Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ethereal beauty

We took a series of photos of this model in our studio with the intent of combining them with backgrounds to create ethereal images. Below are two photos from the series along with the original images used to make the combinations.

In all these images several star bursts of light were added as "screen" layers in Photoshop to enhance the sun flare effect.

The lighting for the model was quite simple. You can see in this original model shot how a single 1000 watt lamp was placed behind to create a sun flare effect. Our studio is lit by soft daylight, which combined with the tungsten lamp for a very soft illumination. No color correction was added to the lights or image.

Here are the two original background images used for the combinations. The autumn forest on the left was considerably lightened and a color layer placed over it as a Photoshop "overlay" to further mute the scene. For both scenes a duplicate layer was created and blurred in Photoshop to give it a naturally out-of-focus look.
On the left is the color layer I added on top of the forest scene. Changing this layer to "screen" mode muted the scene below while still allowing its form to show through as can be seen on the right. This background was further lightened in Photoshop.
Next several star filter layers similar to the one on the left were rendered in Photoshop and also added in "screen" mode on top of the forest layer. Keeping them in "screen" mode meant that the black areas would disappear. This technique is what resulted in the lens flare effects in all three of the top images.


  1. How do you create your sun flare and star filter layers

  2. There are several methods. Here I simply used the Filters/Render/Lens Flare menu option in Photoshop to create a star burst on a black layer. I also create bursts from scratch, something I plan on covering in a future blog post.