I’ve had the chance to photograph Karolyn and some of here family a few times over the years. Each year they want a theme or something new and unique. This year I have been working on my Photoshop compositing skills and I thought it might be fun to do the whole shoot with Photoshop… if the family was game. I would supply them the original photographs which were photographed in studio on a grey or white background.
Each person could pick a theme and or location that appealed to them. One person loved New York City, one wanted Paris, another loves to visit Disneyland. One loved to skateboard…
This was a huge undertaking and I don’t think I will try to create this many composites for one project again. And right around this time I had a computer malfunction so I had to use an older backup computer. It is a good thing to have backups. I don’t want to lose my photographs and I don’t want to lose work for clients. Knock on wood that won’t happen but I take many steps to prevent critical failure. Due to the slower computer it did take me a little longer to complete the edits for this photo shoot.
Many of the backgrounds are from stock photography websites. A few of them are backgrounds I photographed myself. Given more time and budget I could make a lot of these near perfect, however, these were going to be printed no larger than 5×7″ print for an album or to be stuck on the wall. So extreme detail wasn’t needed. In all I created 22 photoshop composites. In one case I did swap the sky for the Salt Flats photograph. It started with a plain blue sky with white clouds and I changed it to a fiery sunset.
Adding more people to a Photoshop creation does require a bit more work. I have more legs, hands, arms, and hair to separate from the background and then added to a new background. Then I get to paint the shadows. At the moment I think I need more practice in shadow painting. I have full control so I can put things in and leave things out. The balancing act is to know if a viewer will wonder if the photograph “feels” wrong because I didn’t create the right amount of shadow, color, detail, or something else.
The family brought some props for skateboarding, luggage, and even a snorkel. We would have them walk in the studio to get some natural motion for the camera.
In all this was a fun project but in the future I may limit this kind of work to personal projects and not to paid projects unless the client specifically requests this kind of work. And with more projects and practice I will get better at this.
Update: here are some links to more recent Photoshop Composites: