Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


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