Composite Photography

Composite Photography is what I do for fun (with a camera) when I’m not doing wedding photography. What is composite photography you ask? It’s the process of creating one image by combining two or more images. It might be as simple as replacing a boring sky on a portrait with a sky that has dramatic clouds. Let’s say that I want to create an image of a firefighter, exhausted, in front of a burned out home. There are several ways that I could do this.

I could go out to a real fire call, and photograph the firefighters as they work, and hope I get lucky. I never get lucky using this approach. I could get a firefighter to take his bunker gear, and we could travel to a location where a house burned, and set up lights there, and try to get the perfect shot there. If you do this method, you better hope you get a firefighter with a lot of patience, because he’ll be waiting around for some time til the photographer gets everything right.

Or you could do it like this: Call up the fire chief and ask if you can come to the fire station to get some pictures of firefighters in gear. Set up your camera in their kitchen, and then have them pose in front of a white backdrop. Take the images back to your office, and cut the firefighter out of the image, and composite the firefighter into an image of a burned out house.

firehouse lighting
Lighting setup inside firehouse. It’s basically a sheet for a backdrop
diagram
lighting diagram for firefighter project
firefighter project
fireman helping another firefighter
firefighter-portrait
firefighter portrait
reject
rejected image
rejected image
one of the rejected images from my firefighter portrait project
firefighter reject
firefighter sitting down with air mask
sitting
rejected image from the firefighter portrait project
background 2
high def image of burned building
burned house
background image of burned house
fav firefighter image
my favorite image from the project.
finished image
finished composite image
Lopez
Lopez image after cutting out in Photoshop
finished composite portrait
finished composite image

If you have an interest in Composite Photography, I urge you to Googly the man who inspired me to try it, and is considered to be the master of this type of art, Joel Grimes. You can find his work at Joel Grimes Website. If you are in the San Antonio area, I’d be glad to help you get started. Send me an email by clicking the contact link at the top of the page.

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