Photoshop tutorial video: Creative composite portrait

Confession: there are often times when I can't quite get a creative vision to work out in-camera.  I tend to rely on Photoshop to get me out of those jams.  ;)

So I created a little video tutorial to walk through some of the basic principles of putting together a plausible creative composite!  I redid one of my favorite examples of Photoshop magic -- an engagement portrait where I had wanted to shoot through magnolia branches to frame the couple in blurred out bokeh loveliness, but I just wasn't quite tall enough to pull it off.  So I took a separate flower bokeh photo with the goal of putting this all together in post!

Creative composite of photos for engagement portrait | Christina Keddie Photography | Photoshop tutorials

A few quick notes on the video (which is 18 minutes long -- yikes, I know, but it takes you through the whole basic edit):

  1. This was my first time doing a screen recording of an edit.  And wow, is it awkward talking at a screen the whole time!  Apparently, one of my stress responses is to gloss over rough masking and pronounce it "good."  ;)  I ended up cleaning up the edit a bit after finishing the screen recording, but I still think I covered all the basic principles.
  2. Except for one -- I forgot to mention at the beginning that it's vital to make sure that your composite layers are converted into smart objects as soon as they open in Photoshop, particularly if you're going to resize the file at all.  So make sure to right-click on the layer and choose "Convert to Smart Object" before doing anything else!!  (Note: this option isn't available in PSE.  For Elements users, you'll want to drag and drop the file from LR directly onto the other file in PSE.  Or if you're working with two files already saved on your desktop, you'll want to open one in PSE, then go to File > Place and select the other file to add it as a smart object layer.)
  3. And one final point that bears repeating -- the most important thing to do when compositing images like this is taking care to have good source images.  They have to plausibly blend together (so take them in the same light and process them to match each other).  And take some time to really think through the creative vision aspect of things.  Here, for instance, I framed my couple in the lower right, and knew I wanted a blurred out branch framing them in the final composite, so I took a bunch of flower photos with a branch blurred out on the lefthand side.  I chose this flower photo out of the six or seven I took because I liked how the curve of the foreground branch played well with my couple.  Having good source images will take you 90% of the way towards creating a plausible composite!

So there you have it!  Feel free to reach out to me with any further questions!