Base Plate Focus Point


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


Lesson Info

Base Plate Focus Point

So one of the things I really like to make sure of is that when I'm shooting this I'm picking an aperture that I like to use. So in this case I'm going to be shooting around f my ISO is 320 and I'm at a hundredth of a second. It doesn't really matter, there's no like one specific formula that you should use on your camera, it's just whatever you like to use, whatever settings you like to use. So in this case this is what I'm using for the weather here. I want to make sure that my sky is slightly overexposed so it's easier to extract to replace a different sky. But I also want to place to focus point of where I'm gonna be putting my subject. So wherever it is that I'm imagining in my head I'm picturing somebody there so that I can focus that point and when I composite them it's actually going to make sense for the aperture that I'm using. So I think that's pretty straightforward. If you're going to be building a composite nothing will get you called out faster on the internet than if yo...

u place somebody where it's not in focus where their feet are (laughts). Earlier on in my career years ago I did this composite and it was really cute and pretty but it wasn't intended to be high fine art or anything. But it has a girl standing on a chess board. But of course when you're shooting it macro on a chess board and you're putting a person in there you're allowable tolerance of where you can put the person is very very small. And it was definitely out of my skill range and I botched it and so of course there was like this comment string of people calling me out and saying I was a hack. So, (laughs) if you make mistakes like that sometimes the internet can be a little merciless. So trying to keep you know, visual references of where you're photographing and where your focus point is and when you're putting the person in there, just kind of being aware of where they're going to go is going to make things a lot smoother and a lot more seamless for you. Do you have a favorite as far as your wheelhouse where your f11, f8, f like what's your go to? Generally my favorite, I like to shoot in the studio and my locations between f11 and f13. Okay. Just because I like the depth that it gives me. It gives me a little bit more flexibility. Sometimes I'll shoot some background pieces with f, (snaps fingers), brain, hold on here, 100mm macro. Hmm. So then even though I'm shooting something that is quite far away at a relatively high aperture that's still, those lenses compress so much that this very specific spot so that I can put that person. So when I'm shooting something like that, where maybe I'm stitching together a bunch of images that were shot at 100mm, alright, we're gonna have that compression and so it's gonna be like really out of focus very very quickly and dramatically so. So it's very limiting that way. But in that way it's just another way to create a beautiful composite, but you have to be very careful so like if I had, if I shot somebody with a 100mm lens let's say I shot the background like that, I have some footage from Hawaii about that, and so if we had that, and we had somebody, and like say we had some fabric that was flying out right, we would have to photograph her with the same lens at the same aperture so that that dress was out of focus at the same time with that compression, alright. So, and if you don't believe me go try it. Go rent a lens if you don't have one, rent a lens and see if you can do it and see what happens. Pay attention to the pixels, zoom in nice and close and see what's happening. So it's really cool and it's really fun but I mean if you have a lot of stuff coming out it's gonna suddenly, you're gonna notice that it's gonna look inconsistent when you're trying to drop that person into the background. But yeah, my favorite, I like to shoot backgrounds, it's like between 16 to 35mm or 50mm, both of those are very common for me. And then going from there because it's not quite as hard (laughs). Awesome! Another question from the chat rooms. Real good from Nicole, wants to know. How often do you put in a stand in? And if there's no available stand in, do you like put a tripod or some sort of object out there that you know you can focus on? Yeah, so, and you'll see in the next video what I like to do, even if I don't have a stand in I'll have, usually I'll have like a camera bag or something like that and I'm like, tah, I'll throw it in and I'll also have like this reference point and depending on what kind of costume you have your person in you don't even have to edit out the camera bag. You can just put them over it, right? So if you don't have somebody climbing with you just bring something with you. I know Brooke Shaden, she uses a tripod, you know, when she's trying to focus where she's going to be doing her self portraits she puts the tripod up and then when she gets in the scene she just throws the tripod out of the way, alright. So it's, use what's available to you. I hate hiking with tripods so unfortunately with my motorcycle crash I have a leg that doesn't work very well so I can't carry tons of weight so I'm doing this, like the least amount of stuff possible so my backpack which probably has food and a camera in it is usually my victim if I don't have anybody else with me.

Class Description

With the right Photoshop know-how and studio shoot experience, you can merge fact and fiction into a reality that lives up to your imagination. Renee Robyn has made a career of turning everyday photos from her travels into eye-catching images. Robyn will teach you how to add people and other elements to your existing landscape photos using ethereal custom effects.

Join us for “Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography” and you’ll learn:

  • How to choose or set up a shoot for your background image
  • How to direct posing during a shoot, and work with directional light in studio to make your subject fit into the background image
  • How to composite your subject into your image using Photoshop

Photo compositing allows you to breathe interesting ideas into your photos. Open your hard drive, walk into your memory, and turn past experiences into fantastic new realities.


1Class Introduction
2Why You Should Sketch Your Composite
3What to Look for in Your Background
4Posing Your Model
5Communicate with Your Team
6Elements of Compositing
7Learning from Failure & Criticism
8On-Location Safety Tips
9How to Nail the Right Perspective for Your Composite Photo
10Gauging Light & Exposure On-Location
11On-Location Posing
12Cliff Shoot Location Final Thoughts
13Tips for Culling Images
14Culling Images Q&A
15Preparing Your Image for Composite
16Composite Image Cleanup
17Adding Background Image to Composite
18The Difference Between Flow & Opacity
19Composite Sky Elements
20Using Curves to Color Match
21Adding Atmospheric Depth to Image
22Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color
23Using the Liquify Tool
24Color Theory & Monitor Calibration
25Adding Smoke Layer to Image
26Selective Sharpening
27Crop Your Image
28Goal Setting for Digital Artists
29Review of Location Composite
30Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image
31Base Plate Focus Point
32Base Plate Lighting Tips
33How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image
34Capture On-Location Base Plate Image
35Student Positioning Demo
36Base Plate Sketching
37On-Location Sky Capture
38What to Look for in a Base Plate Model
39Building Composite Model Lighting
40Composite Model Test Shots for Angle Matching
41Composite Model Shoot: The Art of Fabric Throwing
42Composite Model Shoot: Working with Hair
43Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques
44Composite Test with Final Shot
45Lighting Setup Overview
46Culling Model Shoot Images
47Adjusting Skintone Colors
48Merging Background with Model
49How to Mask Hair
50Creating a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool
51Creating Shadow Layers
52Removing Visual Distractions with Stamp Tool
53Replacing Sky with Layer Mask
54Drawing Hair Strands and Atmospheric Depth
55Creating Contrast in Your Composite
56Adding Atmospheric Elements
57Using Particle Shop
58Selective Color Adjustments
59Cropping, Sharpening, & Final Touches
60Closing Thoughts