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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 4 of 60

Posing Your Model


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 4 of 60

Posing Your Model


Lesson Info

Posing Your Model

So posing your model. This I get a lot of questions on. They're like how do you come up with the poses? To be honest, I read a lot of comic books (laughs). A read a lot of graphic novels and I looked at a astronomical amount of pinup art, like ridiculous amounts of pinup art. I study paintings, I study photography, I study everything that involves hyper-realistic posing and that's like super stoke to me. Even though with a lot of my images, it's not necessarily, some of it you don't see it, some of it they're just standing there very strong, very poised. I get that from romance cover novels (laughs). I never read the books. I was like look at the artwork! (laughs joyfully) I couldn't handle the stuff that was inside the book but it was like the covers are very pretty. And so posing it, when you're setting it, this goes back into your mood board of like what kind of poses do you want, because then you're gonna help your subject matter figure out what their pose is gonna be, and you're l...

ike oh man you know I really want this this pose of this chick standing on her hands, that her feet are over her head, and your model's like nope. Now you gotta find another model. But if you understand some of the posing that you want going forward, it's gonna make sense with your previous sketch, it's gonna make sense with your styling, it's gonna make sense with your model cause you're gonna find people who can do those kinds of poses, right? So one of the things that I love to do is I like people with strong jawlines, right? I love people with strong jawlines so that means I can generally turn their head a whole bunch of different ways, and it's gonna look really nice if I laid it from the top a little bit, so it's gonna have that nice shadow. I'm kinda obsessed with that. Most of my artwork has a really nice shadow under the jawline. I think it's pretty. I can't say there's a scientific reason for it other than my insides are like oh yeah that looks good. So posing your model is very important. So another one of the things that I like I do is a lot of people if you're photographing let's say bikini model, so the intention is to amplify the curve in the body right? A lot of girls, you're gonna pose them so the weight is on this side of the hip. So the reason why you're gonna do that is that it's gonna amplify the curve here, and in the small of the back. From shooting that's something that's fashion based I'm gonna put the weight on this hip and it's gonna stretch out the midsection, so not necessarily interested in showing off the curve of their hip, right? It's this line that I'm more interested in. So, that all comes from studying like tons of pinup art, and tons of renaissance art, and just devouring Da Vinci and everything else because these people, the painters are masters, I mean it's just incredible. And then of course you go one step further and you get a little bit more extreme you know, like comic book art. So when I'm getting into posing the model, often times especially when I first started out, I would just go online and search up a whole bunch of graphic novel art, and then I would just like cut out all the poses, and then I would just like okay, this is the sequence of poses I wanna try and get. Alright so once again, coherent, it's cohesive, we're gonna wrap it all in together and it's gonna make more sense. (inaudible) questions from the internet. Yeah let's do it. So outside of like graphic novels and comic books, Jane would like to know where are other places where you find inspiration, and do you do exercises, and do you create a sort of background story for your images before you start creating them? That was a whole bunch of questions all in one. Yeah. We'll start with the first one again? Great. With warning. Other, other, other places you find inspiration. Other places I find inspiration. Honestly, inspiration can be found anywhere, Right. if you just pay attention, and you open your eyes. I find the easiest way to be inspired is to be really curious all the time. So never lose your curiosity. Curiosity is so important to being creative. Whenever I found myself in a slump is because I stopped being curious, and I stopped caring, and apathy is basically the worst thing on the planet next to well, other things we're not gonna mention on the show. But apathy is horrible! Apathy destroys everything that we do. So I find that if I'm starting to get uninspired I'll go out and I'll take a course on something really off the wall. It's like let's take a course on watercolor and then you like, pick up one little thing, and you're like oh that's cool, that's awesome, I hadn't thought of that, and then you apply that, I apply that to photography. Alright and then I'll do another one. I did a course on shooting cars. I don't shoot cars (laughs). It's not my thing, I did one once, it was fun. I don't want to shoot cars but I did a course on photographing cars and I was like oh my god this is cool! And I learned my nemesis - I'll go into this too but I hate the Pen Tool. I know people who love the Pen Tool and they're like masters with it, and I'm like how?! But because of this car photography course they all use a Pen Tool so I was like alright Pen Tool, you and I we're gonna have to sort this out (laughs). So if you wanna stay inspired and you want to get inspiration, stay curious. You know? Do stuff that throws you out of your comfort zone. If you're doing something and you're like okay that kinda scares me and it doesn't involve a wild animal eating you, you should probably do it. Whatever it is that makes you nervous and makes you scared is probably something that you should probably look at so, that's one of the ways that'll do it. So I'm terrified of scuba-diving so I'm sure one day I'm gonna do that. (laughs joyfully) But that's something that once again, I'll probably learn something if I take an underwater scuba-diving photography course, and I might be like oh I can apply this to shooting people in the pool, yeah! You know? It's like little things like that. Next question of that cause there was like four. There was a few yeah, and what are the type of exercises do you do when you're pre-visualizing, Yeah. and do you like, do you build an entire back story? So sometimes I build back stories, a lot of times I like to just build enough of the story that the viewer will make their own story. So some people and there's no right or wrong answer to any of this right? I mean there's a billion creators doing a billion different things and it's all beautiful, but another case what I like to do is I like to build enough of a story that's just like a little tiny push that people will write their own. So people won't get emotionally invested in a story on their own terms, then they become attached to it, and then they don't forget it. So there's only a couple of images that I've ever created total back stories to and I know one of them is the girl jumping off the building with the little tiny wings? I'm not gonna get into cause it makes me cry whenever I talk about it (laughs). Go to my blog, there's like an abbreviated version there. But in other case, that's one of the few images that has a whole story attached to it, but otherwise what I love is that I have these images that people come to me, and they'll tell me the story that they've written in their head. So I have this picture that I did like a zillion years ago of a little red riding hood kinda thing and she's got a white dress, and her hands are like this, and then there's like blood and everything all over the place, and I sell that print a lot. I don't know what kind of people are buying it unless they were having a bad day but I titled it Red's Bad Day, and that was enough. She had like a little tiny skiff of a red hood, right, and then you know it was in the forest, and then there was this red stuff everywhere. And so that was enough of a title that every single person who's bought it, has told me their version of a story; nobody's told me the same story twice. Some of them have been similar like you know, a couple of them were like, ah red got the wolf back you know? And other ones are like she's a zombie! (audience laughs) Some people are like oh my god she ate grandma like (laughs) you know and but nobody, and I've sold a lot of that print, nobody has ever told me the same story twice which I think is really awesome, and that's why I like to tell just a little bit of the story as opposed to the entire story. But once again, other people are different. I mean you look at the work of Kirsty Mitchell for example, she's out at the U.K. - if you haven't heard of her photography, please do a Google search, she's incredible - but Kirsty Mitchell has these incredible stories about Wonderland and she built this story because of her grief of her mother passing which is totally sad. So, that's her thing and so she has these incredible stories that go with it, and then that's another way that you can bring people into your world is you can write your story, and bring them into your mind, right? And then all of a sudden they're playing in your world so it's neither one's right. Just generally, I like to maybe I'm lazy, I don't know, but I like it when people tell me what they see in the images. I think that's really exciting. So was there exercises. Generally I do a lot of writing and we'll get into that. There's lots of like words, things, and stuff like that so going forward in the next bit of slides will do that.

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. :)