Not every photographic image can happen in camera. Sure, as photographers, it is ideal to get white balance and exposure right, but some scenes can only happen with manipulation after the fact. Enter…post-processing. Enter….Photoshop.
The photo above consists of many photos combined using Photoshop.
For starters, fashion photographer Laura Marino told me about this lion in the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. It became the foundation for the photo. She wanted to use the lion for a shoot with one of her models, but it was in a difficult place to shoot, hidden by many trees. The Lion was grand. Rather than view it with the eyes of a photographer, I imagined it through the eyes of a photo editor.
There were many beautiful structures in this cemetery that could add to the scene, but of course you cannot just move them where you want. Here are a few of the stones and memorials that caught my eye.
With all the images in hand, it starts out like a puzzle. If you know you will be doing a composite image, the most important thing is timing. Photograph all the images at roughing the same time and weather conditions, ideally the same day. This way they blend very well together and it’s more believable.
For this composite, I gathered all the photos that I captured and started putting a puzzle together. When you think in layers it makes planning your project so much easier, and the results are unlimited. There were a total of nine pictures, with the scene itself. Once all the pieces were in place, I used the curves to adjust the picture in its entirety. Doing effects in uniform with this type of project is important to me as it unifies the picture.
When the scene was complete, Laura Marino photographed the model. Movies like 300 and Immortals really inspired me to create this scene with a model. I pictured a red dress flowing dramatically. Laura created the dress and styled the model, JoyLynn. She did her make-up and photographed her.
After the shoot, I brought images of Joylnn and my Lion Scene into Photoshop.
The best pose of the model made the train of her dress looked like a wing. So I used the train from another image. Having the train separate from the dress was so key. I warped it into the shape and size that complimented the scene. Then I extracted the model from the background and added her to the lion scene.
The final step was to bring it into Lightroom 4 and tweak the overall colors, look and added a vignette. Like I mentioned before, doing the whole scene together with an action or preset really brings the image together.