Skip to main content

Set-Up for Composite Shoot

Lesson 20 from: The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

Julia Kelleher

Set-Up for Composite Shoot

Lesson 20 from: The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

Julia Kelleher

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

20. Set-Up for Composite Shoot

Lesson Info

Set-Up for Composite Shoot

you know it's so interesting because I was telling julie earlier you know I'm more of a street photographer like I shoot what comes along and even like I'll bring a family and and just try to capture what they're doing but can pre visualizing and doing conceptualize shoot is a very different animal because you have a vision and you're trying to create it so tell us just a little bit about your process you're processing yeah I'm kind of it's actually a good from you talk about this because we've been talking about creativity and learning to be creative and enjoy the process of being creative and that's what I'm going to try to do today and I'm totally like the rest of you I'm worried about the results I don't want to be so we're going to try just to be fun have fun with us and be children again and create a beautiful images just from having some bring in things we don't normally bring in so the what initially inspired me was the fabric tool I've seen ballerina was wearing tool and tool ...

has such an ethereal feeling to it and it looks amazing when you blur it in photo shop it has this kind of framing effect around people and it's stiff but soft so you can really do a lot of neat things with it and I love love love love the color brown and I know that seems really silly but I love brown it's to me it's warm it's rich it's comforting it's earthy I'm a capricorn so I totally love those earthy tones so we're going to do a brown shoot with tool and some flowers and mama's hair and she's a lovely burnett so we're really going to take the theme of tulle and brown to kind of a very feminine I don't want to say fashion shoot because it's not quite that that much I mean mom might actually want to put this on her wall but it's definitely gonna be feminine and different and I'm fascinated with the concept of the mother and child relationship my relationship with my mom is not the greatest on that we're not very close and that has bothered me my whole life and so I'm actually doing it sexual study a theme study of the relationship between mother and child from new born all the way up to teenage and so I'm using different mothers for this and it's going to be a two or three year project where I make these images but I thought well why not bring that here and I'll work with this mom and this newborn to really try to capture the essence of what that mother child bond is in a conceptual image so I don't really have anything like previous totally privilege the size of my head I have a concept yeah have a couple of tools I want to work with and we'll see where it goes well I like that you said that you're nervous about doing this because it is it's important to have fun right I'm doing this to enjoy it but it's a little bit of pressure with all wait but I think you could do my sister goes shoes you're pro you could do this but I'm really excited to see unfold and I'm excited for you all right so you're readyto I'm ready to rock and roll yeah I think mama's still feeding baby at this point okay sure yet but we'll go ahead and talk about some stuff before she comes in but she got stuck in traffic so we're a little bit behind with her better all right no problem we'll let you take it away and we can always ask some questions if should still waiting for her okay sounds good sounds good so I guess the first thing um the other thing that I want to do and this basically we my initial goal with this segment was to photograph mom for the photo shop composite that we're going to be creating tomorrow okay and whenever someone's ready I'd loved I can get that painting of mine that I that I have somewhere around here that we can show you and I did it with a child and a sibling and a baby a sibling in a baby but I think we can also do it with with mama's well um so we're goingto just to a very classic pose with mom we're not going to do anything super fancy with that but I do want to get her full body and have her seated there's my thank you so this is what we're basically going to be creating tomorrow but we're going to put this mother and her child in it instead of the sibling and the child in it okay so I have there's a little raccoon over here you see him popping out of the tree that was composited in which we composited the little girl she was photographed in studio and we've posited her on their onto a background so there's really only three elements to this image okay there's the raccoon there's the background and then there's a mama okay or the well sibling here so we're going to basically recreate this with what we're going to shoot today but I thought well I only one pose out of this I have an hour and a half to photograph this woman why don't we do something kind of cool and conceptual as well that's very feminine and highlights that mother child bond so we're going to start off with that conceptual shoot first and then we're going to move on mom is going to change clothes into a blue outfit that I have I probably need to notify somebody that about that yeah yeah this is this was the drama of creative lives everything gets a little crazy sometimes so we'll change her and then photograph for as if she was walking in the woods and just happened to sit down with her little baby on dh enjoy the peaceful foggy morning okay so yeah holly has questions for the picture that's a really good question we're gonna talk about that a lot of tomorrow um sometimes I shoot them myself sometimes I get them from stock thieves were got from were achieved from stock photography just because I needed to put something together new and fresh for you guys in a hurry so I don't have time to go and shoot elements but yeah I will often go and shoot things myself so and that's the fun part about doing composites is it allows you to kind of break out of what you normally photograph so you khun go out shoot landscapes and use them as backgrounds and things like that and you build a library of your stuff and light room of course is wonderful for cataloguing things in allowing you to save backwards I mean people who composite you'll notice they become obsessed with skies like any time of the great sky like because we always drop in that sky into a new image and it's so fun so when you see awesome skies you're literally out there with your iphone shooting it because you know you want a composite later and the beautiful thing about using things like painter is that it doesn't matter what the resolution of the images you can painter allows you to do anything so you could take I mean I have a friend michelle parsley in tennessee she's an amazing painter she had amazing composite image this year where she took an iphone picture and turn it into something beautiful and so there's possibility is endless once you start opening up your own mind in photo shop and painter anything's possible which can sometimes be a little overwhelming to because you don't see slick when yeah where do I start it's true where do you start on we're going to talk a lot about previous of pre visualization especially tomorrow when we get into photo shop with this composite okay so you guys have any questions at this point we're doing yeah knowing you're having a composite like a ce faras background lighting yes that kind of stuff oh yes definitely being my lighting set up as you can see it's pretty simple doesn't really veer off much from this it's not do complicated lighting setups I like for something that looks natural you know this is a foggy morning it's going to be fairly no it is not quite riel you know that this is a foggy flat morning and yet she's directionally lip but you don't know what's in front of the scene you don't know if there is some other trees go bowling or if there's a clearing over here that's allowing the light in you have no idea so it is possible for this to be like this but it's not quite totally natural but the softness of it is natural I was looking for a lot of background on a lot of actors were shot in full sun and the full harsh sun doesn't isn't conducive to a soft lighting situation so you have to and that's one of the big things were going talk about tomorrow is the class acronym color light atmosphere in size so if you can make all your elements fit color color tone is correct lighting lighting directions air coming from the place that seems riel okay atmosphere that sense of depth so the fog in the background kind and the and this guy the fact that he spade it out it looks like he's in the distance if you ever look at the landscape landscapes tend to be foggy and the door hazy in the distance not quite all clear so you want to create that sense of perspective with your atmosphere and you could do that with fog brushes and smoke brushes and things like that in photo shot and then their size perspective you want things to be sized appropriately you don't want this little girl to be too big or too little in the environment otherwise she looks like it's not right like it's out of place okay and I am not by any means a master composite er but I do um I do it enough that if you do it enough to understand it doesn't matter how you get there as long to get there do not I mean I'm a firm believer in that so I think if you could take one example from me it's that you don't have to be a crazy expert in photo shop or painter to create images that are powerful okay we've been covering a lot of what people have already been asking which is about the backgrounds for compositing okay uh so what's your favorite type of background like what do you go to naturally when you think of a way you could help me seeing my work I tend to go for things they're brown I love brown maybe isn't best color in the world but to me it's a lovely color I go for backgrounds that have sense of depth to them a perspective in line I look for backgrounds that have leading lines to a focal point so like you'll see in some of my work they'll be hills in the backgrounds and all those hills kind of creative v that mitt direct you write to mama and baby so I look for things with leading lines in them I look for things I look for a flat light I mean I really do look it's easiest to composite with something that has flat light often times I'll create a background I didn't composite of my husband this year on I just used a crack texture and a grady in for skye and that crack texture was the entire surface ground and we warped and did perspective on it made it look like it was flying off in the distance and then did a simple color grady it in photo shop to make the sky and that was it I didn't have a formal background I just piece things together to make it look like he was in this deserted desert place that was all cracked and corn and a cz longs you add in that fall on that missing the background to create that sense of depth like when you you guys know what I'm talking about when you look in the distance the mountains aren't quite clear you know you have to create that in photoshopped teo give a sense of distance in an atmosphere so follow up question from a cm eighty three who says should we be shooting on green backgrounds to remove the subject and place the subject in its new background yeah good question I don't like to shoot on green because green bounces like green light into people's faces typically I mean when I was in television I would do weather on a green screen because that the chroma key had needed the green in order to read everything but that was for video work with photography yes you could totally shoot on green if you want teo especially when you're using these natural lights or that's continuous lights I should say thie green will reflect green back onto the face and you'll get this color cast which is a nightmare to take out so why hurt yourself and make that happened I generally shoot almost all my composite work on white so that I can extract them off the background fairly easily white creates enough contrast that that photo shopped the quick selection tool can you khun pick your your subject off fairly easily you just want a background that has contrast but that's neutral so if I'm shooting a very and it also depends too on the scene that I'm going to put the the person on so if I'm gonna put them on a very light seen like the mommy image the one with hay has arrived the one with mommy in the forest and all the animals I photographed her on dark gray okay the scarf in fact I have the scarf here this is the scarf I used to wrap that little baby and has all these holes in it at the bottom so with baby wrapped you could see the grey through it it was a nightmare to extract this off of a great background because they're so similar in color so if I had been thinking I would have granted you could do it just takes longer harder in your life if I had been thinking I would've shot mama on white and this would have had enough contrast on the white to really pull it off easily does that make sense when we get a photo shop you guys will see this a lot more tomorrow morning but just be thinking about those things when you photograph so bone or white or cream or any of those lighter colors is a really easy color to extract off unless you have a really light subject if your mama's blonde and she's wearing white and everything's white I mean trying to extract her off a white background is could be a nightmare so you just want some contrast so the last one the last time we had was bone the lighter cream and what is this color called this is called pecan it is one of my fits from savage backgrounds savage paper I absolutely love this color we were talking about this earlier pecan goes with almost any skin tone and it's so and it processes so lovely and photoshopped you seem really meet color tones ingredients on it to make it look very washed out and kind of has that antique feel to it this is hugely popular everybody asked me what color this is so I'm grabby said something and it's all in the resource is gone too so if you enroll in the course on get the resource is materials all these colors the colors I use the most bone almond pecan mocha those air all the colors that I use every day in my studio steven has a question on the backgrounds the fog yeah those are all added to the composite sometimes sometimes yes sometimes no and if you have certain brushes yes okay well we're going over there yes we will but I don't mind and talking about now especially since we're waiting for mama to come so no no worries yeah I have a couple of fog and smoking steam brushes that I got that I got and you can find this stuff all over like deviant art thes artists like give away free brushes I mean just search like cloud brushes or smoke brushes on google and you'll there's tons of free downloads all over people are giving this stuff away all the time I have a several grass brushes that I use because I can I have my painting again somewhere kate so sweet she's running a little late there I added grass into this image when you see the the background the background itself is just this I mean this layer in the background is very similar to what it is true the life of what I actually downloaded this right here these grasses were all added it and then painted I mean I had to apply that that wasn't there before do you see what I'm saying so I have lots of grass brushes I have followed brushes and of course in photos off you have the layers that you can use so things can be behind things and so you can create that sense of distance and perspective yeah how long does it take you in photoshopped it took me about two hours to do this start to finish um I'm a little I mean probably if you're going to see tomorrow I first started off with one look and hated it and scrapped it and went to this one and you're going to get to see the one that I didn't like the one that I thought failed because I want you to understand that this process is not one that you just do and it turns out great every time and in fact most sessions and you couldn't actually also see he has arrived the first version of it was who sucked terrible everybody told me was terrible so I scrapped it and read it in effect it's sad in my hard drive for four months before I touched it again and then when I touched it again it turned into a really pretty image so again that creative process let things incubate if it's not working shell that don't dump it just sell that come back to it you'd be surprised what happens so I did an initial version of this that was actually a very irish seen this green rocky grassy landscape I composited these two backgrounds together and I'll show you all this tomorrow on dh then I put the little girl in the front and this like no response dying the castle in germany I took that from a stock photo and put the cast I wanted I was thinking frozen I was thinking frozen and elf queen elsa and my son's really into that right now so I was thinking that it flopped it didn't work and you'll see my flop and then you'll see how this works much better okay thanks kate okay we have a moment where she looks stunning come on over here so beautiful she's doing awesome okay so welcome my dear you're so awesome let's go ahead and wrap you in some tool here and we're gonna get you ruling and uh cover you up a little bit more for some and we didn't take a piece of tool for the for the top of that we were we didn't do the tool of top is that what I was going to tie it myself was I that's my problem okay you know what I could use some scissors if anybody has any around somewhere that would be awesome it's going just pulled out in front of you to say thank you to her you're awesome so come on over here just to make sure we keep you modest for television you're so for you this is aaron and erin just had a baby her little munchkins a week and a half old and so literally you guys I mean I went um fabric shopping was it tuesday tuesday I wanted fabric shopping here in seong ok so um I went to this little store called stitches and found the tool and went oh this is so pretty I love it okay so just make sure I come in peace that's long enough um and so I thought we'll just fly with it here and see what happens gorgeous okay so um aaron tell us about your little boy my little boy is my third child third yeah um so he has a big brother in a big sister they're twins aren't they our friends they looked like twins on the yacht my son grayson is for my daughter matalin's two and a half and then blake came into the world on april twenty eight nine and he's a big boy sings over nine pounds he was nine for eight but he's dropped two eight pounds one point four ounces of doctors yeah yeah they do usually drop some wait wait I'm sorry I didn't okay so as you can see no coma upstairs that makeup artist in a maze I told the coma and like just have fun with her all I want is some tool in her hair and these flowers I bought from they were white okay I bought these from stitches and I bought some rit dye our t writ die literally in my hotel room this morning I microwaved a cup of water but the writ dyin drop these in and let them die for a few minutes rinse them out and let him dry and they're actually still a little wet because I just dyed them literally so and then I got some velvet ribbon you khun sake go and turn your head to the right I got some velvet ribbon here and we just tied the ribbon in and she put the tulip I look stunning don't you think she looks gorgeous um awesome thank you okay so let's go ahead and give the microphone back and we will start with you my dear okay okay so I'm gonna go ahead and wrap this around your friends so go ahead and drop that just dropped that I want it now normally I want you guys to know that if that if she was in my studio I would have her nude up top okay because I love the idea of skin on skin and with the tool I wanted to really get that ethereal mother madonna type feel but since we're you know in front of thousands of people I really want miss aaron here to be modest and so we're going tow rapper and some tool and stuff and keep things keep things looking on us now most mommas when they first come to me they've just given first so the belly still hasn't gone down yet okay but I'm okay with that matter fact I think her belly is absolutely studying does it just shows she just had a baby okay so why don't you go and stand over here real quick and I'm gonna tell you everything to do ok you don't you just have to listen and follow direction okay and this is going to be gorgeous okay you be part of it let me festival bit we're gonna create a beautiful arty farty image of you arty farty that the temple so she likes study okay so you gonna pull that down a little bit there and make sure we cover everything good gonna retire that's real quick yeah I wasn't sure how I know you did a great job on it so it doesn't well then I think I like it without a not it does that's not feel secure yeah okay ok the thing with women is especially pregnant women is creating and obviously she's not pregnant more but it's creating a long line okay aye and a photo shop I would probably accentuate this because this is conceptual and it comes a conceptual anything goes in my opinion I could do anything I want okay so I might elongate her body and make her look a lot thinner to create that concept of just after the wall needs stuff you know I mean it doesn't have to be really ok in fact I might make her look a little abnormal like a little barbie doll ok but that's ok because this is this is conceptual work okay so I'm gonna tell you everything to do okay go ahead and um how's he doing he's sleepy he's pretty awake okay that's all right he likes mama's arms okay so we'll go ahead and do I was going to do prayer pose but I think it's easy big boy oh you are look at him the way she says he was awake all morning wasn't he he slept often on but he's I'm surprised he's not zonked out right now it's probably the lights oh has get their suits she's got magic fingers magic fingers okay so do you think he'll fall sleeper we give him a minute or so because he was already sleeping he was sitting in mom's ours okay so what I'm going to one of my concept wass was to go and put your hands in prayer position then open okay my concept wass go ahead of me yeah that is to create this feeling of tool on the way the light goes through the tool especially the kicker is just stunning okay and then the other concept was to make this kind of elongated and just wrapped around her we're gonna take a full body shot of her to make this go this direction just a touch so fun you guys totally seem maybe create I've never done this before so phone and this is fun being creative you know that's something I've never done and it's totally new and that's what I want you guys to do so I'm putting myself out there and being creative in front of you with the hopes that you will you know have the confidence to do it as well if I could do this trust me you can't do it I'm kind of waiting for him to fall asleep in a bit okay now mama I want you to put all your weight on this right foot left yeah other left beautiful a little bit more and then I want you to cross the road and phil yeah you're doing awesome I want you to cross just go ahead and follow me it's easier for opposite wait on this foot crossed the right knee over the left like you're a ballerina kind of like your guessing like that perfect okay good girl do you see what that did to her line all of a sudden it made it dropped ten pounds who cares about the belly I mean her legs look awesome okay you straighten out this fabric just a little more to get real smooth look at her life and if you need a break are arresting you to tell me okay we can do that okay so with every newborn baby hose we dio what your hands are cold yeah that's okay it's okay it happens all the time don't worry that isn't asleep that's ok here we go um with ever anymore baby baby pose we do there are three points of contact for safety one two chess is the third okay okay I'm going to place him in your arms with his head here his little butt here okay I don't know if he'll do this because he's awake right now we're going to try it if it doesn't work we're gonna move to a different pose it's a little easier okay okay so the other thing I want you to know is that um this will never happen again he's gonna you know they grow so big so fast so enjoy it it's really fun even when people watching saying oh you're welcome breathe them in love him and just enjoy him in your arms okay waken try that may be but also I mean imagine if she was if she didn't have her top on it was just her breasts you could see the curve of the breast of very feminine okay so if I was at home but even so I still like the way this looks because it looks like we've just wrapped her and tool

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Studio Brochure
Client Correspondance
Day 1 Segment 1 - Keynote
Day 1 Segment 2 - Keynote
Day 1 Segment 3 - Keynote
Day 2 - Keynote
Day 3 Segment 1 - Keynote
Day 3 Segment 2 - Keynote
Day 3 Segment 3 - Keynote
Day 3 Segment 4 - Keynote
Newborn Posing Guide - SAMPLE
PVC Pipe Beanbag Blanket Brace
The Creative Newborn Photography Studio Syllabus.pdf
Resource Guide.pdf
Julia Kelleher Gear Guide.pdf

Free Downloads

Creativity and Style Road Map

Ratings and Reviews

Norma Martiri

Julia is amazing and has delivered a brilliant class here. Her wealth of knowledge and positive energy is inspiring to say the least. Julia is a brilliant teacher and I've learned so much. I am so grateful to Julia and to Creative Live for recording this and for the fact the I can rewatch over and over from the other side of the world. Thank you!!!!!!


Amazing course! I love it! I will for sure be re-watching it very soon. Julia is brilliant, honest, unselfish and just a great inspiration. This course definitely has given me the boost I needed to be true to my style. Thank you!


I've had the privilege of attending a few of Julia Kelleher's workshops and I love them. She's a great instructor with a cheerful disposition and a great sense of humor. Julia's photographic genius is like no other. This truly talented woman creates masterpieces out of her photos. It is really amazing to watch. I'm beginning to collect her workshops b/c for me attending her workshops is not enough. I have to own them so I may go over them again and again.

Student Work