Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


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 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.