Creating A Composite In Photoshop
I’ve been playing a lot lately. I thought I would explain how I made this image. This is actually a composite of three images—meaning I’ve blended three photos together to create one image. It’s a simple process where I took three photos (with the camera in the exact same location—using a tripod and a self-timer). The only thing different about the three photos is where I placed myself in the images (and what I’m doing). Otherwise, I made sure the camera stayed exactly in the same position so that the tree and the background matched up when the pictures were layered on top of each other for post processing.
Once I made the images, it’s all a matter of Photoshop! I simply open the images as layers in Photoshop. That means that the photos are essentially laying on top of each other in a stack. Once the pictures load, I select all three photos and auto-align the images. This is where Photoshop makes sure that the images match up and the tree is in the exact same spot, as well as the other objects in the background. If there isn’t enough things in the right spots, this whole thing may not work.
After I’ve made sure that the photos line up properly I’m ready to work with the first two images. I create a layer mask on the middle image, this will allow me to bring the bottom picture of me on to that middle image with the paintbrush. It’s as if I’m erasing away part of the middle picture to expose me from the bottom picture. This makes two of me show up in the middle image. Then, I repeat the process on the top image. I create a layer mask on the top image and paint in both pictures from the bottom layer and the middle layer. And voila! Three Me’s are in one picture!
I know I explained it really fast. It’s not hard, but I didn’t explain where any of the buttons are. If you would like a detailed explanation of the process, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9Ly2T75_i0
How Far Is Too Far?
One thing I was taught was if a sky is boring (as in plain), either cover it up or leave it out of the photograph. Well, on this particular day, in Acadia National Park, I had a boring sky. Other than a few clouds at the horizon line—way off in the distance, there was nothing going on. So, I used the overhang of the tree to fill in the blank, blue sky. It helped the image.
But was that enough? I wasn’t sure.
When I got home from my trip and processed the image, I decided to play around. I dropped in a sky that I had on file—just some high, wispy clouds. They filled in the upper right corner of the picture. My personal opinion is it was the piece that was missing. Had I had extra time to spend in Maine, I would have revisited this lake when these conditions actually existed, but having a limited amount of time, that wasn’t possible.
But what do you think? Is it okay for me to manipulate the image this much? After all, this scene is NOT what was available to me that day. Are you more of a purest who believes that things, such as skies, should not be added to a photograph? Some say, by adding the sky, it’s no longer photography and instead, has become digital “art.”
Playing around, I think I’m fine with replacing it, and I would hang the picture on my wall. But if you notice on my website, the original photograph is the one that I posted. Why? Because I don’t know how others feel, and I wouldn’t want to mislead anybody about what the image is.
So, what is your opinion? Share with me.
What Is This Page?
Since I love photography and teaching, I thought I would start a Blog page and share how I take my images, what I was thinking and about me.
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