Saturday, July 20, 2013

Assembling photos in Photoshop

I had an over-exposed image from my trip to Walden Pond caused by lens flare, and it gave me the idea of creating a stock shot by combining it with a photo I had of a model photographed outdoors with her arms outstretched.

This is the original flared-out, over-exposed image.  I did add some extra warmth to the color of the RAW original before converting it.
Here is the final result with the model laid over the top background photo.
Combining photos like this is not too difficult if they are planned in advance and each one photographed in a manner that accommodates the other.  In this case, the model had been photographed on a dull, over-cast day against a dark background. So she had to be lightened considerably and toned to match the background. In addition the dark background behind the original model image left a dark cast along the edges of her silhouette. This also had to be removed and brightened.  I did this partially by adding several sunburst images behind her and changing them to "Hardlight" layers in Photoshop. I create these layers, like the one below, by making a 50% gray layer and rendering a star burst in it. Afterwards, I tone it to match the color of the background photo.

This is the flare layer I created in Photoshop with the "Render" option, and used as a"Hardlight" layer to create the brightness on the upper right of the background image. I removed most of the circular flare patterns from the lower left area. 
I made four backgrounds similar to the one above but with different flares in different areas. I used them to brighten areas behind the model. A final overall warm toned filter layer enhanced the yellow-amber tone of  the scene and merged the colors of the model with those of the background.

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