of the blank area as needed. Use the keyboard shortcut Command +T for Macs (Control+T for PCs), or click on the icon in the left-hand menu.

These helpful tips will help you reduce noise in your wedding photos.

Add Volume to Hair

In some scenarios, you may want to add volume to hair in Photoshop. Sometimes, while you are fixing fly-away or stray hairs, you may accidentally take out some hair that makes it look natural. It makes the hair look more natural and less fake when you add volume.

Here are the steps to add volume to hair in Photoshop:

  1. Click “Filter” and select “Liquify.”
  2. With a large brush, carefully pull out the edges of the hair. To create a gradual effect, use short brush strokes to add volume to your hair.
  3. Choose “OK” to finalize the adjustments.

Quick Tip

For an image that has a busy background, make sure to keep an eye on how your changes affect everything else in the photo.

Related: 5 of the best tips to use while in Photoshop – get them here

Knowing how to fix hair in Photoshop can be challenging, and sometimes tedious. However, being able to master the basics can make it easier to create stunning images that clients will love. You will find it easier to adjust these images the more you practice.

You can streamline your workflow by learning how to use Adobe post-processing software like Lightroom and Photoshop.

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