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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