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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Next Lesson: Why Composite ?


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Why Composite ?


Logic Checklist


What Not To Do When Compositing


Shooting for Composite


Changing Backgrounds and Light


Shoot: Simple Swaps Part 1


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

what we're doing today is sort of a take on compositing that I haven't approached before and the reason why I say that is because I am doing compositing in a very basic way and yet I want to build up to that basic technique turning into really advanced compositing so my goal here is to go through really simple techniques for example we're going to start out with brushes like things that you can find on the left hand toolbar things that I don't find to be very intimidating and they're things that I think can help you in almost anyway in compositing so my journey thus far in photography has been to take a look at that left hand toolbar get really really confused about everything and then try to un confuse myself that's a new word that I just made up so I what I do is I go to that left hand to a bar I say okay what makes sense I understand how to use the eraser tool I understand how to use the clone stamp tool and so on and so forth so my basic methods here are just focused on okay how ca...

n I put one picture on top of another and how can I erase part of that picture and that's where I start compositing is that simple basic idea of what is compositing it's blending multiple images together it could be as simple as blending a sky into your image which as we probably all know is not actually such a simple thing to dio it could be something like expanding the frame which is something I've touched on before so a lot of this class is going to touch on little pieces that I've talked about in previous classes but what I've always done with those classes is to take my idea my fine art idea from start to finish just everything that I need to fulfill that vision this class is going to be more about going with very very small individual ideas that build up to a bigger composite so we're going to be playing with a bride and groom were going to be doing a group photo shoot with all of us so that will be fun we're going to be let's see going into lighting techniques which is something that I've never really talked about before I just started using lights it's been very terrifying to me uh I have a good story to tell you later though of when I was in the forest and I started painting my whole body white and then I spray painted my hair white really big and then my lights wouldn't work and I was already in costume and everything on the side of the road so I spent three hours trying to fix my lights and while trying to move in this giant hoop skirt and stuff and it turned out that I just needed to put a new battery in the light you know it's okay so we all learn so I've been playing with lights were going to do a little bit of that and and my point is that I'm going to break this down into the simplest techniques possible and we're going to build up to a really big final photo shoot at the end that fine art shoot I don't know if it's going to work at all I mean I'm just going to be honest I've never tried it before there are reasons why I think it might not come together but a lot more why I think it will so I've been having this debate this week with people is it going to work is it not gonna work I don't know we're split so we'll see but just don't laugh at me too much amount it so that's why people love you is because you are willing to do stuff like that and actually go out and so that we can see exactly how the process works if you or if it doesn't so well you know it's it's fun because the fact is that we all fail all the time so we might as well do it live right or that's maybe not the theory but let's just go with that so let's jump in here tio what I want to talk about throughout the three days the first thing that we're going to do after we finish this presentation is we're going to talk about swapping body parts something that I think is really really practical for a lot of people so it could be something really intense where maybe you need tio I don't know do a composite where you need a different leg on somebody's body and that's like a big chunk of their body to replace it might be something like that it might be something as simple as you have a bride and groom and they're posing together in the ride's kind of like this on the groom and maybe the hand is like like she's nervous and she's grabbing onto that groom then maybe we need to fix that by doing a softer hand and so we're going to be fixing things like that with some simple swapping techniques and good he's like that we're going to be changing backgrounds so we're going to be talking about how to move a person from one background to another everything from if it's a complicated background too if it's a perfectly lit wonderful background to cut somebody off of so we're going to be going through that process as well as how to shoot for that kind of composite so how to actually you know maximize your ability to move that person to a new background which is something that I fail at most of the time out of laziness most really I'm sure some of you guys know that feeling we're like well I don't feel like going over here today so I'm just going to take my picture at my house and see how it goes I do that a lot I go outside and take a picture just agains the side of my house and see how that goes and it's been going pretty well in teaching me some new techniques that we're going to go over that creating dresses that's something that we're going to be playing with so how to take a small piece of fabric and turn that into a beautiful dress and that's something that I'm very passionate about because I don't have a big budget to work with ever so I want to be able to take a two dollar piece of fabric maybe even that I found in the trash can I was just in new york city and I went into a dumpster and I found the perfect piece of fabric I didn't bring it today I left it in new york for some other person to get creative with it but things like that are really awesome because if you can find something inexpensive and turn it into something brilliant than that's what I hope for this we're going to be changing light and when I talk about lighting dynamics which I'll probably do a lot what I mean by that is how can we actually change how we read the white in an image so we're going to go into photo shop and we're going to play with everything from making the light look like it's coming from this side instead of this side we're going to be making it more dynamic with vignettes and radiance and things like that and just playing with lytton every fun way pop so you may be thinking that has nothing to do with compositing right because lighting dynamics aren't really howyou composite but there's two parts to this so the first part is learning how to change different elements different images that we're blending in the white matches because that's been a problem of mine where maybe I'm at the sand dunes and I say oh my gosh I have to have a picture of the sand dune and then I go home and realize the lighting was different there than it was on the subject that I want to drop into that space so learning how to change light in that way is extremely important but then further than that I mean how do you make an image look cohesive it's largely through light my theory is that lighting is king in photography especially in compositing so if I'm going to be taking two images and blending them together then it's not enough to just make the white match you then have to make sure that the whole image has a cohesive lighting look to it in a style so that's what we're going to be talking about that so much levitation photography because it's fun and also because it's practical in ways that you might not think so with levitation photography will be learning how to do things like creating realistic shadows and stuff like that that things that you might be thinking well I'm never going to make a girl look like she's flying in the air in my photography well that's okay because it is an amazing technique just to train yourself how to create that's what I have found it it really has brought a lot of discipline to my craft and then we have fine art which we're going to be doing so we're going to just go into this big fine art shoot with lots of weird things you'll see it's going to happen on dh then also selling composited imagery so we're going to talk a little bit about how to basically market those images I don't know if you guys have run into this we'll call the issue of people saying that's not photography because you composited your pictures together or you know just questioning what kind of a medium it is or how you work because you're compositing images and I know that I've had lots of experience with clients and they just don't get it like how I'm shooting so I'll say I'll take a picture of you here and now I need a picture of your hand over here and now I need your hair over here and they're like what is going on so marketing that is something that I really want to talk about not at length but a good good while so why are we talking about basic techniques that's what I want to get across here and the basic techniques to me are the most important ones so if we can take let's see the absolute simplest methods than our whole lives are easier and that makes it a lot nicer for being able to composite and explain that process to others and get through your head it's faster and and just have a really streamline flow I have a little bit of trouble myself with remembering things with keeping all the compositing straight and I try to watch videos with other people editing and talking about compositing and it goes way over my head I mean I just can't understand it it's not in my vocabulary a lot of it so I've tried to create my own method I've tried to get past this fear of people saying this isn't right I mean that's not how you composite images and then I'll say well it's a work so far or if it hasn't been you know droves and droves of people aren't telling me that so speak up if it if it's not but um that's my theory and I think that simple tools produced amazing results I mean in my opinion when it comes to the eraser tool when it comes to taking just a few pictures on set that's how I work best because for me that's the simplest way of doing it so I can focus on what needs to be done instead of worrying about all these extraneous details of you know are these ten lights and the exact perfect position and you know while I actually I don't know any technical terms and photo shop I was going to say something about that but I don't know any so but I don't want to worry about that I just want to focus on the craft I won't talk about logic to because logic is how we get through compositing logic is my enemy and I'll tell you why in a second I mean I'm not going to say it has to do with smarts because that's all very relative but I'm not a very logical person and then getting it right on camera I'm going to talk about this a lot because I think that's important I think that I'm not aiming to create images that maybe look cool in the camera but then don't actually fit together because of why do we want to make our lives difficult we're going to be doing one shoot like that where we are going to make our lives difficult just to show how to get through that so if you have images that you really feel need to get put together but you just don't know how because they don't quite fit we're gonna talk about that but ah lot of this will be about shooting for the composite you know really taking our time to figure out how to take the images right the first time so when they get to go there and they just mesh perfectly together so uh that's me eating some putting in case you didn't know and my point here is that I am not a naturally logical person okay I'm just a simple person who likes to eat chocolate pudding that's really my only point here so I put this up because I want you to understand how illogical I am I wish that I had a really good example of how a logical I am but I don't know I mean the other day I put both my legs and my one pant hole is that a good example or is that just like clumsiness and stupidity I'm not sure but but what I want to get across here is this idea that you don't have to be a naturally logical person you just have to start training yourself to be ableto work in that way so we're going to be talking about a logic checklist that we're going to go through for a lot of these shoots and this is something that I keep with me so when I'm talking about this and I'm teaching this it's not because I know it by heart all of it I mean I can't retain things in there as well as most people can when I was in college I had a doctor's note saying I don't have to take a test because I couldn't remember things and so s oh it's a good example of why I keep notes with me so in my camera bag at any given time you'll see lots of little papers folded up and when you unfold those papers you'll see that they say things like remember tio focus on angle focus on lighting things like that and I used to draw diagrams and stuff like that and actually way have one of the checklist that she has put together and we're including it for people who purchased this course she's gone through and actually broken down like angle different things to think about their lens exposure all sorts of different things to think about so we love that you not only use them but are willing to share them with everybody so thank you yeah it was great I was thinking about what we could download and everything and then I thought well this is going to be easy because I already have them written for myself so now I could just put some pretty pictures in there and make it a download so that was nice and easy but that's what I do I mean I use sheets to remind myself of these things all the time they're certain techniques that I've done over and over so I don't necessarily need that but I mean by golly I don't know how to turn a light on I mean I even said when we're figuring out the lights for this I said so you just turn it on and then it lights up right like I actually asked that s so so that's why I need a little help sometimes and so we're gonna give that help to everybody hopefully

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Swapping Hand
Practice Files - Levitation
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Logan Fox

I'm so thrilled to have come across this course and to have been introduced to Brooke Shaden. As a bit of background I do photography as a hobby, and always had an appetite to composite my work. It's only after watching this course that I can finally put a name to a craft that I love, that being 'fine art photography'. Through my own personal journey I've read various books, followed online tutorials both paid and free. When I came across this course I did hesitate. I wondered 'is it going to teach me anything new'... 'would the standard of the course be up to scratch'. Well, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is by far is one of the best courses I've come across to date. As a solo photographer myself I've found it difficult at times to be both photographer and subject at the same time. From the outset what became clear was that Brooke is just like me in this respect which made the course so 'relevant' to what I do. Brooke shows throughout the course what can be achieved with a little planning and some creative approaches to situations that can be difficult to pull off when on your own. She is such a joy to watch and listen to, I loved her sense of humor and great how the audience were involved in some of the shoots. All I can say is, if you're in to photography and interested in compositing your work, you should give this a go, you wont regret it!


I'd like to show my gratitude and gratefulness to Ms Shaden and other wonderful people at CreativeLIVE for sharing your vast knowledge without making a fuss. Not everybody has a super computer and a top-notch camera, not everyone has a studio to work in and not everyone needs to know everything as perfectly as some instructors and professionals do. I, for one, have gained so much insight and have been intrigued by Ms Shaden's present and past lessons, she makes the most difficult and surreal subjects unfold so easily and effortlessly. Ms Shaden has made me believe no matter where I be and no matter what i have, as long as i have a good story to tell, and the right vision, I should be able to handle it with a working camera and any version of Photoshop. Unlike many other instructors who kill us every 5 minutes to buy their flashes or gear and support this or that company and agency, Ms Shaden has spent the whole time teaching and teaching and teaching and I am sorry I cannot be there to thank you in person, but you, Ms Shaden, are awesome and nobody can unawesome you :)


I have been a huge fan of Brooke's work since the beginning of the flickr days. I'm so excited to see her in her element on CL. So many years ago i was so very interested in learning and creating and CL makes this possible now. A lot of my work has been inspired by Brooke's dark yet beautiful work style and i am super inspired to create some using her advice. I cannot wait to delve deeper into this world i have been waiting so long to indulge in it and now i will even more so than i have the last 3 years. Thank you Brooke and CL ! =) Sarina Gito Photography (

Student Work