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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 45 of 60

Lighting Setup Overview


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 45 of 60

Lighting Setup Overview


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 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. :)