Photo Shoot #1 - Creating a Simple Composite
during this photo shoot, we're going to do a self portrait together, and I'm really excited about this because self portraiture is really where I live. I don't love working with other people, although working with Anna was very, very nice. I tend to work by myself because I have complete control over the creative process, and that makes me feel really good. I love to know that the concept is mine. The direction of the cameras, mind the costuming, the set design and whatever the character does. It's all mine, and that's such a great feeling, because you don't have to answer to anybody, and you don't have to go over all of your creative ideas and then lose some of it to the process of collaboration. So while there are obviously pros and cons to both, I want to do a self portrait today because that's my normal workflow. I work in my office. It's about a 10 ft by 10 ft square room, and that's pretty much all the space that I have. So today we're in a studio where I have a lot more space, b...
ut I'm still going to confine myself to a single backdrop in a wall. And that's how we're going to do a few different photo shoots. As a bonus, you get to download these images that I'm shooting right now and you can edit alongside me. So if you are so inclined, please do download those images so that we can edit together later on. And you can do whatever you want with them. Just have fun and edit me into whatever seen you feel like today for our photo shoots. We're going to do three photo shoots, possibly even four right now. And they're all gonna be very similar in tone. So I'm basically gonna go from beginning to advanced and we're going to just kind of ADM or and Mawr to each shot. So then what are the pictures that we're going to dio? Well, let me show you. OK, I've got my notebook here and in my notebook. I have three different photo shoots drawn out. The first one will be the simplest because I'm going to, and I know that you have no idea what this is because it's just a really weird stick figure. So don't worry. It's just for my reference. But the first shot I'm going to be holding candles and that's gonna be the base image. When we talk about composited image we're talking about right now, this is gonna be composited. I want to make sure that I have every shot that I need, but I don't want to do it at the cost of attempting to do four different things at once in a single photo. It's hard enough with a remote in your hand, so I'm going to get my base shot and the base shot is going to be where I am simply standing and I get as much movement as possible in the picture. But I'm not gonna worry about trying to have my hair moving and my dress moving while holding burning candles because that sounds pretty dangerous to me. So I'm gonna get us much as I can in one shot that will be my base shot. Everything will build on top of that when you're compositing. It's very important Thio during the shooting process, think about which image will come first in your layers in Photoshop, and if you can think about post processing while you're shooting, you're going to have a much easier time with everything. The problem comes when you don't think about how it's going to come together and editing, and then you end up with so many images and you're not sure which one to start with. So think of it as building blocks. Which image has to be your base and which ones will be easier to build on top of Ah, good example of this is what we're doing right now. I'm going to shoot myself in my pose as much as possible. And then I'm going to add hair on that's moving and a little bit of dress that's moving. And by doing those things in that order, I know that I'll have the picture of me. Then I'll add the hair. Then I'll add the dress. Now think of it in reverse. What if you had just a really good piece of hair, but then you had to add the entire body onto the hair. It gets a lot trickier that way, and there's more editing and more room for error in Photoshop. So start with the base, where as much is happening as possible, and then move on to the smaller bits that you can add on later. So that's what we're going to do for the first shot. Holding candles that are burning, hair moving, dress moving, simple for the next shot. We're going tohave it hair galore, which again this looks like absolutely nothing. But that's okay. I get it. And for that shot, I'm going to be facing the wall. I'm going to have my hair moving in every direction. It's gonna be kind of like this big, sweeping mop of hair all over the place, hopefully looking like it's kind of attached to the wall behind me. And then for the very final shot that we're going to do, we're gonna kind of combine a lot of different things together. I'm going to use rope and I'm going to make it look like the rope is tied around my hands and that I'm being tied to the wall so the rope is going to go from my wrists to the wall. We're going to have to composite a lot of different elements together, from the dress to my hair to the ropes in all separate images. But it's going to be OK, I promise, because we will walk through it as simply as possible. So those are my three images that I'm going to do today, and I want to talk a little bit before we jump in about the self portrait process. In case you're interested in practicing that yourself. I've got my camera set up on a tripod here, and this is how I like to work. Because, of course, it's much easier when you have full control over your equipment. But if you don't have the resource is to create a self portrait easily. Chances are you still have. The resource is to create some sort of self portrait. If I don't have a tripod, I use rocks or a stool or anything. I confined to prop my camera up. I do have a remote here. This is the Sony RMT DSLR too remote, and it's great because it works just by pointing and clicking. Very, very simple. But if you don't have a remote, you can use a 12th timer and it's gonna go just fine, I promise. So there are easier ways to do a self portrait and more difficult ways, but don't worry about which ever one is right for you. Just go for it nothing really matters, especially with a self portrait, because you can delete it if you don't like it, and it's just something to try out for fun. So hopefully you enjoy these images that you get to edit, and I can't wait to see what you do with them. And I'm going to jump into my camera settings now to see if we can get everything working as it should. I've got my camera placed vertically, and the reason why I have placed my camera vertically is because I am going to fit my whole body vertically into the frame. And this is something that I do think about quite a bit when I set my frame is, Do I want it to be horizontal or vertical? And the way that I decide is will the body or thing that I'm photographing be wide in the frame or tall? And I always set my camera accordingly instead of leaving at horizontal as you naturally would. Essentially, that's just going to make the subject smaller in the frame, so I wanna fill the frame with the subject as much as possible so that I have the highest resolution image possible without cropping down or cutting out a smaller object in the frame. So I'm going vertical with this because I will be vertical in the frame. Let's get the settings. And right now, I I tend to shoot pretty dark. So I'm at 1. 60 from my shutter speed F 4.0, and s 0 12 50. What I know about the shoot that I'm doing right now is that there will be movement. I'm going to have my hair flinging and my dress moving. And if there's going to be movement, then I need to make absolutely certain that I'm not gonna have total motion blur in the image. So I wouldn't go under 100 for the shutter speed because that's going to cause motion Blur. I want to keep it ideally above to 50. Because if I could do that, then I'm going to capture the movement pretty well. I am all for a certain amount of blur. I think that it adds realism to the image. It makes it seem more cinematic, like what you're seeing is really happening. There's real motion. It's not totally constructed in a perfectly shot camera image, so I want a little little bit of blur. So I'm gonna aim for my shutter speed to be around 200 to 50 somewhere around that range. So let's see if we can adjust our settings just a little bit. I'm at 1 60 right now, so I'm gonna go to Let's see 22 50 will be good. And I'm just compensating with my f stop. So now my f stop is 3.5 and I'm leaving my eyes. So a 12 50 I don't know if you're very, you know, have a lot of concerns about isso, but I don't I just don't worry very much about eso because I don't really mind grain in My images were so often taught. Okay, get rid of the grain, make it clean, make sure the eyes air and focus. I don't really care about any of those things. So if my eyes aren't in focus, not a big deal to me. If it's grainy, not a big deal, it adds to texture. Right. And the point of my images is not to take a portrait. The point is not to say Okay, I'm taking a portrait of a person, got to get the eye and focus. It's just a character in a scene. So wherever the camera focuses on me, that's where it focuses. I am using an auto focus lens, so it's going to focus on me when I when I pushed back into the frame. So I'm not worried about nailing any particular focus, Justus, long as I am generally and focus Ah, lot of people ask me, How do you focus a self portrait? Well, there are two ways. One is you use your auto focus lens with a remote, and when I stepped back to take the picture, it's going to focus on me in particular. If you have a camera that can do, I auto focus, it will try to find your I. So that's one way to get your eye and focus, if that is of concern to you. The other way that I focus is manually. By switching my lens to manual focus, putting something where I'm going to stand like a stool or anything you confined that's, you know, kind of roughly. You're right, maybe a spare tripod. I love using spare tripods for that, and you know, if you go thio, your local thrift store. You might even find a very inexpensive tripod, which might be missing the plate for it. Ah, lot of those end up a thrift stores, but it's a great stand in for self portrait. So if that's an option to you, go ahead and manually focus on something and then move it out of the way when you're ready to stand in. And that's a great way toe focus. A self portrait. And in fact, I used that method for years and years and it was totally fine. So let's take a test shot. I think that we're ready for a test shot. I'm going to step back and get against my backdrop here pretty close because I actually want to maneuver this later on so that this backdrop looks like a really dark textured wall in a room, and that's going to be the goal here. So I'm going to step back and see what we can dio for our first test shot right there. And I think that I'll be all in the shot and I've got my remote and the best thing. If you're looking for costumes, look for pockets because I get to put this remote right in my pocket and pose, and it's going to be nicer than throwing it frantically across the room like I usually dio. So point click it focused post. Then I'm going to check it. So let's see how we did. It looks pretty good. And in fact, I am at a 24 millimeter focal length here and the That's great. I mean, I'm not going to get a lot of distortion or anything with that. I think that's totally fine. However, I'm back a little bit far from the backdrop, and I wanna make sure that I am filling the frame as much as possible. So I'm going to zoom in just a little bit here and see how that looks. And I might even tilt my camera down so that I could get my feet in a little bit easier. Let's see how that looks and we'll just take one more shot here. So I moved back. Okay, I think I'm good. I'm using a two second timer here. This is a two second timer that will allow me to click it focuses, put in my pocket pose. I always like to have my pocket ready Because two seconds is not that long. There, okay? And hopefully that was a little bit tighter. Okay, we're looking really good here. And I wouldn't want to go any tighter than this because if I dio on, I have some epic hair flip. It will probably go up and out of the frame. So this is close as I'm going to get, which will be great. And the millimeter that I'm at is about 30 millimeters on this doom. So I didn't go too much further in, but enough that I'm filling the frame. So let's try out our first test shot with the candles because this shot's gonna be with the candles. So I'm going to grab that here and I'll get them lit. And what I have learned is that it's a lot more fun Toe have lots of candles in the shot to make the flame bigger and have it be just a thicker pile of candles. That way it's a little bit more dramatic. So let's see what we can dio gonna light thes up here. I'm really scared of fire. I don't know why I do this. Maybe three candles. I'm getting scared of four. Okay, there we go. And let's light them. If you can't like candles or you want to do something like this, you can always like them in Photoshop. But I prefer to do it here because there's a chance that it's going to light my face just to touch. And then you can really enhance that later on. Of course, you can also dim your light down, shoot this in a darker scenario and really get that glow of the candles, which is really beautiful. Oh, why am I so scared of fire? Okay, here we go. Gonna back it up already. Have wax all over me. That's okay. Okay. So you can see I wouldn't wanna have to do all these hair flips with candles. I have I burned my hair on my stove all the time and it's a problem, so I'm not going to try to fling my head around right now. I'm just going to get my hair kind of back behind me. And the reason why I'm putting my hair behind my back right now is because I want it eventually to be moving outward just gently so that it looks like there's almost like a breeze coming in. And if my hair is laying flat in front of me like this, there's no way that it would be believable that it's also out here. So I wanna make sure that I'm thinking about every step of that process from now until I finish. When I bring this into Photoshop, what are going to be the barriers that do not allow believability in this image? That would be one of them. So I'm tucking my hair behind my ears. Okay. Whoa. That wax. Okay, here we go. I'm gonna get ready. I'm gonna get ready with my pocket, and I'm going to just put my feet together. I'll probably go up on tiptoe a little bit to make it a little bit more elegant, so I'm not just flat foot here, Okay, so I'm gonna check the images, check for focus, make sure that everything look good there, and it looks like we could see the smoke just a teensy little bit, but that's OK. We've got a good main shot here. Um, which looks really nice. Particularly because my arms are spread a little bit wider. So what I'm seeing is the definition of the waste. Their which looks looks really nice. And now we just have to focus on hair and dress. So I'm going to throw these down, okay and make sure that my cameras reset. So let's get the hair. It's really important when you shoot things like this that you think about believability. And in this case I don't really want the hair going crazy up and out because it's not following the laws of physics, which is super important. So I wanna make sure that it's just a gentle little hair toss, nothing too big and make it very believable. So I'm gonna keep my hair tucked a little bit behind my ears, just like I had it before. I have two seconds. I can hold the remote so I don't have to get rid of it. It's totally fine. I'm just gonna use the hair from the shot, so I'm going to click, and here we go, and then we'll just do that a few more times, and I'm just gonna keep doing it in different, different methods so that I get enough of options and we'll see what works out. I might even just do that a little bit. Come on. On the other side, just a teensy little bits. I'm gonna check thes and we got a nice one. We got a couple who they look pretty good. Those looked really good. So I'm going to reset and just focus on the dress now, And that's going to be even easier than the hair because the dress doesn't move as much and it doesn't have pieces to it. So let's go do that. Alright? Just focused on the dress, nothing else. And and that's it. It doesn't really flow because this dress doesn't have a lot of motion. So I'm not looking to go like that, necessarily. Just little bits of motion on the other side. It's also quite important to think about three dimensionality when it comes to shooting something like this. So instead of Onley going on the two dimensional field that you will see in the final shot, it's important to go forward and back and really take into account that you are in a three d space that Okay, let's see how those look good. We have plenty of good shots of the dress