Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 45/60 - Lighting Setup Overview


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


Lesson Info

Lighting Setup Overview

Do you mind giving us a little tour of your lighting setup, 'cause we really didn't get into that. Just a little quick tour of why you chose to do that, and let us know a little bit about the equipment. These are Profoto B1s which we absolutely love here and also the modifiers, and just give us a little bit of a tour. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. So originally what we had planned on doing was having one of the large parabolic umbrellas from the back here creating a fill light, so as what happens when you rent equipment, sometimes not all the pieces show up. So in this case, one of the pieces didn't show up and we weren't able to assemble it properly. So what this means in the world of backup plans, because sometimes things happen and the world is not perfect, I was like okay, we will just use a fill light with a V-flat. And so with a V-flat, these things just basically control light so if we make it really, really narrow we're gonna get a lot of light energy coming out all at onc...

e, which means our highlight line is going to be quite strong. So the more I open this up, we're creating a larger light source that's just kind of softly wrapping light around her. If she had been wearing an outfit that had a lot more detail to it, we would've seen here, this light here, this Octabox is basically our main light. This is our brightest light on the setup. So this, all of these lights here are for creating my environmental light of what it's gonna look like, and then this is if I brought in a strobe, so I fully intended on this looking like I had brought strobes on location just like the lighting setup that we did yesterday. I took a picture of the natural environment, and then I filled the light because it wasn't quite enough light on her face and it wasn't as flattering. So in this case here, I have a nice little bit of fill light. It's a little bit forward from her, which means that the light is going to wrap nicely around her. It's a nice, soft, large light source. It's taller than she is, so that means that the light is actually gonna wrap from the top down as well. And so I bet you if we zoom in on her face there you actually can see there's a little bit of light touching the top of her head. This light here, I originally wanted this V-flat a little bit closer, but limitations with the equipment in the studio, we couldn't have it as close, so pushing it further back meant that we're gonna have a little bit of a stronger highlight here. So I just opened it up wider to get more spread, which means I'm gonna have a lot more diffusion of the light, so the light's gonna bounce around 'cause light just bounces off everything, right? It's kinda what it does. It's like, you know, squirrels on sugar. So if we had made this more narrow we would've had a stronger highlight but it's also further away so I'm trying to counteract that by making it wider. So the further away it gets, of course, the smaller the light source it becomes. So if I open it up, that means I'm just gonna have to throw more energy at it, gonna have to turn up the powers so that I get still that nice little highlight here. In this case here, this is my lowest light, so all of these guys just sit around. Well, that's set at 8.2 power. This guy here's set at 5. So this is my least amount. The reason for that though is because I don't have to throw, first of all, I didn't want the same highlight on this side of the body. Nature, that doesn't really happen very often, and in this case with the girl on the beach, when we photographed the girl just standing there, she didn't have an even distribution of light on her body, on the rim light. So here I know that with the way this box is designed, incredible amount of power is gonna come out of this. Both of these V-flats, the light is going to go everywhere. It's going up, it's going out, it's going down, it's going forward. There's no light control with this, but with this guy here with the softbox, none of that energy is getting lost at the side or the top. All the energy is coming through here so I can turn this down quite a bit and still get that nice little bit of highlight here but less power, so this is set to about five. So it's almost half, and so that creates this nice balance of light so that these three here, this is gonna wrap around nicely. This is a little bit of highlight here. It's softer, it's smaller. This is bigger, but I had to turn up the power here more than what's here because it's further away, and I'm opening it up because I'm trying to create a larger light source, but I still need the energy to come here and hit her. And the light is still, from where I'm standing, the edge of that V-flat goes to here. You can actually see in the shadow on the floor, right? That light is gonna bounce around and still wrap around her. Even if we have her turned here a little bit, her body's gonna catch that. Is that clear as mud? Yes, question. Is there a reason why that V-flat is gray instead of white? It's just because it's what CreativeLive has here. (laughs) Actually, I didn't even, I don't think it's gray, I think it's white, it's just the way it's lit. Yeah, I think it's just the way that the, there's the multicolored lighting there and it looks gray, so, when there's less light on white things they look gray. (laughs)

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


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

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. :)

Tristan Wilhelm

Very good class. I enjoyed the very friendly, approachable and quirky style Renee teaches with. I did feel, as others have said that she could get off on bunny trails and tell stories and I was glad for Creative Live's option to speed up the video. But great tips and it was extremely helpful watching it how she would do it. Thank you much Renee, and also, I'm a PC user that unites with you.