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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 33 of 60

How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 33 of 60

How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image


Lesson Info

How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image

Alright, so the other thing that I like to do is if I'm not hiking by myself, and say I have somebody with me, which, admittedly, is usually safer if you're out somewhere where you're not necessarily you're out in the forest or something and there's a risk of getting lost it's good to have somebody else with you. So in this case, if I'm hiking with somebody, that means that I could actually have them stand in and so I can figure out how tall I can make my subject. So that's going to look a little bit more realistic. So then I'm not going to be sitting here going like, "Well, how tall do I make this person if there's no doorway or nothing that's gonna say how tall this person should be in my frame?" I can have whoever hiking with me, stand in in a shot, and then I can understand exactly the height that I need. Do you have any questions on that or I can just jump into the - No, actually I do have a few questions. How often do you, honest, do you just grab a man off the street? Have you...

ever grabbed a man off the street and - No, well 'cause I'm never photographing anywhere there's other people. Okay. Although, sometimes what I'll do is if there's other hikers ahead of me, I'll totally snipe them. I just make sure that their back is turned to me so that I can't see their face. But usually I'm not places, I go in off-seasons, so if I'm somewhere that's a very popular tourist destination in summer, I don't go until November. But that usually means the weather's crappy and I'm cold, but it just, it gives me what I'm looking for, which is not a bunch of people. So I was recently in Venice, Italy, and we were there doing the winter carnival and I had all of these amazing photos I wanted to take but there were way too many humans. And so the amount of humans, it kind of ruined a lot of it for me. Even though then I could've probably had accurate compositions of what the sizes of people could have been, I would've spent an hour and a half just clone-stamping out bodies, and I guess I just don't feel like doing it, so I was always going to places where there were no people and so in which case, then if you're using something like doorways, then you have a reference for how tall you can make somebody, and you can do like a scale. But otherwise, yeah, I'm not really I guess I don't like people enough to be like, "Oh my God, hey, how's it going? Can you do this for me?" I'd feel really awkward about it. But that's just my thing, I guess. I mean other people of course are more outgoing and brave that way. I'm not as much. Yeah. So when you're shooting these backgrounds in these locations, how often do you do it sort of like panorama style? Do you move around to give yourself some cropping room? Yeah, I do that a fair bit. So I don't ever travel with a tripod because the extra weight just fries my leg, but I like being able to just stitch together images especially when I'm shooting skies or something like that as well. I'll push the lens to 35 mill and I'll just shoot all the way across and then shoot up. And I'm just hand-holding it, and so I'm always making sure I have a fair bit of overlap, and the software right now is pretty good if you're stitching things together in panorama's. So there's a lot of options with the software. And then you can also, if you're half-way savvy with masking yourself, you can probably line it up using the warp tool and get it pretty close, and then clone-stamp some of the mistakes that are there. So, stitching is fun, but as soon as you make a really big file like that, then you're PSB file, cause there's no way it's a PSD file at that point, so people who are not sure of the difference between PSD and PSB a PSD will only save up to 2 gigs. A PSB doesn't have that limitation on it and you can save it a lot bigger. So if you're working on your files and you're like, "It's never saving, it always crashes." Save it as a PSB file as opposed to PSD and you'll be able to save a larger file. But yeah, if you're stitching, then your file is going to be massive, especially if you're compositing.

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. :)