When it comes to composites I think people (and as you know if you read this post, I too) sometimes forget that a composite image doesn’t alway have to be cutting out a subject and putting them on a background. One fun and interesting way to spice up your composite game is to include elements of the actual surroundings along with the subject. As in only replacing part of the background in order to put the subject and part of their environment somewhere totally different rather than cutting out JUST a model. This works best when you aren’t in the studio and can shoot somewhere super cool, like IDK a rusty old railroad bridge perhaps?
My grandparents live centrally located in middle-of-nowhere-Ohio. This is where I grew up, and it was magical. Back in May of 2018 I had a mini photographer gathering, and by mini I mean it was: me, my brother, my cousin James, and my good friend Loren. However, it was by no means “mini” as far as the fun and creativity were concerned.
During part of one of the days (when we weren’t shooting underwater), we took an adventure to this awesome old railroad bridge. As cool of a location as it was right off the bat - with the river going underneath and the forest all around, I decided to relocate the bridge entirely. I was thinking that it would be cool to shoot James under it and then put the bridge in some sort of a sci-fi-esque futuristic city. Aka the complete opposite of where it actually was. (Also, fun fact, if you’ve never been right under a railroad bridge while a train goes over it … be sure to add that to your bucket list. It’s pretty awesome.)
Doing a composite like this was so fun! Of course I did have to make it more difficult for myself - Even though he was staying on the background (since there was metal behind him in the photo), I still did end up cutting James out so I could alter the depth of field and edge light on him and stuff … Anyway, working on this image was so enjoyable that I decided to take another capture from the shoot that I liked and threw together a second one!
I couldn’t have asked for better lighting - the way the grates overhead made the top light slightly more directional and soft and then the light bouncing around off the water gave him a nice edge light from below. It was super hard to just pick one to edit … hence why I picked two. And if I’m being honest … which I always do here, I have a third image waiting in the wings. For that one, though, I need to either dive head first into learning 3D modeling, or find a brilliant 3D artist to collaborate with … I have plans.
(If that 3D artist is you, kindly see yourself to my contact page…)
For now, though, I hope you enjoyed these images as much as I did making them. Do yourself a favor and give one of these partial environmental composites a try. You don’t even HAVE to go somewhere spectacular. Maybe you shoot a model someplace as simple as on a bed and then photoshop them and the bed somewhere, like in the clouds or a forest perhaps. (“Oh good ideas Robert; write that down for later and don’t tell anyone about them.”) Or perhaps shoot someone in a doorway and only replace what’s behind them though the door - Heck you could even replace everything except them and the doorframe. Like they are on the other side of a doorway portal of some kind in the new location. (“Write that down too. This last paragraph is full of brainstorming gold!”)