Today I wanted to share a new picture with you that I finished just a couple of days ago…
This is actually a picture I’ve had sat on my hard drive for pretty much 2 years dating back to when I got together with my Buddy Dave Clayton to do a follow on from my Lion, Witch and Wardrobe inspired picture with his daughters…
This new picture was influenced by another of my childhood favourite animated films, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs where the final scene sees the lead character, made out to be the great David Bowie as a child in the film, crying because his friend, The Snowman had finally melted away.
So with regards to the photo shoot…
Knowing I would be compositing the two girls into a scene I wanted to make it as easy as possible, so found a company called Snow Business who supply all manner of realistic snow effects to the TV and Film Industry. From them I purchased a snow blanket which is what you can see the girls standing on in the picture below. This saved a heap of time trying to make it look as though they were standing in the snow because all I had to do was do a loose selection around their feet/boots including the snow blanket and the shadows and bring that into the new scene; that’s the hardest part done.
Actually on this subject, it’s always a good idea to think about what your subject/s will be standing on in your final composite. If they’re going to be standing on a beach why not get them standing on some builders or play sand during the photo shoot; if they’re going to be stood on gravel then why not get some gravel for them to stand on during the shoot. I know this may sound obvious but I know I for one never did this when I started out, but when you do, do it you save yourself so much time in Photoshop later not having to re-create realistic contact shadows where they’re feet/shoes/boots are in contact with the floor so that they don’t look like they’re levitating.
Cutting the rest of them out was easy having had a white piece of material held in front of them (we didn’t use a seamless background…no reason why…we just didn’t…wish we had)
As for the lighting set up the idea here was to create flat lighting as when there’s a scene like the one I wanted to create where snow had fallen, the sky was completely white, misty and no hard sun light coming through.
To do this I just made sure to light the girls evenly so there was no obvious single direction of light illuminating them and so appeared to be from all around…does that make sense? To do this I went with a 3 light set up plus a single reflector (which was the white material being held up in front of them both in the picture above).
At the time of the shoot I was using Elinchrom BRX500 heads and for this shoot used 3 of them; the side lights being strip boxes and the large light source at camera position being a VERY large shoot thru umbrella for beautiful soft light. All the lights were metered to give the exact same output of f/8.0
Then it was just a case of photographing some additional props made out to be the melted snowman, so we piled up some random bits n’ bobs underneath the snow blanket to make a fake mound of snow, arranged a hat, scarf and carrot (the Snowman’s nose) and photographed them in exactly the same lighting set up as used for the girls.
As for the snow scene, for this I used a picture I’d taken of a nearby wood to where I lived at the time and turned this into the snow scene using Photoshop.
You can check out how I did that in the short video below, and should you want to try it out for yourself you can download the exact same file I use by being a SUBSCRIBER to my Email Group / Newsletter (check out the bottom of this web page to join in).
Anyway I hope that’s been useful but as always if you have any questions/comments feel free to make use of the comments section below.
Catch you next time,
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