I truly believe that the demand for composited images has only begun to emerge in our industry.  From a purely conceptual standpoint,  composites offer our clients the unprecedented ability to create images that would be too costly or just plain impossible to create any other way.

Compositing allows (you) the creator/artist and your clients (the cool guys with the awesome project and moola) to collaborate at the highest levels of creation.  Having the ability to infinitely control each element in size, color, position, luminosity,  etc. blows the doors wide open to untold visual riches.  You now have the opportunity to create anything imaginable.

Think about that for a second.  You can now create anything you can imagine.  With enough practice of course.  What did Henri Cartier-Bresson say “ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”.  Same with composites.

I can tell you though, the power can be addicting.  You start to consider the magnitude of your vision.  The scope of the possibilities.  Now all those images you have stored on your old hard drives have new meaning.  They now have the power to provide new opportunities of artistic expression.

From a logistics standpoint the benefits are immense as well.   Here are a couple scenarios.  It’s winter and your clients want to have a springtime portrait of their CEO in Central Park or on a rooftop overlooking Tuscany or on the Great Wall of China.The clients want the background to look like the beach in Venice, Ca. and you live in Midland, Texas.  The clients want the image to look cold, cloudy, rainy and it’s clear, sunny and in the mid 80’s.

You get the picture.

So now, if their concept warrants, I shoot the background under the lighting conditions that best suits the aesthetic of the image.   Then I can photograph the subject in the comfort of my studio while my clients sip chilled beverages and listen to my righteous Spotify beats.

Below, I have two versions that were composited for all the reasons mentioned above.  My awesome clients at Project Filter wanted to have a image of Rodeo Champion Wyatt Smith in a dramatic rodeo setting.  This was part of a bigger campaign and we decided the overall mood of the images would be heroic and dramatic.

First issue, the background didn’t exist. Nothing even close.   So I shot and assembled the elements.  The sky, mountains, rodeo park, foreground and Wyatt are all separate images.  This would be impossible to create any other way.Not only can I shoot and assemble the individual elements but now my clients have an opportunity to collaborate on all levels of the creative process.

I want to demonstrate how changing one element in the image can have an enormous impact on it’s feeling and voice. The top image was the one selected for the project but by simply changing the sky in the bottom image, I have completely altered the mood, drama and aesthetic of the photograph.

That’s powerful stuff.  Now imagine you can choose the mountain range, sky, structure and foreground elements.  It’s totally nuts man.   And this is just the beginning.The creative process takes on a much more enriched and immersive role.  Rather than being limited to the location, light conditions, time of year and weather of a location shoot, you can create the location and everything in it.

Don’t get me wrong, I shoot on location all the time and love the organic nature of it.  But having the ability to take it one step further and create anything imaginable has changed the direction of our studio and our business forever.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Point taken .. but it is hard to learn …

  2. I agree, this is an emerging trend in the industry and as long as it’s done well (as per your image) it can make for a fantastic image.

  3. At the precise risk of looking like the novice I am, what software is used to do this? Photoshop is my guess, but I am curious.

  4. please answer Bob’s question. I would assume the same but maybe somethings are done in a raw software 1st.

  5. I use photoshop for the composite heavy lifting and Lightroom for color grading.


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