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What is Composite Photography?

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

What is Composite Photography?

Composite photographer involves combining two or more images to create a new one. It may sound simple enough, but it can take hours to create. It is usually done in a software program such as Adobe Photoshop.

This article will review the process that’s used to you can learn how to create your own composite photos.

Do the Photo Shoot

You can take your photo shoot with your composite image in mind, or you can play around with shots you already have in your camera or computer. The main thing for photographers interested in composite photography to note is, it’s best to shoot in RAW. If you shoot in JPEG, the image will degrade in quality as it’s processed.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while you shoot.

Try to achieve a similar lighting effect in the images you are using. They don’t have to match exactly, but you will have a hard time creating a composite if some images were shot in lowlight while others were shot in daylight.

Consider using a green screen or solid, high contrast background behind your subject. It will be difficult to ‘cut out’ your subject if it is photographed against a busy or low contrast background.

Try to keep your location consistent. For instance, if you shoot against fast moving waves, it will be hard to piece together your elements. Shooting against a long, flat desert will make the process easier.

You may want to use a tripod as this will prevent camera shake that can make images hard to combine.

An expensive camera is not necessary for composite photography. You may even be able to get usable shots with your iPhone.

Edit in Photo Shop

The next step will be editing in Photoshop. Start by choosing the main frame you are going to build your image around. You will need to rely heavily on the Layer Mask Tool. The Free Transformation Tool (Warp Function) will also be helpful as it will allow you to adjust the pieces you are adding in the main frame and fix distortion, so they fit in perfectly.

Remove Distracting Elements and Play with Color

After you have your initial composition down, it’s recommended to go through a process that can be referred to as cleaning. This involves eliminating images that are distracting or don’t serve a purpose in the final image. Layer Mask and Clone Stamps are two valuable tools to use in the cleaning process.

Next focus on color and tone to achieve the desired mood. You will be utilizing color adjustment tools such as Curves, Selective Color, Tone and Saturation, and Brightness and Quality.

Well, that’s about all you need to know about creating a composite image. Now all you need to do is get it done. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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