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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 30 of 60

Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 30 of 60

Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image


Lesson Info

Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image

Alrighty, so, I have some videos here first that we're gonna play. And they're only, they're quite short, they're only about a minute or so each and then we'll break for questions in between each one. And once that's good to go, we will open up Photoshop and start playing and pushing buttons and stuff like that. Alright, so, this is pretty standard. I'll be out somewhere, by myself usually. And it's cold, it sucks, it's raining on and off, it's windy, and it's all the things that I don't want to put a model through. And oftentimes, I'm out traveling, I'm exploring by myself and I don't have a team with me. So, I have my camera, I have a location that I really like, and if I like this and shoot this properly, then I can build a composite in the studio with a model, and blend it all together and make a single art piece from it. Alright, so, first thing we want to be aware of is angle and height that we're gonna be shooting this from. So, when I'm shooting in the studio I have kind of a f...

ormula that I like to shoot from, usually from a lower angle. You know, I like to make sure that I have what I normally like to shoot at. But then I also like to diversify and then I'll shoot different heights, different angles, different tilts of the camera and so on and so forth. So I wanna make sure that I'm shooting for options. So I wanna shoot, that I know something I'm probably gonna use but then I want to shoot a bunch of extra stuff with a bunch of different varieties so that I know that there is something going forward, that if I change my mind, I have the footage for. So I don't have to catch an airplane to fly somewhere else to be able to get the things that I missed. So I think it's pretty self-explanatory. I mean, a lot of us if we go on vacation somewhere, so we go on vacation to Hawaii, or Spain or something. And we're only gonna be there once, right? So when I'm on location, I will shoot terabytes (laughing) of footage so that I know I have enough. And that's the time that I shoot a lot. When I'm in the studio I don't take a lot of frames. I'm very specific of what I'm looking for. But if I know I'm going to a location that I'm not gonna be able to get to, again, or if I'm in a season that's very short-lasting, so let's say fall in Eastern Canada or cherry blossom season in the spring, right? That's a very tiny short window, so you can't just catch an airplane back and catch, you know, the foliage in those colors. So I will be there and I will shoot with a variety of lenses, a variety of heights, a variety of apertures but I always make sure that I have you know, the thing that I fall back on. I always make sure that I shoot that first so I have it. And then I'll start changing things up and shooting all the other things like the filler and so on and so forth. If I have previous art work already drawn out, so I have something in my mind that I'm going through that formula first, stuff like: Okay, I need something at this height, at this angle, I need something from here at this angle and this aperture, and then going forward from that, I can build everything. For most of the time I'm running around, you know, (laughing) like when I was in the Isle of Skye, last fall, I'd never been to Skye before and I'd worked, I wanted to go to Skye my entire life, I absolutely love Skye. And I was just running around (laughing) just like: Oh my God, Skye is so amazing! And just taking tons and tons and tons of photos because it inspired me so much just to be there, you know, when you read something about a location, you know, that you've seen since you were a tiny kid and then eventually, you know, it took me 31 years to get there, but I made it! And so I was super-stoked, so I shot the crap out of it and now I have, you know, several hundred gigs of footage (laughing) of Scotland that I can use going forward which is really exciting, and really great. So, whenever you're out shooting your locations try to remember that if you have your formula of things that you kind of default on, which a lot of us do, we have like our comfort zone? Photograph your comfort zone stuff and then photograph stuff that's way out of our comfort zone. And you might find, that you know, in a year or two, it might be useful because your style might evolve and change a little bit. The moment I hear the word terabytes and gigabytes, I wanna know how you're managing your media when you are on the road? Absolutely, and media management is extremely important especially when you travel a lot. So I have a few external hard drives that are shockproof, waterproof, you know, well, as close as you can get. Actually I use, they're data drives. And I get them out of China for like a hundred bucks a drive. And so far, they haven't failed me, so I know there's other companies out there that make really, really nice, expensive drives and whatever else, and I'm sure they're far more reliable than what I have. But I know, that there are two kinds of drives. There's dying, and dead. (laughing) Those are the kinds of hard drives that out there! So I am perpetually doing backups onto other drives because I know that after a year or two, that drive is now in my mind starting to be unstable. So when I'm traveling, I have, so, this thing's got three hard drives in it. (laughing) So I have two backups on here and I have two external backups on the road. And so, and I make sure they're in separate bags because sometimes, your luggage can go missing, sometimes you can get robbed, right? So when you travel, these are realities of things that can happen. So I always try to make sure that my storage is in separate places, in my luggage, and I'm trying to make sure (laughing) that it's safe. So if you're shooting tons and tons of storage, that's why I said like on the road I'll sometimes use cheaper drives. And then I have, Cloud, as well, back home. And then I also have like a NAS system as well. So then I'm backing up to that when I get home. So I'm always trying to make sure that my stuff is gonna be okay. But inevitably, I know it's probably gonna happen, I'm gonna plug in a drive one day and it's gonna be dead. (laughing) So I'm always trying to minimize that, so yes, if you're on the road. If you have access to great Wi-Fi, like, great Wi-Fi? Then back it up on the Cloud, which of course is always the safest option in my opinion. Of course, I'm not a security expert (laughing) or anything like that. But something online on a Cloud is always gonna be the best, but then if you don't have that option, then just multiple drives for backups is always a good call. And then, worst-case scenario, let's say you are really limited on space and you're going out for a week or two and you don't have a computer, you don't have a hard drive? Get a bunch of cards and just keep them on the cards. And then just have a ton of them. (laughing) So that's another thing that I'll do, also. Is when I'm traveling, I don't wipe my card until I get home. Because I know, that sometimes, things blow up. There is no one hundred percent sure safe way, but there's just lots of stuff that you can take to try and minimize that risk of losing your footage.

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. :)