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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 43 of 60

Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 43 of 60

Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques


Lesson Info

Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques

So let's trying something that's straight onto me and let's have, like, a nice, nice, like, high hand like this and let's really push a lot of weight into your hip. Yeah, great. And let's stay nice and, bend your elbow a little bit more sideways this way, good and then this, yeah, that's really nice. So I'm gonna show you what happens to her face here quickly. I'm gonna, so why I had, so turn your head back to the way it was. So this is really pretty, right, that's nice. Now tip your head the other way, remember how we just had it? That way, yeah, good and drop your chin. Great, one, two, three. So that's before and that's after. Both of those are very soft and very sweet and very feminine but I know that if I shoot this from a lower angle, if I have this facial pose, her face is gonna kinda disappear a little bit, right, 'cause we have a lot of other stuff going on and I really would like to see her face so I'll turn her head a little bit more. So that's probably what I'm gonna do, le...

t's do that again, yeah, great, awesome and let's do, we're not gonna worry about the hair right now, let's do, let's pull your hair over your shoulder, yeah, awesome. I'm gonna do just a little adjustment on your hair here. Okay, just hold the pose, yeah, that's okay, no you're great. So I'm just going to lightly pull some of this stuff out. All of the fluffies! There we go. A tiny little bit here 'cause it's all just in those details, right, so I'm also noticing here, there's a couple strands that are a little bit straighter so I'm gonna just take the tension off of it so they're a little bit curly again. And, once again, I've got permission to be in her space, I asked, "Is it cool, can I get in your world?" and she said, "Yes." If I had a hair and makeup team and they handled all of that, I would stay back here behind my camera and I would talk to my makeup artist and say, "Hey, her eyelash is starting "to lift a little bit, can you fix that?" Or I would talk to the hair stylist and say, "Hey, there's a little stray strand there "that's lookin' a little bit weird, "can we deal with that?" In reality, if I have a good team, they'll notice all that stuff before I do. So let's just throw some fabric first. Awesome, that's very pretty. So your hand right now on your chest is a little bit flat so let's see if we can twist it in, just yeah, so a flat hand can sometimes be a little bit distracting because it's a bright spot, it's gonna reflect a lot of light so I want the hand to be a little bit softer because our eyes, naturally, as hunter gatherers, our little primal brain notices the brightest, sharpest point in image so a flat hand can sometimes be quite bright so I will often times turn it a little bit with nice soft fingers. That's pretty. All righty, so let's, a little bit nicer feet just in case, you can actually stand a little bit wider with your feet to get more accentuation on your hip, there we go, beautiful, awesome. And, let's see, let's drop your chin for me, just quickly, now raise it, awesome, and tip, yeah great and so let's move your eyes for me. Sorry guys, if you wanna just let go for a second to give your back a break, I'm just, like, moving her pose around a tiny little bit, awesome, so let's tip just a little bit more, awesome, so that's so pretty. Now let's figure out where your eyes are gonna go, follow my hand, yeah, beautiful. Awesome. Let's bring 'em up. There. Right here. So I often will tell people just keep your head in one spot, follow my hand with your eyes. So right here is very nice. Relax your mouth a little bit, just a little tiny bit. Yeah and it's okay if we see just a tiny little bit of teeth, yeah, great, beautiful. That's awesome. Okay. And this works best with models that are experienced. One, two and three. Awesome. Sometimes what can happen with people who are not experienced and you're micro posing them that much, they get a little dead in the eyes but with some girls that have, and boys, men, who have experience in front of the camera can keep that, kind of, spark in their eyes going so it's not so bad. So let's try, let's try pulling the fabric out a little bit wider and I'm gonna shoot this from a little bit further back. So that we get a little more room on that fabric. Great. One, two and three. Let's try that one more time guys. Yeah. Dear fabric genie, please deliver us the awesome fabric. All right, I need to get a little lower. Okay, one, two and three. Nice, that was pretty. Nice. Let's try it a little bit more from the front, actually, you can sit down for this part here so we don't keep ya standing there, feels kinda bad. Let's try to get, 'cause right now the fabric is getting a little bit concave on the front so let's see if we can throw it so that it fluffs out a little bit more this way and let's just see what happens. One, two and three. Eh, still kinda doin' it, that was not too bad though. It's nice and fluffy. It might just be the weight of the fabric on the front because it's a different material. Yeah, let's try it, let's just see what happens. Hm? Oh, okay, everybody's good? All righty. One, two and three. I'm totally shooting it a little bit too late, that was my fault. One, two and three. That's not too bad. That's very pretty. Okay, let's try one more pose with you. Do you have any questions while I'm sitting here snapping away? Yes, what can I help you with? When you're throwing the fabric, why don't you use continuous mode since you have said a few times that you didn't get it or you were late, why don't you try? Because I guess, in that regard, that's a really good question, my lights at home suck and they don't recharge fast enough so I can't shoot like one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight shots so I'm used to having to try and get it in camera each time and I actually think it's good practice that if you're doing that, to become a better photographer and, ya know, to get it in camera as much as possible so let's try a different pose, let's try a little bit higher up here, yeah, let's try this side, yeah, pretty and then we'll turn your head sideways just a little bit, bring this hand up just a little higher, we'll just connect the hands a little bit, yeah, not quite so palmy, there we go, that's pretty. All righty so I'm just gonna adjust your hair again if that's cool. That's nice. So she has such pretty, pretty curls in her hair and we'll twist your body away from me, just little bit, yeah, great. So in this case, with this shirt, notice the other model that we shot the other day, I had her turning her hips away from me, right, because the shirt was very tight fitting on her. In this case here, this flares out a little bit so this means that from the front, it has, it creates this nice hourglass illusion so we're kinda playing with it, we're working with it because it's flattering and it's beautiful and it's feminine so let's work with that, that's awesome and let's just just tip your chin just a little bit, awesome, and let's bring your eyes up a little bit, a little bit lower, let's see, I tend to like downcast eyes, I don't know why, something subliminal there, I'm sure. So pretty and just relax your mouth a little bit, that's very nice, cool, awesome. Fabric wranglers. And so I'm looking here also with my lighting, I'm looking at the shadows, right, so I'm noticing that we have a little bit of shadow here from this spot so we'll just have to, yeah, we'll step you forward a little bit so that, I mean we can get rid of it if we need to, awesome, let's not cover your head quite so much, let's bring it back a little bit, let's see, hm, let's see, hold on, guys, just give your back a break for a sec. So, I notice if I'm looking at it and I'm like ah, this isn't quite what I'm feelin', I'm like but it's goin' the right way, then I'll just try again, right? So let's see, if you were to do something like this, what would you do? Like that would involve bringing the hands up or something, right? Let's see here. Maybe we can, maybe we could, like, hair it a little bit, like, tousle. Yeah, here, I have an idea. Flip your head upside down for a second, shake the crap out of it. Such beautiful mermaid hair. Okay and then flip it. Ah yes, very nice, very nice. Let's make that go here a little bit. Hey. Ah, okay, so, sometimes I just need to reset how they look, too. So let's actually, let's kind of, yes. Soft, yeah. And bend the elbow a little bit, okay, and we have a little bit of your bra stickin' out there. Yes, perfect. Actually the hand by the face was so soft, yeah, that's great, very pretty, okay, so, let's try this, 'cause I like this, this looks really nice and one of the things I really wanna showcase and one of the things that was kind of a downturn for me about having her hands up like this is we can't see all of her beautiful hair and it's so pretty and I love shooting models with really long hair so I like being able to show even just a little bit sticking out the bottom because it's not common, not a lot of models have hair that goes that long so it's very pretty to me so let's try that. Beautiful, tip your head for me a little bit. Great and then let's actually try turning your head into your shoulder again, yeah. Awesome. Okay, one, two and three. Nice. Ooh. So that one feels nice. So remember I was talking yesterday about when you're looking at the image and then something kind of like feels right looking at it? I'm sitting here going it's not too shabby, it's not too bad, I kinda like it. Let's bring you forward just a little tiny bit and it just has, like, that little tiny bit of movement in the fabric and the dress that I think is quite pretty. Ow, something's pulling my hair really hard. Bobby pin from hell. It's just this tiny little moment, nobody looks this awesome walking down the beach but that's okay. Let's try this one more time, we're creating fantasy, whatever. Okay, let's turn your body away from me just a little bit more, other way, sweetheart, yeah, pretty, very, very nice. Awesome, one, two and three. Yeah. I like it, it's very similar to the other pose that we did before, all right, but I just keep going back to it because I think it's very, very pretty so actually what you're doing just there, how you had hands down. Struck me with an idea. I really wanna use this. There's so much of it. So let's kind of just get your hands, gentle, yeah, awesome and then tip just a little bit. That's freakin' awesome. I would have used a different exploitive normally but we can't do that on Creative Live so this is what I want. So her upper body is totally doing all the things that I want right now. That makes me extremely excited. So let's throw some fabric. That's beautiful and looking at me in this case is great. One, two and three. Ooh. I love that. I really love that. Turn your shoulder for me just a teeny bit, yeah. There we go, that's great. So what I'm doing when I'm turning her shoulder just a little bit, we're just lengthening the back hip. So just a tiny bit more. There we go, awesome. Let's do that one more time. One, two and three. (laughing) That's very nice, let's see if we can get the fabric a little bit nicer. Yeah, that's so pretty. One, two and three. Try to lift it up a little bit higher, guys. Yeah, so just not dropping it quite giving it enough room there to do crazy things, let's see what happens. One, two and three. Almost, did I shoot it too soon? I keep getting the same thing, it must be the way the fabric and the dress is designed because the fabric that we threw for the other skirt yesterday behaved completely differently than this and I'm guessing the reason for that, because we keep getting the flat in the front, is because the center piece of fabric is heavier than the fabric around the rest of the skirt so probably, physics is defeating us. So let's try, if we could just maybe pull it to one side, let's try to get a little bit of movement to one side so let's do more to your side, let's just see what happens. Yeah, let's see what happens. Yeah, let's try it, fabric wrangling. One, two and three. Yes. That's nice. I like how you pull that to one side more. Let's do that again. We're totally getting close. Everyone in the chat room's like oh my god, can you just get it right already? But you know what, let's see you do this live. (laughing) One, two and three. Yay. Yeah, we're basically just getting the same thing over and over and over again so the design and the fabric of this dress is going to behave a very specific way but I really like this and we are getting a little bit of that illusion that I figured was gonna happen, that she might look a little bit short just because of the amount of fabric coming forward is gonna basically make her lower half look a little bit shorter so I'll just change that in post production, I'll show you guys how we're gonna do that but I really like this. It's super soft and super pretty. I'm gonna click the thing. Her face is very lovely. How do you feel about your face in this? I like to ask models 'cause they're people, too. So if you want to try something different with your face, we can do that but if you like it, we can stick with it. Do you wanna relax on that? Do you wanna try again? Cool. Let's do it. Okay, yeah, give me the pose. And then just give me the face that you wanna give. Awesome. One, two and three. Nice. Do you wanna try something different with your face? We can totally turn your head around, we can... You're good? Actually, raise a turn like that, that was quite nice. So. Other way. Mm, I do like you with your chin down, you have such a nice cheekbone, like right here, this looks really good chin down. We could actually just, let's turn your, so let's put your hands here and let's just turn your head in. That, yeah, exactly. Yes, look at me. Okay, can we throw that again? The hands is very nice to give it something like this, just, like, holding them soft, yeah. Okay, so we'll do one where you're looking down and one where you're looking at me. One, two, three. I should have shot that a little later but that's okay, let's do this one more time and look at me this time. One, two and three. There we go. That's pretty, what do you think? That's very nice, that's very soft and very pretty and I like that a lot. So do we have any questions on this 'cause this is legitimately, this is how a lot of my shoots go, especially when I've never met this person before and we're doing something live in front of, like, a lot of people. This is kind of what I like to do. I mean, I like to, if I was in my studio by myself, there'd be a lot more playing around of, like, okay, let's jump and hop and flap around and get hair going everywhere but I also have to remember that I have to composite this hair live and we don't want to spend a whole afternoon with that so this right now, even to cut out the hair, isn't gonna be too bad, like, this curly stuff here isn't going to be crazy, it's not gonna be hair flying everywhere with lots of little tiny strands so using textured brushes, we'll actually be able to tackle this relatively easily. So I'm just gonna hop this over into Photoshop. Before you do that, quick question, can you reiterate why you chose the gray background? I know we talked a lot about it yesterday but just to reiterate for folks that might not have been with us. Yeah, absolutely, so I just like to shoot a gray background in this case, so I shoot the difference, brain, I shoot on different shades of gray and white because, depending on what the reflectance value is gonna be on the ground, so if we're looking at this picture here, so we're looking here and these stones here, the amount of light that's gonna bounce up off of them is pretty close to middle gray. If I was photographing somebody who's going to be standing on, if I was photographing somebody who's gonna be standing on, like, really dark lava then I would probably like to photograph them on a darker gray because that light that's gonna bounce up onto their shoes, onto everything else from the sun would be less. If I'm photographing somebody who is wearing and outfit that they're wearing in snow, well snow is a giant bounce card so I'm generally gonna photograph somebody on white because I know that the light that's gonna bounce off the ground and up to the bottom of whatever they're wearing, there's going to be more light there. So that does mean, though, and I saw a comment in the chatroom yesterday about calling me a masochist about shooting a blonde model with a white dress on a white background, that sucked, but it looked accurate to the actual scene that I dropped her into because I put white haired model, white dress, white wingy thing onto a white-ish background where there was lots of snow and ice so it makes sense, it just takes a while. Lots of people like to use green screen and whatever else and if that's your thing, then do it, I'm not gonna sit here and tell you what's right and what's wrong. It's just, ya know, I'm the one teaching this Creative Live class and this is how I do it so, ya know, you can watch Joel Grimes and everyone else do their thing their way so this is just my thing my way so. Yes. Do you ever reuse your outfits? Reuse my outfits? All the time. Oh my god, all the time. And I'll, like, change the color in post production or I'll change the shape or remember how I was saying, like, with the belt, you can add more material so I'll have somebody wearing a dress like this and then on the back, I'll want to add a bustle or something, not that I know how to make one or anything like that but I can, like, pin a little pillow to their butt on the back, you ever seen those neck pillows? Those things are great for adding bustles on the back of a skirt, you just can't wear it very far but you take those neck pillow and you like strap that onto a belt and then I would just take some folds of fabric or even other skirts and I would just, like, fold them up and pin them and whatever else. I just try to make sure I don't like poke holes in anybody with a pin but yeah, I totally reuse my outfits all the time. There's lots of color adjustments going on to change the shape of things and the color. Meh. And speaking of the fabric. Yeah. In your composite work, do you like clothing that has some distinct pattern or textures, such as this one? I just really like fabric so, I mean, I can't say there's the one thing I like over the other. I tend to not like anything from the 60's. That's never been my thing, I was like tie-dye, eh. I like bell bottoms but, I mean, really, I can't say there's like one thing that I like to do that is, like, one particular fabric because they all have different, there's all different things about them that are useful and that are fun and creative and they have different looks so, of course, different fabric reflects light differently and sometimes, it's beautiful and sometimes you're like, oh my god, I have so much to edit so, if you ever photograph latex and somebody has a cat, that is pretty much the worst experience ever 'cause you are clone stamping out little tiny cat hairs all over everything and it's supposed to be shiny. So there's a special level of hell reserved for that and hair retouching. Have you guys had a hair retoucher on here before? We have not. You guys need to get a hair retoucher on here. It's pretty boring but it's amazing and interesting and it's complicated, it's super fun. You guys should totally get a hair retoucher on here. I love it. Yeah, scroll moment, anyway.

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. :)