In light of the newest HDR Concert, I figured it would be a good idea to bring back an old Compositing tutorial that is relevant to the Concert.  Compositing photos is a lot easier than you think, it just takes a bit of knowledge of Photoshop and some selection tools you may or may not be familiar with.

Here are 4 more tips for compositing:

  1. Don’t be afraid of layers!  They are your best friend!  By adding layers you can avoid making permanent changes to the layers below them.  This is called non-destructive editing and is probably the most important part of compositing.  Think of layers as sheets of transparency paper each with a different mark that makes up a picture.Like in high school when your Math teacher would put a graph on the projector and then place a piece of transparency paper on top of it to draw the Sin, Co-sin, and Tangent.  Oh crap, I may have just aged myself there!
  2. Try to match the lighting of your foreground subject to the atmosphere of the background.  There is always the debate, do you shoot your background first and then your subject to match the lighting or do you shoot the subject first and find a matching background with similar lighting?There really is no right or wrong way to do it.  In the case of this Concert, you have the background already so shoot your subject to match it.  One of the most common setups for compositing is a strong back light to accent the tops of the shoulders and the head.  This will allow the subject to fit almost seamlessly on any background as it will help separate them from the background.  The last thing you want to do is lose your subject in the background!
  3. Masking is your best friend!  This is a piggy back off of layering.  Use masking to blend your layers instead of selecting an area and deleting it.  This is helpful in case you need to bring an area back.  If you deleted it, it is lost and gone forever to the land of dead pixels.  However, if you mask out those areas you do not want, you can always go back later and paint them back in with white if a situation arises where you need some of those hidden elements.
  4. Add Shadows to your Foreground Subject!  Adding a shadow to the foreground subject will give them a sense of place in your image.  This is especially true with full figures where you see more than just a bust.  Place the shadows on or around their feet to give them a sense of weight within the composition.  Always keep in mind the direction of your light source in the background and add the shadow accordingly.  The first dead give away that  your subject does not belong in the photo will either be the lack of a shadow or a poorly added shadow that does not match the background light source.
Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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