Shooting in Small Spaces

If you follow me on Instagram (@joefarace) you know that a few months ago, my basement was flooded damaging to my in-home studio. We’re in the final phase of repairs and when it’s completely finished I’ll do a video tour of the 11×15-foot shooting space.

joy1Shooting full-length poses in my home studio ±or any small shooting space—are a challenge. While large muslin backgrounds can be softly shaped to fit the available space, seamless paper backdrops firmly resist such treatment so while a 53-inch paper background fits my space, the 107-inch versions won’t. I can shoot on the narrow background but the images would have to be rescued later in the digital darkroom. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I photographed a subject standing in front of a 53-inch roll of Savage Soft Gray seamless paper using three monolights. Because of her full-length pose and the narrow 53-inch seamless paper, I was unable to capture a full background in the same frame as the model.

joy2Step 2: I used Photoshop’s rectangular Selection tool to select an area between the left edge of the seamless paper and Joy’s elbow. Using Photoshop’s Content Aware Scaling feature (Edit > Content-Aware Scale) I dragged one of the selection “handles” until the original frame was filled with gray background. I clicked Enter and was finished with this part of the background. Tip: If you have an older version of Photoshop that lacks Content Aware Scaling, you can just select and drag one of the handles and it should work for with a solid color backgrounds like this one but even Content-Aware Scale didn’t work as well as I would have liked with the brick Silverlake Photo Faux Floor.

joy3Step 3: Next I used the rectangular Selection tool to select an area between the right edge of the seamless paper and Joy’s other elbow. Then, using the same technique as the left-hand edge of the seamless background, I used Content Aware Scaling (Edit > Content-Aware Scale) to drag one of its “handles” until the frame was filled with gray background and (more or less) brick floor.



joy4Step 4: It’s finished Here’s the final image with some retouching and a few overall tweaks, such as some burning in on the floor.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.13.43 AM


To learn more about studio lighting techniques, please pick up a copy of my book, “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as including

Author: Joe Farace

Share This Post On
%d bloggers like this: