Compositing in Photoshop: Homeward Bound Photo Shoot & Walk Through

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: January 9, 2012

Category: General

Hi Folks,
Well as promised here’s a quick run through of what went into making the recent Solider Composite ‘Homeward Bound’ covering the original photo shoot in the studio and then looking at all the other elements were put together using Photoshop…

In the Studio
Again I’ve used a 3 light set up for this shoot made up of two strip boxes slightly behind and to the side of the subject and a medium octa to the front and camera left. The great thing about this set up is that it works for great for both full and 3/4 length composites by helping in the ‘cut out’ process but also used to mimic light hitting your subject from things such as the sun, the moon, street lighting and so on. Plus changing the look and feel of the lighting is a breeze by simply turning off one of the rim lights, the front light or indeed a combination of both…

The Composite
I certainly find that knowing what you want your final image to look like even before you’ve photographed the subject in the studio helps a great deal. You’ll go into the shoot knowing the angle you need to shoot your subject at and where the lighting needs to come from for starters and this alone can save you hours when it comes to editing as you can immediately start putting the elements together as opposed to trying desperately to find something that fits…if that makes sense.

Putting it all together
Below you can see the stages that the image went through from it first of all being opened in Photoshop to the final composite….

In the past I’ve mentioned about a stage in editing that my good friend Calvin Hollywood calls 20/80 meaning where the final 20% of the editing stage takes 80% of the entire time, and that’s exactly how it was in this case too. Putting all the elements together was a relatively quick process but it’s achieving the final look (colour, contrast, detail etc…) that takes the time and that was achieved by playing with a combination of Photoshop techniques and using some filters that come in the Nik Color Efex Pro 4 plug in, and when I say playing I mean exactly that…trying this, trying that, deleting this, deleting that, until finally I was happy and said enough was enough.

Knowing when to stop editing in my opinion can be one of the hardest things to do because there’s always that thought in the back of your mind of “I wonder what it would look like if I did this” but again, this can be helped by having a clear idea of exactly what it is you want to achieve before you’ve even started.

As for how long this composite took from star to finish, well I couldn’t tell you but what I can tell you is that it certainly wasn’t done in one complete sitting but rather quite a few short bursts in between other work.

Creative Composite Workshop
So there you have it…a quick look at the kind of work that went into putting the ‘Homeward Bound‘ composite together. Now if you’re interested in taking a closer look at what goes into an image like this from the photography and through all the editing in Photoshop why not come and join me at my new Creative Compositing Workshop where we’ll do exactly that and more.

Full details can be found on the Creative Compositing Workshop Page here [Link]

As always if you have any questions or comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below but in the mean time,
Enjoy 🙂

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Keep up with Glyn ‘Day to Day’ and get more from ‘Behind the Scenes’…

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  1. Noel Hannan

    Hi Glyn,
    Great post, looking forward to seeing more of these amazing composites!
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Andy Robertson

    Hello Glyn,

    Its Andy from Watford Camera Club again. Could you point me to your video showing how you removed the shadow on this composite image? I can’t seem to find it although I’m enjoying the search through your material.

    Congratulations on this web-site – really first class




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