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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 31 of 60

Base Plate Focus Point


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 31 of 60

Base Plate Focus Point


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 Adobe® 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.

In this class 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.


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


Dino Maez

i have to say, the class was AMAZING! in every way from the tricks and technique's of mastering this art form to the personalized attention given by Renee. through the class you are able to learn information that would normally take the average person years of trial and error. Renee gives you the gift of benefitting from her her experiences and what she has learned THE HARD WAY! Renee is an outstanding instructor full of passion for what she does, and with a strong desire to not only improve the art, but more importantly, pay it forward, by sharing her knowledge with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event in person, truly a once in a lifetime experience for me, the staff at creative live were THE BEST! they are helpful in every way and really made this event something special, i can't say enough about the experience i had and would highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go down for a class, it will be an experience that you will never forget. but the best part of creative live is that wether you are there in person or wether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you are involved in the class in REAL TIME, you have the ear and attention of the skilled artist giving the instruction, being there myself i can tell you that Renee was regularly given questions and comments from the viewers via the creative live staff and she would respond to them as they came, in that way you are very much apart of the class you are never left without getting that personalized attention of an amazing artist or that specific question you have answered, and even better you have the option to purchase the class and have it as a constant resource in your tool kit that you can refer back to at any point that you need a refresher or want to recall that special technique that was demonstrated. thank you thank you to renee and all the staff at creative live you have a life long member in me. and i would recomend that everyone take advantage of this valuable resource dino maez

stephen lenman

I have completed many creative courses. This is by far the best so far. Quite the most amazing and inspiring presenter with a true passion for their craft. The core information is excellent, but the thing i liked most were her subtle tangents, dropping incredible information completely on the fly. A complete real world honest view of business and practical side of the industry. Especially her advice on how she started to her business. Saving up enough in her day job so she could pay the rent, and do photography for 3-6 months.

Sheldon Carvalho

Awesome class. I've been following Renee for a very long time. I love her work and to finally see her work and get an image done from start to finish was quite something.. I love the way she sees things and the way she treats her work and all fellow creative. I would recommend this to everyone interested in getting into composting. Looking forward to creating and making my own art work. But it now :) Have fun creating. :)