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Sport Portrait Composite part 3 of 3 | How I Got the Shot

This article is part 3 of a 3 part series on How I Got the Shot

Part 1: PLAN
Part 2: PHOTOGRAPH
Part 3: PROCESS

The first article of this series explained the planning phase and how the composite was envisioned. The second article focused on the technical aspect of photography and what settings were used. This article will focus on how Lightroom and Photoshop were used that let to how I got the shot.

Lightroom

To develop a gritty harsh look, I used harsh light. This allows me to over sharpen the image using the clarity slider to get the rough look I was after. Desaturating the colors and deepening the blacks added to the effect. Once the look was achieved, I created a preset to ensure each photo would look the same. Before I applied the preset to each photo, I removed any blemishes on the face and enhanced the eyes.

Photoshop

I opened each image in Photoshop and removed the background using the quick selection tool. Using the refine edge tool, I further enhanced the selection. I saved each image as a PSD file for later use. Removing the background on each image made it easy to position the players since they were all on a separate layer.

Blank Canvas

I started with a black 20″ x 10″ canvas at 180 ppi. This was the final size I chose for printing. Keeping the PPI (pixel per inch) down to 180 gave me the quality I needed for printing while keeping the file size manageable.

Positioning Players

I copied each player onto the new background layer. I re-positioned the layers to match the composition I was looking for. Each player was eventually moved to the lead position for their personal poster.

Finishing the Poster

To complete the poster, I added the team’s name, a fog background and stadium lights. To ensure color balance, I added a photo adjustment layer with a warming filter. The final poster was saved as a PSD template. To give each player a unique poster, I positioned their image as the leader and saved the file with a jpg extension using their name as the file name.

What Would I Try Differently?

Its always important to learn from each shoot. Here are a few things I would want to try or improve on for the next shoot:

I could have made each player’s layer a smart object. This would have made it simple to add new players the following year. Another idea I had was changing the team’s banner to include the player’s names. Either way, I feel the poster would have looked equally good.

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