How to Create a Composite Image with Photoshop.

Sometimes you have a picture in mind you really want to create but it’s not practical to do it directly in camera (sadly…).
 
What to do?????
Well, photoshop of course!!
 
I know, at first, it can be a little bit intimidating, but with just a little bit of practice (and some patience) it’s easily accessible to everyone (no need to have special geeky superpowers … well at least not for what I do).
 
So last month we celebrated one of my daughter’s birthday.
Usually I go outside to do portraits but this year we are confined inside. And to make it worse there was a thunderstorm and the light inside was horrible…. but never mind that…
 
Anyway, I had a small space to work with (basically just a white wall).
I had in mind a picture of her with ballons falling all around her!
And really just the few balloons I could find in the store (most stores are of course closed), and just my husband and her siblings to throw balloons.
 
So, the easiest way was to take many pictures, and then combine them in Photoshop to create the final image I had in mind.
 
So here you can see a sample of the pictures I used (view from my Lightroom Catalog).
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
 
 
The first one is the one I will call the Base Picture.
 
It’s the one on which I liked the most her expression, so I added the balloons from the other pictures onto that one.
 
So that is my Base Picture:
 
Anniv Elea-8296
 
No, after a few seconds spent cleaning up the base picture (adjusting contrast, light, cleaning up the background, I started to add the balloons.
 
For example I liked the purple balloons on that picture:
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
So I selected the Lasso Tool on Photoshop
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
And selected an area around the balloon (the background being white, I did not have to worry too much about the selection being perfect, as long as the whole ballon was included).
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
You can then copy paste your selection onto your Base picture.
And then you can Edit-Transform your selection to adjust the size, orientation, …, to fit into your Base picture.
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
I’m not going to do all the balloons (I added about 10), each time using the same steps.
But at the end you should have your Base picture, plus all the Layers of the added objects. This will look like that:
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
Your Base picture is at the bottom (Background) and all the above layers are the objects added (copy/pasted) from the other pictures.
 
If necessary you can do minor adjustments to each layer to blend as nicely as possible to the Base picture (for example you may need to adjust a little the Brightness/Contrast if the light conditions changed a little between your picture (to avoid having the added object for example to dark compared to the Basic Picture).
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
 
You just have to click on the layer you want to adjust, and then go to Image – Adjustments -Brightness/Contrast
 
Photography © Catherine Houston
 
When you’re satisfied with your final image, you just have to Flatten all the Layers (basically combine them all into one single file). Just go to Layer – Flatten Image.
Photography © Catherine Houston
Et Voilà…
Photography © Catherine Houston
 

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