I had a really good day yesterday running a One to One workshop on Photoshop Composite Portraiture which resulted in the picture above which I now call ‘Portrait at Rannoch Moor’. Now of course the title, as well as the picture itself, is an illusion. Yes it’s a portrait, but it definitely wasn’t taken at Rannoch Moor! But that is what I love about photoshop composite portraits – the fact that it is a process made to look real, but is of course a fake.
So, you may ask, what’s the point. Why not go all the way from Cambridge to Scotland and do a portrait at Rannoch Moor? Well, the answer is this: Photoshop Composite portraits allow the artist total control over the final image and without the cost. Let me explain:
Firstly, to do a character portrait like the one above would have meant that the two of us (photographer and subject) would have had to firstly travel all the way to Scotland either by road or by Easyjet and then hired a car. We would have then had to stay overnight and hoped for appropriate weather on the day of the shoot. We would then have had to set up studio lighting using battery packs and we would have to have got the pose, expression and composition right for the final image. (Not that that’s difficult of course – we should all be able to do that bit as photographers – right?)
But, by doing photoshop composite portraiture, we have the following advantages:
1. The portrait can be done in the comfort of the studio with complete control over the lighting. (It doesn’t have to be in a studio though and can be done using speed lights if that’s all that’s available).
2. The speed of the studio light flash is so fast that it makes for a sharper image.
3. I can use any background I like as long as it was taken with a composite portrait image in mind and therefore using the correct lens settings, heights etc.
4. I don’t have the costs and inconvenience of taking the model or client to the location.
5. I have finite control over the background. I can even replace the sky or turn day into night, or whatever my imagination can think of.
6. They are so much more fun to produce in photoshop and I love doing them!
So, if you fancy learning the technique from start to finish and can head over to Cambridgeshire, please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org