Book Review: Photoshop Compositing Secrets by Matt kloskowski (@mattkloskowski)

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 15, 2011

Category: General

verb [ with obj. ] (usu. as noun compositing)
combine (two or more images) to make a single picture, esp. electronically: photographic compositing by computer.

•     •     •

There’s no escaping the fact that compositing is all around us; from amazingly detailed posters advertising the latest Blockbuster Movie to simply moving someone from one picture into another it’s something more and more people are becoming interested in trying.

The skill in compositing lies in making the final image look realistic and believable and that requires a thorough understanding of the whole process from setting up the right lighting and taking the initial photograph, making selections/cutouts and then finally combining all the elements together using Photoshop.

Now this may all sound like hard work and you may be thinking you just haven’t got the time to learn the skills necessary but stick with me because I’ve a feeling that you may well have a change of mind pretty soon…

Hot off the press is ‘Compositing Secrets’, the new book by Professional Photographer and Photoshop Guru Matt Kloskowski

Now I’ve had my own copy for a few days and I can honestly say that I feel this is going to quickly become ‘the’ book on compositing; let me explain…

I can’t even begin to guess how long Matt must have taken to put this book together. You see the book covers 15 seperate and completely different composites but more than that Matt takes you through every single step involved.

Starting at the photo shoot Matt not only covers the lighting techniques and lens choices but also covers the all important but often overlooked details that go a long way into making the composite … wait for it … realistic!

Have you ever found yourself looking at a composite image, say a movie poster or maybe a bit of advertising on a bill board and thought “Something just doesn’t look right” ? … Well 99% of the time that’s going to be down to the perspective being wrong or to put it another way…the angle that the subject and the background were photographed and the lens choice not being the same.

Matt covers this all important part of compositing in great detail talking through his lens choice and how he makes sure that everything is photographed the same way…

The book is made up of 16 Chapters with 15 different compositing projects so there really is something for everyone…

  • Chapter 1: Selection Secrets
  • Chapter 2: Basic Composite
  • Chapter 3: Creating Motion
  • Chapter 4: Senior Portrait
  • Chapter 5: Professional Office
  • Chapter 6: Family/Group Portrait
  • Chapter 7: Studio Sports Portrait
  • Chapter 8: Live Concert
  • Chapter 9: Multiple-Exposure Photo
  • Chapter 10: Movie Poster
  • Chapter 11: Unltra-Grungy/Edgy HDR Background
  • Chapter 12: Sports Template
  • Chapter 13: Single-Photo Composite
  • Chapter 14: One Person, Multiple Poses
  • Chapter 15: Adding Illustration
  • Chapter 16: Advanced Commercial Compositing

Not only does ‘Photoshop Compositing Secrets‘ equip you with the skills you’ll need to go on and make up your own realistic, eye catching composite, it covers so much more within it’s 408 pages.

You’ll learn how to make perfect selections/cutouts using Photoshop’s built in tools such as Refine Edge; how to use Photoshop’s HDR Toning to create grungy, dynamic backgrounds; learn techniques to bring out detail in your images, give them unique looks and so much more…this book really is full to the brim!

Regular readers of this blog will know that a big part of my work involves Photoshop and indeed compositing images so yeah I’m pretty confident in what I can do however one thing I’ll never do is stop learning from others, and Matt is certainly one of them!

In the few days I’ve owned this book I’ve learned heaps of new techniques but I’ve only scratched the surface because as I’ve already said, this book is absolutely full to the brim with hints, tips, techniques and golden nuggets of information that will take your Photoshop skills to the next level!

I could go on and on about how good this book is but I’ll simply say this … “At some point you’re going to find yourself needing/wanting to do a composite and that I guarantee you; to do so you’re going to need some skills and ‘Photoshop Compositing Secrets‘ is where you’re going to find them!”

Highly Recommended!

Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections & Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites by Matt Kloskowski
Paperback: 408 Pages
ISBN-10: 0321808231
ISBN-13: 978-0321808233
Currently priced at £26.09 from Amazon UK


You may also like…

Interviewed by Ron Clifford
Interviewed by Ron Clifford

A few weeks back I was invited onto Ron Clifford YouTube LIVE Channel to speak with him about all things photography....


  1. Terry Donnelly

    Its getting ordered !!!!

    Great review the book looks a must.

    • Glyn

      @Terry…Nice one; you’ll love it!

  2. David Kelly

    Thanks for the review Glyn – I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book since I first heard about it. It certainly looks like it delivers and could help me achieve a few ‘photoshoppery’ ideas I’ve got kicking around in my head. Just need to wait a little bit longer for the e-book release so I can get it on my iPad.

    BTW Have you seen the cool video created for the book on the Kelby Media YouTube page? Great work again by the video production guys over at Kelby 🙂

    • Glyn

      @David…You’ll absolutely love the book and yeah I posted the video here on the blog last week mate; cracking huh 🙂

  3. steve bryson

    Glyn, I saw the tweet from the bus, found the blog and have now ordered my first photography book since my extended T90 users guide! Great review, thanks.

    • Glyn

      @steve…Good on you mate; let me know how you get on 🙂

  4. Paul

    Hi Glyn, do I need CS5 or will earlier versions, CS3 in my case, work?

    • Glyn

      Hi Paul. The selections in the book do concentrate mainly on Refine Edge which is found in CS5 which obviously makes selections/cutouts a lot quicker and easier to do. However what I will say is, selections and cutouts can be done in CS3 no problem and it’s the mass of other info that makes this book a winner; seriously packed with info mate!

  5. Govind Vekaria

    Reading your blog and watching the promo video, I had no choice but to order it!! Can’t wait for it to be delivered now.

    • Glyn

      @Govind…Keep me posted…i know you’ll love it but would be great to hear back 😉

  6. jperezc

    The book seems very good… the book will be a translated to spanish?

    • Glyn

      @jperezc…Not sure to be honest but I’ll get in touch with Matt and find out for you 😉

  7. steve bryson

    Guys, I’ve only been through a couple of the projects in Matt’s book but I’m absolutely loving it. The teach by doing and working through the step-by-step examples suits me perfectly. I first used photoshop around ’95 and since then I’ve done no more than dabble with basic functions* – resizing images, some curves adjustments, bit of white balance correction. This book is great – it’s getting me far more involved and I’m actually using key board shortcuts for the first time since Vi**

    Glyn, thanks a great review, prompting me to order this. Matt’s put out a fantastic book – the first of my hopefully large future collection.

    *I’m a bit thick really
    **Unix geeks will empathise

  8. Vern

    Watched the webcast about the book with Matt & Scott yesterday on the NAPP member site (worth a watch btw as there are some good tutorials). In the webcast Matt recommends that the techniques are mainly aimed at CS5 users (due to quick selection and refine edge).

    Just bought the book from Amazon UK as now priced at £17.00 instead of RRP £33.00. Looking forward to receiving it and getting stuck in.

    • Glyn

      @Vern…You’ll love it; Matt’s done an incredible job there!

  9. jonny

    is there a site link for book corrections for example

    chapter one step eight doesn’t work…switching to overlay hides everything or is this different in cs6?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *