Can’t Always Shoot Where You Want To

Like the title says… you can’t always shoot where you want to. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done. Enter the magic of Photoshop… and a little know-how too, of course.

As you can see, this image from a football series was shot indoors.


Although, the background is large (12′), you can see it doesn’t cover the model completely. That is because I used a wide angle to give the final image more drama. As for the lighting setup, there are three lights used here. One on each side (angled from the back) and one key light up front (left of me).

When compositing, it’s important to match your light sources, so be aware of that when you are looking for various elements to work with. I happened to be going to a high school football game and was able to get something I could work with. Believe it or not, I only had my iPhone with me and so that’s what I used. To finish off the final image, the football player was masked out. The background image itself was edited from the original since I needed a much higher resolution image but you can see pieces of the stadium to make it convincing enough.


The final image is much more interesting than having the football player on a black background.

Get Your Own Atmosphere

I love to shoot on an overcast day when mother nature is providing me with a giant soft box. Unfortunately, many times that means you’ll end up with a big white sky which is not usually what you want. Here is an image I chose to use for stock – a little girl playing tennis. I really like her emotion in this frame but the atmosphere isn’t quite there. I remembered shooting some moody clouds just after a storm earlier in the summer – I found a good wide shot to work with that matches the light of my original photo(that is absolutely key). Yes, matching the light on all images you are using to composite is KEY. All too often I see images that look “weird” and more often than not, if you look at all the elements carefully, you will eventually see that the light is in varying directions. So I was saying…

After finding the right photo to composite in for the background, next I had to match the DOF of the image(another absolute KEY thing to get right). The sample above shows you just how much of a difference you get with the right atmosphere. Once my masking was done and the backdrop was to my liking I decided to bring in the tennis ball that had zoomed by my head several times while shooting this. Once all the elements I wanted were in, I further enhanced it with tones – in this case I warmed it up using a gradient map. The final image certainly has much more punch.

Changing the original photo took me under an hour and that’s about right for a stock photo that you hope will become a great seller. But that’s another story for another day 🙂 Here is the final image.