Compositing: Quick Cheats and Dirty Tricks

1. When shooting two pictures to combine, pay attention to linear perspective. If you shoot both pictures from the same angle you’ll have an easier time combining them.

2. Images with greater depth-of-field can be easier to composite – especially if the foreground elements go off the page. So Picture 01 below will be harder to achieve than Picture 02.

Picture 01 - Less depth-of-field

Picture 02 - more depth-of-field

3. You can even use the blur filter to exaggerate the depth-of-field.

closer and blurred for exaggerated depth of field

4. Don’t forget shadows. You can select and paste them from other pictures, even if the ground doesn’t match. Then use them to create selections you can use to darken the ground in your new background.

with shadow added

5. Play with the hue, saturation, lightness and darkness of your two images to get a match.

elephant darkened to match background

6. By adjusting the hue or saturation of both images, you can create the illusion that they were both shot in the same conditions.

Blurred, with hue adjustment for both images

7. Be creative about your imagined photo opportunity. For some scenarios, you can actually make the image look more convincing by decreasing the image quality.

"accidental" image

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