Tips for Removing Those Pesky Hair Ties From Photos

Tips for Removing Those Pesky Hair Ties From Photos

Anyone with long hair is generally seen around town with hair ties worn as a bracelet. I keep many in my studio even to hold back wardrobe pieces that are not form fitting. While the best option is always to remember to have your client remove them before you start shooting, there is always that small chance you forget and it isn't seen until a few frames into the session.

After 10 years of photography, there have been a small handful of times that a hair tie makes it into a shot. Most of the time the client removes it and we start again. However, there is always that chance the shot you took might be a favorite and you do not want to lose it. Removing it can take less than a minute and save the shot. 

The client's gaze was intense and I did not want to lose this image below. Frequency separation is always the top choice if you are comfortable with the technique.

If you do not feel frequency separation is right for you at the time, a few other tools can do the trick and in a short amount of time as well. The spot removal tool is normally a great way to remove distractions if they are small. In this case, it became too destructive to her arm. 

An alternative to the spot removal tool is the patch tool. Select a wider range around the tie to create a smoother blend. If you chose the patch option, you can add the clone tool to the sides. In some cases the patch tool when moved from her skin to the couch will bleed a portion of the colors. The clone tool is a perfect fit for the sides. Make sure to use a thin brush to get in tight to the sides of the wrist. The first image is use of the patch and the second shows the clone.

After choosing which tool works best in your image, make sure to blend with a light opacity brush using the skin tone on her arm. Lowering the opacity will help make the transition more natural and not overly smooth.

So while the best option is to always run through a quick check on those ties, these are just a few simple techniques if you run into this situation.

Log in to post comments

5 Comments

Rob Davis's picture

Always do a pre-shoot check that includes hair ties on the wrist. Talk about the scourge of hair ties before you shoot.

I shot models in a fashion studio for 6 years. I think I said..."is that a bracelet or your hair-tie?" approx 200 times. It was a daily pre-shoot check....along with...."your cell phone stays in the makeup room!"

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Yes and YES!!!!! This obsession with models posting to social media during a shoot is completely unsympathetic to the work the photographer and their crew put in, and shows a complete lack of respect for their time.

Oh that can of worms is even bigger! There's "wanting to txt in between every single shot"...a distraction...but posting or recording during shoots...Oh Man. I had a model set up her phone in a corner....live streaming a client shoot without anyone knowing about it.....then throwing a fit when we found out and stopped it!

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Same here. It was with two sisters that are very "free" with themselves parading around my studio topless while one of the sisters was livestreaming without the other knowing. They got into a massive fight, nut I managed to calm down the offended young lady and all was good after we told the teenager (19yo, relax lol) to not do that.