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Dianne took a photo of me at Silver Lake Park last weekend that I thought it might make a good subject for a composite image without messing with another subject’s portrait. So I grabbed a shot I took at Bikes & Breakfast about a month ago, and went to work on it.

First job is to create the mask, of myself. I’m getting pretty good at this. I sometimes think I get too deep in the weeds with it, but the end result is a lot more convincing if you take the time to get the details. Things like stray hairs (not really a big issue for me) can be included to make the shot more convincing, or eliminated to make the shot more clean. There’s a balance involved in that.

The second step is to add a layer to my base photo, copy the mask over to the new layer, and position it.

Then I  adjusted each of the layers so they looked right together, primarily playing with brightness and saturation. With more thought put into both the portrait and the background image, this would be easier to accomplish.

Finally, I merged the layers and did a little bit of final cleanup on the edges.

I’m happy with the results!

This really makes me want to shoot more backgrounds with prime lenses, so that the background images match the quality of the subject image I’m working with. There’s a few other ideas I came up with along the way, but I have to keep some secrets, right? There is one thing that bugs me about it, it looks like I’m missing an arm. But as you can see from the original image, it wasn’t lost in the process!

Compositing is a valuable tool, and as I mentioned, doing composite photos opens up a lot of opportunities to take a great portrait and combine it with a great location background to produce an interesting image.

So my question is, where would you like to be?

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