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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 34 of 60

Capture On-Location Base Plate Image


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 34 of 60

Capture On-Location Base Plate Image


Lesson Info

Capture On-Location Base Plate Image

The next one here we're just gonna be covering you know, what I'm looking for, what I'm thinking when I'm out shooting backgrounds and how I like to basically hop around, and some of the squirrels that run around in my brain which by the way, there's a lot of squirrels that run around there so you're gonna see when I'm photographing in the next segment, I turn into a little kid. So for those of you who think it's unprofessional, get over yourself (laughs). (audience laughs) I love my job. So yeah! That's like, I don't know, squirrels (chuckles). We're gonna see some videos and we're gonna do some stuff. So yeah I'm just gonna sit, take some frames here of the background. I've got this nice cliff-line here that I really like. It's nice and simple, I don't have to worry about a model, I'm not worried about freezing anything other than myself and maybe getting my camera too wet which I can live with, so that means I can sit here and just focus on the composition, and where I want everythi...

ng to go. So, first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna get nice and low, I'm gonna shoot the angles that I know I like, and I know I'm gonna use, and then I'm gonna get some different heights and different angles. So basically I'm just selecting a point where I think I'll put the model, and then I'm just gonna shoot the frames that I like. I'm gonna make sure that I'm a little bit overexposed just so that I know I have the information. And essentially what I've done here is I found there's a black rock on the ground that's actually a good anchor point for me going into the studio later, that I know where I can put this person so I'm just putting my focus point on that so it's something that's obvious, and then going forward I just have more references. Alright, Charni can I get you to come in here? And so this is basically just so that I can get an accurate height. I'm gonna back you up, see that black rock behind you? Nope over this way, little bit, little bit, little bit, there you go, that one. Awesome, so that's the rock that I was focusing on so I'm just gonna put her in the exact same spot, we're gonna take a shot and now I have a reference for the atmospheric light, and the height she needs to be for the shot. So I'll take a shot from standing, portrait, and landscape just so that I have the options. And then can I get you to come closer? So in the world of options I like to shoot that I have options - good - so now I have a different perspective just so that I have more options going forward, more information. Awesome. Perfect. And that's pretty much it. I take lots of photos. Yep, I take lots of photos (chuckles). Lots and lots, and lots of photos. So I mean, we were out there for 15 minutes and I didn't take tons, and tons of them this trip because we didn't really need to but yeah, a lot of times also what I'll do is I'll photograph different cliff parts so that maybe I could build them into the background further away but we're not gonna do that this CreativeLive, but in other case it's some of the stuff I like to look at. So I'm gonna just pull this up this JPEG here and so when we're looking at this image, and we're looking at this light, we wanna be able to replicate this in post-production, right? So we're gonna sit here and I'm gonna look at this, and I'm gonna say oh okay so we have a slightly brighter highlight here than we do here, and actually her outfit being a little by shiny makes this really easy to see what's going on. So you have one light source coming from here even though technically it's all one light source but if we're building this in post-production, we're building this in lighting, we're gonna have to figure out where we're gonna put our lights so we have one rim light here, one rim light here. And then we have another light source here, you can see here on her face it's a little bit softer, we could probably bring one light here that's gonna come down at this angle, and then we're gonna have a fill light here. Now because I love the look of lighting on location, I love strobe lighting on location, it's some of my favorite photography that I love to look at from other artists that are doing that, I will probably bring in this light from this direction that's gonna hit her face a little bit stronger just so you get a little bit more shaping in her face, and we can just kind of build this nicely. So if I was to put these two lights behind her on the corner, I want them to be large, soft light sources because I want the light to wrap around her nicely so I'll probably use V-Flats. I mean a lot of people say that oh, well you could use you know big soft boxes or whatever but V-Flats are cheap. If you don't have the money for V-Flats, you can go to where they sell fridges and you can get like those fridge cardboard boxes and paint that stuff white (chuckles), and you have a V-Flat. So they work pretty well. I mean if you want it to be harsher light you can line it with tinfoil and it'll be even stronger, right? So you don't necessarily have to spend billions of dollars on crazy expensive modifiers when you can just prop up some cardboard and then fire it. Another way that we could do this is we could start bouncing light off of a wall, you could start bouncing light off of a ceiling cause we do in this image, we do have light coming from the top like the very top of her head, but I'm probably not gonna build that today. The ceilings here are really tall and they have lots of texture, and everything, and I just, it's gonna be way more than we need to do today. So another case, going into my head I'm sitting here going okay I need four lights: two V-Flats and probably just, I like octoboxes cause I think they're pretty but you could actually use like large shoot-through umbrellas. So a shoot-through umbrella's gonna throw a lot of light everywhere and in this case that's okay because on this location we have a lot of light that is getting thrown everywhere.

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. :)