Fantastical Compositing: Combining Multiple Images To Create Fantasy Fine Art with Bret Malley Learn how to do a family portrait with a magical twist! Join Bret Malley as he teaches you all the steps, from shooting to post processing, needed to create your own fantasy fine art composite. Bret takes you through the gear he uses, his process for pre-production, how to communicate and work with the subjects, his lighting setup, how to photograph each element of the composite, and then how to bring it all together in Photoshop. The first half of the class is a live shoot where Bret creates all the pieces, and in the second half he teaches you his tips and techniques for creating a seamless composite that brings your imagination to life.
Turning The Corner It was my senior year in high school and I had just turned 18. I had been playing drums since age 11 – only 7 years – but to an adolescent, 7 years can feel like two decades. Just a week after my birthday I met some guys who had started a band called Third Day and fortunately for me, they needed a drummer. I obliged to try out and the rest is history!
I spent the next 24 years of my life making music and traveling the world. Third Day had quite a career and we experienced so much in that time. I never imagined music would be my livelihood or that it would last so long. But here’s part of the reason why I never imagined it… I sucked at it! Well, at least at first.
I’ll give myself some slack for the first 7 years of playing drums because really, it was just a hobby. I mean, I had a drum set in our damp, unfinished basement. I put stickers on the bass drum head. I duct taped my broken drum sticks back together. I hit a crash cymbal every four beats. Lots of crash cymbals. Never enough crash cymbals! My friends would come over and we would attempt to make music together. It was the stuff of garage bands and it was fun but certainly not career-worthy. And I wasn’t one of those high school kids who said,”I’m gonna make it in music someday!” No, I was more of the mind of, “What the heck am I gonna do when I grow up?”
I may never have grown up, but what started as an unpolished hobby became second nature, and I blossomed into my own style and technique. I said I’d give myself a free pass for the first 7 years of drumming, but I’ll just tell you that the next 7 years was trial by fire. I mean, after all, Third Day was in ever-increasing demand.It’s one thing to play music at your own leisure and quite another when you’re obligated. When the “get to” becomes the “have to,” you learn to grow quickly. It was definitely an uphill climb but I distinctly remember the season when it felt like I was finally getting it. I was mastering a skill and becoming really good at what I did. You might call it, “owning it.”
My point in painting this backstory is that now, after nearly 6 years in photography, I believe I’m finally becoming halfway decent at it! In fact, I’m equal parts amazed and embarrassed to look at my earliest attempts at capturing great shots. I mean, who doesn’t love a shot of the clear blue, mid day sky over the rocky mountains with nothing interesting happening? Can we say Lightroom clarity slider to the rescue? I’ll never forget the day I discovered that slider. It was my best go-to trick!
One thing I’ve learned is that just because your family and friends say you’re great – and they certainly mean well – it doesn’t mean you are. In fact, I have learned to be more and more critical of my own work. It’s essential to growth in anything. You celebrate the wins but learn from the mistakes. I definitely had to learn that behind the drum set, and it’s no different with a camera in hand.
Yes, I finally feel like I’m getting pretty good at photography. I say finally because most of my favorite images up until recently were the result of spraying and praying, then sifting through the rubble and finding one gem here or there. Can you relate? Whereas now, I’m feeling more in control of the process from start to finish. My confidence has grown considerably, partly because my ‘get to’ is now my ‘I’m being paid to!’
Perhaps the same is true for you. However, if you’re kind of new to this whole photo thing, then I encourage you to keep at it, have fun shooting, editing and sharing. But also get gut level honest with yourself about your work and let others speak into it as well. Don’t be afraid to fail! Welcome failure as a guest of success because they go hand in hand. They are both equally part of what will get you to the next level.
David Carr is based in Atlanta, GA. Though primarily a portrait photographer, he always has and always will love photographing landscapes, architecture, animals and really anything that makes a great image. You can see more of his work at DavidCarr.com, and keep up with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Hello there! It’s #TravelTuesday again so it’s that time of the week that I, Dave Williams, jump in right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider to share something that will hopefully fill in a gap somewhere in your creative flow! Today, as I head off on a mission to Iceland, I want to tell you about something that I’ve found valuable in the field of drone photography and videography. I want to tell you how to pull a still from a video so that you can retouch it as if it were a photo in Adobe Photoshop – something I do when I shoot with my drone quite regularly.
First up, load the video you want to pull a frame from in Adobe Premiere Pro. In this example I’m using Premiere Pro CC 2018.
Now move the Playhead to the position within the video from which you want to pull the still image.
In this example I’m taking a still from a video I made at Kilt Rock during my trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland last week. Gushing over the cliff at Kilt Rock is Mealt Falls landing straight into the sea. I caught a composition of the two on video and I want to make something of it, so I’ve set my Playhead to the right point and I’m ready to pull out the still.
Next up, hit the Export Frame button. When you do this you’re presented with a dialogue box which gives you a couple of options.
First up is the File Name. We can change this name to whatever suits. Further underneath that is the Path option, the destination of which we can change using the Browse button. The option that’s rather more important to us here is the Format field. Once we change this it remains selected as that format each time we do this until we change it. There are a few options here, one of which as a photographer we may not be so familiar with, and that one is DPX. This stands for Digital Picture Exchange and it’s the format used when scanning film which records colour density and in fact records a lot of data relating to the frame. The more common formats we’ll see here are TIFF and PNG. Personally I choose PNG, however it all comes down to your preference and your intentions.
Once we’ve hit OK after selecting the format and destination of the file we can go ahead and take it from our folder straight into Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to make the adjustments we’d make to any other photo. It’s that simple, yet surprisingly often overlooked.
I hope that little nugget was useful for you! As always, do let me know how you get on, and you can show myself or KelbyOne on Instagram if you want, we love to see! You can keep track of my Iceland adventure right on my Instagram too!
Happy Monday, everybody! (stop snickering — it’s going to be a great week). :-)
This past weekend I was fortunate to be one of the instructors at the Out of Chicago photography conference (really great conference, by the way — so much fun, and I met lots of great folks. High-five to Chris Smith and his team for organizing such a great event). Anyway, one of the highlights of the conference for me was getting to sit down and do one-on-one portfolio reviews, and just getting to talk to so many photographers about their work.
Where’s Your Portfolio? One thing I’m constantly surprised about is how many folks not only have no photography portfolio whatsoever (online or otherwise) but beyond that, they haven’t even taken a break from shooting long enough to stop and evaluate their own work. They have thousands upon thousands of images in Lightroom, but they haven’t gone through to choose their very best images, so they really don’t know where they stand with their work. They just keep shooting and shooting and shooting, and photos keep piling up and piling up, so they don’t step back, take a break, and really look at where they are, and where they’re going.
Why This Matters If they haven’t taken the time to find their best images, how can they tell if they’re improving? Are they getting better? Can they see any year-over-year improvement? How would they even know?
So where do you stand? If I ran into you today, and I asked to show me your portfolio, you could be able to give me a URL where I could see your best work? I’m not talking about your Facebook page or Twitter or Instagram where you have posted hundreds of random images over the past few years — I’m taking an actual portfolio of your best work. If I sat down with you at your computer, could you point me to your best 20 or 24 shots in just one or two clicks?
We need to know where we stand as photographers, no matter where we are on our journey. If you’re a beginner, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to find your 20 best images. Have you taken the time to stop and evaluate your own work? Do you know how you’re doing? Are you making progress?
This is something we really need to talk about.
That’s why this is my topic on my podcast “The Grid” this week I’m not only going to talk about why we all need to evaluate our own work, but I’m also going to show you step-by-step how to quickly put together a professional-looking online portfolio for FREE (Well, it’s free as long as you subscribe to any of Adobe’s subscription plans for Lightroom and Photoshop). This is important stuff, and I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday — we go live at 4 PM ET (New York Time), and I’ll be taking your comments and questions on the air. You’re going to be stunned at how easy it is to put together a pro-looking portfolio, so I hope you can make it. We simul-stream to my Facebook page, so you can watch it there, or you can go to kelbyone.com/thegrid and watch it there.
Have a great Monday everybody, and I hope to see you Wednesday on the show. :)
P.S. I’m bringing my Lightroom seminar to Washington DC, Raleigh, and Lansing I’ll be in DC in August with my full-day Lightroom seminar, but before then I’ll be in Raleigh and Lansing. Hope you’ll join me for the day. http://kelbyonelive.com
I got this question this week, and I thought I’d answer it with a simple answer, but also a cool trick just in case. First the question:
“If I’m shooting in direct sunlight but am using a diffuser to soften the sunlight, do I set my white balance to shade or sun? “
Softening the sunlight shouldn’t change its color, so I would leave it set to Daylight. This is different than shooting in the shade where the sunlight is blocked and the color of the light captured by your camera turns blue, but with a 1-stop diffuser (btw, that’s the best $20 a photographer can spend for better outdoor portraits — that’s one in use shown above), it lets the sunlight thru and so I wouldn’t change the white balance unless the subject looked bluish. Luckily, this is an easy thing to test next time you’re out shooting. Take one shot with your white balance set to Daylight, one set to shade, and compare the color. Easy enough.
Now, that being said, below is a quick video, I made to show another method — using your camera’s Live View to nail the white balance in tricky lighting situations. Take a look:
Now, before you ask, “Scott!!! What!!! Are you switching back to Nikon?” Nope — I recorded that video a few years back when I was still shooting Nikon. Just thought I’d nip that one in the bud now. LOL!! :)
Hope you found that helpful. :)
I saw this quote in our KelbyOne community this week. It said,
“I rejoined K1 6 months ago after being away for several years. I can honestly say, I’ve learned more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 15 years”
That so made my day! If you’ve been on the sidelines, we’d love to have you back with us. Head over to http://kelbyone.com and start learning again today.