Digital Manipulation Part 2

In my last blog entry I talked about my feelings/opinion on digital manipulation please remember this is just my opinion I also showed a photograph of my daughter that was digitally manipulated and promised to share how it was done so here goes:-

Just to refresh your memory here is the finished photograph:-


As I mentioned in my previous article I wanted to minimize the amount of editing I needed to do in Photoshop so a bit of lateral thinking was required, the obvious way was just to photograph Jess sat down and copy and paste her into another photo however unless you have got hours to spare and are an expert in photo editing this can be very tricky to achieve so this is what I came up with:-

The Setup

Equipment wise I used a Canon 7D, with a 15-85mm lens, flash gun to provide fill light, although any camera can be used here however the two important pieces of equipment were a tripod and a remote shutter release this is to keep the camera in position, you will see why in a moment. That is the photographic equipment so now for the props which were a book, Jessica (my daughter), two garden chairs and a plank of wood. The plank of wood was balanced on the garden chairs if you are going to do this please ensure it is safe i.e. stable, doesn’t wobble and there is no risk of injury.

Here is the setup:-


The first photograph

I got Jess to position herself comfortably on the plank of wood posing for the shot and then adjusted the position of the camera, to emphasize height it is best to get the camera as low as possible looking up at the subject. Once I was happy with the composition and having decided what depth of field I wanted I set the camera to aperture priority mode, selected f8 and then focused on Jess, I now switched autofocus off this is important as when the second photograph is taken you don’t want the camera to refocus as well as changing focus this can alter perspective. I took a couple of test shots and fine tuned my settings as the light was starting to fade I had to up the ISO to 800 to get a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second and a little exposure compensation.

So this is my first shot:-


 The second photograph

As the light was fading we had to act quickly so we whipped the chairs and plank of wood away and I took a couple of shots minus the props and subject:-


Editing the photographs

Now it was time to edit the photos so having packed my camera gear up I then launched Photoshop and loaded up my two photographs, I then copied and pasted the photograph with Jess in it on to the photograph which just had the background, this created a new layer I then highlighted the layer with Jess in it on the layer palette and clicked “Add layer mask” now it was just a question of selecting the brush tool, making sure the colour was set to black and painting out the chairs and the planks of wood. It did get a bit fiddly where Jessica’s body met the wood but it was still fairly quick and easy to do, also remember if you paint to much out you can change the brush colour to white and paint it back in.

Here is the editing in progress:-


There are plenty of articles and you tube videos on using layer masks in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements so if you need any help then take a look at those. Layers and layers masks if a standard technique so it is well worth learning if you don’t know how to use them.





This entry was posted in Photography.