What is Composite Photography and How to do It Right

Photography Composite Tips for You

Have you ever heard of a photography composite? Photography composite is a concept where two or more photographs are combined to create one cohesive photo or final image. Photography composite can be seen in our everyday lives, from an advertisement, movie posters, and many more. 

It’s a fun concept that allows photographers to add a tiny dose of fantasy to the photo or picture. Feels like photo manipulation but with more great results. Interested in creating images of a fake photo and turning it into something realistic? Here are several photography composite tips that can help you start!

What is composite photography?

Simply put, composite photography is the art of combining multiple images to create a cohesive or final image. Although the term might be rare, composite photography has become a part of our daily life.

The idea itself is not really new; in fact, composite images appeared hundreds of years ago in the early days of photography. Initially, when taking a picture involved a subject having to sit or be still for a long time, a photographer processed several films in a dark room and used layering techniques to create a cohesive image.

Fast forward to this era, photographers now don’t have to struggle with a collection of films to create one cohesive image. Photographers can now use digital media to do this.

With the easier access to this photography technique, now the use of composite photographs has become common and become a branch of its own.

One of the most commonly seen applications of compositing image techniques is collage, where people can combine several images into one, either in one frame or form a natural whole.

Read Also: 5 Recommendation of Best Free Collage App

Why Should You Use Composited Image?

The use of composite photography has actually been a matter of debate.

Some consider the manipulations carried out to create a composite image too excessive and cannot be considered a form of photography. Changes that are too excessive are also considered to be able to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction for people who do not understand the process of making composite images.

Others think that composite photography is a consequence of the development of digital technology in the world of photography. In short, composite photography is simply a branch of digital photography.

Whatever the opinion, it is undeniable that the use of composite images has become a part of our daily life; almost every image we see is the result of manipulation.

Then, why do companies use composite images? One of the strongest answers is because of the effect it creates. Composite images can give a strong impression.

Images that are manipulated well, even to the point of being exotic or seeming from another world, will be deeply embedded in the human mind more easily. This is the main reason why companies use composite images. With composite images, it will be easier for anyone to sell an idea because anything can be made into visual elements.

Also, with the compositing technique, you can turn those generally boring free stock photos into more interesting ones. This of course can help with the image creation process, both in time management and in financial terms.

Tips on How to Create Composites Image

Like any other form of photography, composite photography has complexities that must be understood in order for you to do it well. Here are some tips that you can apply to create a good composite image

1. Plan Before Creating Composite Images

Before you jump on the opportunity to create images for photography composite, one thing that you need to do is look for ideas. It takes a lot of time. 

In order to create an outstanding composite, you must have a creative outlook on what kind of concept that you want to achieve. First, you can start by searching for references. Do you want the composite image to be more surreal with a depth of field or clean and professional?

From those references, you will have at the very least a rough draft to create one of your composite image ideas. Decide which concept that you want to try and start planning. 

During the planning, you can attempt to take the photos by yourself or use several stock images from the internet. For example, you can use one photo that you took and combine it with a stock single image. 

So, don’t let the composite image you want to create be careless because it is not conceptualized first. Make sure the composite image ideas are carefully selected.

Read also: Cool Photo Edits Ideas & Best Example for You

2. Match the Lighting for Composite Images

The most common problem in doing photography composite is lighting consistency. This is important as you want the viewers to actually believe that this photo is taken from a real, living moment. 

It will be easier for you to control the lighting if you decide to take the photos yourself. But, what about the stock images that you may use? Well, the best weapon you can have is Photoshop.

You can adjust the color, background, and brightness on your separate images and make them blend seamlessly with Photoshop. Another important note is to match the perspective. The further the background is, the less contrast it has. Use the Transform tool on Photoshop to handle these issues. 

3. Properly Choose the Location

Whether you choose to use stock single images or your own photos, you need to consider the location that is portrayed on the images. For example, if you want to do a photography composite that depicts a man flying with birds, then you should consider the placement of the sun hitting his face, the direction where the wind blows, and any other details.

As for taking the photos, try to choose a less crowded location or portrait photographer too. You can use depth of field style. Therefore, you can cut out the background more easily and seamlessly. 

If you can, you consider using a green screen to make the photography composite more believable, and you don’t have to spend hours trying to cut out every single nook and cranny because that takes a lot of time.

4. Understanding the Digital Tools for Create One Composite Images

Fast forward to the editing process, there are tons of Photoshop tools that can help you create the most magnificent photo manipulation final image. The first one is Layer Masks, an integral part of any photography composite. Second, the Pen tool to quickly cut out objects that have low contrasts. 

The next one is Adjustment Layers that will help you blend, do color grading, and other impactful adjustments to make the composite look soft. Which comes down to the Blend modes with several kinds of blend groups.

Let’s also not forget about Smart Objects that will cut your time on editing the composite. Brush tool is also useful in creating different effects and putting it into the composite. Last but not least is Filters, which will help you achieve that final look in composite, balanced colors and consistent lighting. 

How to Create Composite Photographs?

You certainly have many choices of software to create composite images. Adobe Photoshop is probably the most recommended software for creating composite images, especially with its full features. Here are some steps that you can follow to create composite photography.

1. Select the Elements You Want to Manipulate

Select one or two images that you want to manipulate. Select a specific element to be combined later. To get the best results, choose an image that has approximately the same lighting as much as possible. Choosing images with the same lighting will make the production and post-production processes very easy.

2. Create New Layer

Once you have selected the images you want to compose, create a new layer to place each image you want to combine. Name each layer to make your manipulation easier, especially if you plan to combine multiple images.

Place the image you want to use as the background into the first layer.

To select a specific part of the image, you can use a lasso and/or a magic wand. Use the move tool to move one element from one layer to another.

3. Use Masks and Blend Modes

When it comes to image manipulation, especially how to combine them, then there are 2 Photoshop features that will really help you; layer mask and blend modes.

With a layer mask, you will more easily show or hide one visual element in the image. You can adjust which parts you want to show or hide with the brush tool.

You can also try different blend modes to make all the different images blend better.

4. Pay Attention to Image Coloring

Now that you’ve combined all the different images into one image, it’s time to pay attention to the coloring, both color and lighting, of your new image.

You can start with the part of the image that already has the same coloring. The goal is to keep the original impression of the image.

Read Also: 4 Steps to Pop Vibrant and Powerful Color Image

Inspirations for Your Composite Photograph

Because the limit in making composite images is creativity, a visual artist sometimes finds it difficult to produce something; too many choices sometimes make it difficult for us to choose.

To help you come up with ideas for composite images, here are some themes you can use.

1. Realism

While the general goal of this technique is to create an image that looks like it’s from another world, realism is a great theme you can apply.

For example, you can create an image that contains people from different generations who are in the same scene. This motif can describe the life journey of someone or something, such as a city or even a culture.

2. Fantasy

This motif is probably the default motive of the composite technique. With this motif, you can turn mundane everyday situations into magical, even absurd, and fun ones.

3. Motion Effect

This motif is probably one that is often seen. With this motif, you can make the subject of a still photo appear as if it is moving. You can already find this motif in the world of sports.

4. Tell a story

By using the compositing technique, you can combine several images into a single image. This means you use the images you combine to tell a story.

This motif, of course, has often been seen in film posters, where film posters generally show characters and settings that can tell a little about the film.

So that’s how you do photography composite. You can take single images a lot of times with some styles, like depth of field or portrait photography. Yes, these two styles can give you a different final image. That’s why depth of field and portrait photography will bring the great results of photo manipulation. Photography composite is a good way to make some different final image vibes. Don’t hesitate to try this trick right now.

If you want to make a composite image but do not  have the time, you can trust Dropicts to do it for you. Dropicts is a professional photo editing services that you can trust to handle everything related to the picture and image of your business.

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