Skip to main content

Editing Dollhouse Shoot Part 1

Lesson 35 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Editing Dollhouse Shoot Part 1

Lesson 35 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

most popular photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

35. Editing Dollhouse Shoot Part 1


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

Editing Dollhouse Shoot Part 1

we are going to edit that fine art shoot that we just did I don't know if either one of the pictures is going to work at all so that's something that we're going to start to work through together and I'm going to talk about all the reasons why something isn't working white is working and I have a feeling that we're going to get into a couple of new tools today in terms of perspective shifting and stuff like that because that might be something that we need to fix based on if I got the right angle and height of the tripod and things like that so we're going to do that on and this is also the segment or we're going to be critiquing some images and critiquing is the wrong word more just sort of giving some friendly advice I guess two people have sent in their images we received a lot of submissions and so we're only going to be able to go through a handful of those which really really apologized for but we're going to go through a few of them some that we thought would be really helpful i...

n many different ways and that will be towards the end of the segment so we're going to do our best to get to that as quickly as we can but first I want to start going through what we did today so what we did today I'm going to pull them up here in bridge and we shot a lot I don't usually take this many photos you can see how many photos air scrolling across the screen there right now but I wanted to make sure that I had enough stock images so I have lots of pictures of the dollhouse and we actually once the cameras went off we shot even more of the dollhouse ethan and played around in the water so I have extra pictures of the dollhouse just in case more angles on things like that and then we have these shots inside the dollhouse that we're going to be playing with so let's first just go through the images and talk a little bit about their progression and what we had to do to move from one image to the next so what we started with was this blank scene and it was white all around and I kind of thought that's what I wanted so we started shooting once she got in there and what I noticed was that it was too white eight inside so that's when we put this black fabric in and we started to adjust the lighting which was overhead and also to the side so that we had window light and some simulated sunlight coming from above for an overcast day then so we started to work with thes images and this is what I notice immediately upon opening this and looking out a little bit closer from one to the other is that that book is very yellow and so it's casting a yellow hugh up to our face so it's one thing that will be talking about today how to get rid of that yellow hue or how to match that to the surrounding and what I think is really need is I was very inspired by this book in particular and I just loved the colors that were appearing in the book in the pictures so we're going to try to mimic some of those colors today and see if we can't get a really nice fairytale sort of bluish green hue going on in the image so we're going to talk about overall color toning as well so here we messed up her hair a little bit and fixed her hands a little bits and they weren't so spread out on the book and then we started adding some more light over here so you can see that fill light especially just popping and right on her arm which was really important on the bottom of the book and then we made one more adjustment to pull the book down so you could see the line of her neck I think that's really important imposing I love to see the neck of a subject so instead of having it pulled all the way up we can see a little bit more elegance because we've pulled it down and there's a nice line moving through there so we still have the white bounce board going on there but then we started to do a couple more things so we started flipping some hair it's good I like the intensity of your your motion in there okay and then we started moving the bottom parts than the water was shifting across the subject and that made it really interesting I think so once we started doing that looking good guys once we started doing that then we had really good motion and then I started getting different angles and I'm going to show you why this does or does not fit into the image that we're going to be working with so I'm going to pull up the shots of the water that I had shot a few days ago and we're going to try to drop this figure into that shot and it's probably not going to work because of the angle that I photographed her at for these images then I got even lower than the subject when we started taking some shots like that so that did it for that that set of images but now then we moved on to these images where I wanted to composite my subject into the dollhouse where she's actually inside of it and we have thie inside of the dollhouse being photographed with the water hitting the halfway line sort of up the wall so we did a couple of things to adjust here we went from this one where then told her to pull her arms out a little bit and we just started working with more movement in the water when we started photographing book pages so now we're getting into the stock images that were used so we use these stock images and what this is going to be four is the shot with her reading the book the book pages will be composited into the water and I really am grateful that we have this black fabric behind because the shot of the water that I got was so dark that this will blend a lot easier this is my favorite picture that we took I think we're just kind of ridiculous but I really really enjoyed how this book page looks so we did that quite a few times and then we started with the dollhouse and this is where things got really tricky because of the bubbles that were happening now there's no possible way that this size of a bubble is going to appear in you know a shot where somebody is normal size especially not these bubbles I mean that dear well I don't know where the bubbles went there they are that they were crazy looking it's just never ever going to actually appear how do we get rid of that never mind oh there we go so we kept going with that it was much better when the water was still and that was good because then we had eliminated the bubble issue but we still didn't have any sort of water kicking up so that might be something that we just sacrifice in this picture I feel like my exposure was it a little bit low through here so I wanted to pull that up so I took a siri's of images with the bottom room instead and then this was the one where I felt like it was really starting to come together so I took a few pictures of the room I don't know which one is in focus so that's something that we're going to take a look at when we get into photo shop if any of them work and then we photograph the house in the water so I just wanted the tip of the roof and this was that important switch of not being able to see the distinction of the roof versus the background so we changed it to a white background in the back and yet black underneath so on the white stood out and we shot that many times so I'll just sort of scroll through that very quickly then we can see all of those images so when we went back in and shot some of these houses who was it that said to flip it over uh casey said foot bit over so we flip the house over and we're thinking about having one of the houses that's popped up out of the ground and it's just floating in the background okay so all of that to set up this shop which one should we do first thie book okay so let's find the book which is going to be towards the end but before we start with different angles so one of these is going to be pretty close to what we want now there's the hair good I like those pieces of hair so we're definitely going to pull that in but I like this one for how low the book is and how much fill light is coming in so let's open not up into photo shop and okay now I feel really nervous at this because I just don't know what is going to happen but let's take a look at our background shots that I did the other day so those are in another folder down here and so in here I have my water shots I'm going to show you the progression of how I shot thes so I started off too underexposed and what I was looking for when I did photograph these images was I wanted to be down lower closer to the water so here are more just standing and looking at the water from where I wass but I wanted the background to be really minimal I wanted to have a really clear horizon line which is nearly impossible here in seattle so I looked and looked and this was where I could point my camera will be the least amount of mountains or buildings or anything like that in the background you can see this nice straight line happening so it took me a long time to take these pictures because my focus was kind of off and my shutter speed was too low sometimes and I couldn't get close enough to the water and that was my big problem so I shot these like a little baby in other words I wasn't getting in the water and then eventually I went back into the cozy little coffee shop and I sat there and I looked at my pictures and I said I'm going back so I ran back out to the water it took my shoes off and then I got in the water and started shooting where I was in the water because you can see here clearly I'm not in the water my subject can't be right here in the shot because then she'd be on land so I had to get into the point where you couldn't see where the waves breaking on the shore so that's not happened yet it's somewhere in here and it's toward the end of my shots where I really started to like what I was seeing but you can kind of tell the sky's pink back there it was like hassan was really fading fast so let's go through and these were this is where I was photographing all the little splashes in the water and stuff like that to see if I could use those see who is getting very blurry outside and then I got in the water there yeah and so some of these shots that's what I'm considering yet that was not good for my camera let's just say that so some of these air what I'm considering using and this one in particular I love I think that my focus is right about here which would be great for my subject yeah these were getting dark I like that one too how am I ever going to decide no go to the other side ok so we're going to start we know that we want one of these in the back but it's just a matter of figuring out where is my focal point what kind of image do I want here this one I really like I like the horizon line there I like how the water's moving it's not too choppy this one I think the water is too much of a wave in front I don't have to crop it pass that this one I think is really beautiful let's open this one sam agrees so we're gonna do it okay so now I'm just going to zoom in to see where my subject would fit and she's going to be right back here in this picture so if I zoom out we can see where about that issue that's kind it's back a little bit far for me well open it and we'll compare it with another shot just to see if I change my focal point I very well may not have I hardly remember ever even being in this water so we'll see we'll open up this one no that was the wave were not gonna open that one we're gonna open a different ones we'll try this one let's see where the water is in focus so they're roughly on this one's even further back so okay let's try this one we'll go with this and the first thing that I want to do is I want to start building out my frame before I worry about dropping things in there and when I say building out my frame I want to straighten it I want to add to the sky portion stuff like that so when I click my crop tool it will automatically bring up the big box around my canvas and now I can hover on the side of any corner and just start to rotate that okay so we'll rotate that looks good well maybe maybe I went too far pull it back a little bit there that's good okay and now with that crop tools I click it again we can pull up toe add some sky up talk there that way we're just going to give a little bit more atmosphere to the shot I tend to like to keep even my background proportions in the rule of thirds roughly so I would rather have this water line and halfway through the picture or maybe in the top third of the picture rather than being so close to the edge of the frame here so I like this and now I'm going to have to try to change that white strip that we just added in if I try to put clouds on top of this white strip that we've added then you're going to see that harsh line through the blending mode of however I'm blending the clouds so I either need to make all of this white or make this the same color as below so I'm going to create a new layer and I'm going to click on the brush tool going take my capacity up and now by holding alter or option I'm going teo select my eye dropper tool and I'm going to select a color just write in the sky there maybe just in this area and I'll continue to choose a new color as I move over since there's a grady it happening so I'm going to make my size even bigger but for some reason I always make it way too big and I'm just going teo paint okay now I'm painting too much I can see that and I'm okay with that because I can let your mask that off leader looks kind of cool though I don't know if you'll stick with it well I don't like it okay let's lie your basket I'm gonna I'm gonna do this the right way so I'm not going to wear a mask it at one hundred percent capacity instead I'm going to take that down into the fifty percent range and just lightly get rid of that out of the ocean line there so now we have kind of a hayes in the background the sky will stick and maybe we'll undo what we've just done so we have a really clear line back there but we'll see how it looks for now so at least I've got my frame built and let's go find our subject here she is so now we're going to have to use everything that we possibly know about blending somebody into an image the first thing that I want to do is by choosing my lasso tool I'm going to very generally just select what we need of our subject just like that and copy it coming and find our background shot and paste so now we're going to see perspective and we're going to see if the angle works if she's too big if she's too little and I can see right now that she's a bit too big because I shot her closer than the spot is in my final shots I'm going out to shrink her which I am totally okay with because as we talked about I'd rather shrink somebody then make them bigger so I'm glad that I shot it as close as I did but she needs to fit back here in this water so if I try to fit her there as she is really large then she kind of sits above the water so I need to shrink her down so to do that I can go toe edit free transform or command tea or control t and go ahead and shrink so now she's going to fit a little bit better into this segment of the water you can see now she's kind of sitting down in the water a little bit more okay I like that so now I'm going to zoom in here and I'm going to take a look to see if she's in the right spot if she needs to move it all all those little things that are kind of fun to play with we'll see what needs to happen and I would say that she's she's okay there for now we'll start to lay your mask see if we need to move her see what needs to happen so I'm going to choose a layer mask and what I know that I want to do is I definitely want to see what we can do about erasing the white out from behind her because like I said I didn't know if her head would intersect with the sky or with the waves and it's both it's half and half so you know well we picked one and we went with it so I'm going to see what tools going to help us out here to try to cut her out at least the hair from the background the rest can be layer masked and the rest can be later mask because it's a hard edge and arm and a dress and things that are pretty easy to cut along at least at the very least using the lasso tool so you can kind of section off pieces of her body but for right now we can start to blend at the water line we obviously want to get rid of the bottom of the pool so I'm going to choose the brush tool for that and I'm going to choose one hundred percent capacity hardness is all the way down and now I just want to start to a race to make sure that she's going to fit into our water there so we've got something happening we can see that we didn't erase all of it but I need to make my brush a little bit smaller to get in there I'm going to take the opacity down on my brush now so now that we've gotten rid of that hard edge from where I had cut her out now I want to go in with a lower opacity because it might be kind of cool to see her you know her dress kind of going in under the water just where it sits in there not in the shadow part because we would not be able to see her dress in the shadow of the little wrinkles in the water but definitely maybe right where it just headed down there that's pretty neat I think so let's go with that I like that for now and the water line matches up pretty well I think with that water then we might need to shrink again we might need to move slightly but we'll worry about that later so the thing that I'm really worried about is the hair and I'm worried every single time I had a victor about this it's just I don't know if it ever gets better but I still worry so what I want to do is choose the background eraser tool because that's the tool that we had the most luck with before when we were trying to do this and I'm just going to leave it on all the settings that we lost had so my tolerance is at sixty two percent my brush maybe could be a little smaller let's see what it does I'm nervous are you okay so now we're getting a sense of what this is doing I erased a little bit too much on her hair but I am utterly thrilled to see that piece of hair there being cut out I don't know about you guys were you holding your breath because I was like you know about this so I'm going to have to play with this a little bit I'm going to have to adjust my brush just slightly because I don't I want to start racing her hair I'm seeing ocean behind her head now that's why it's turning blue so let's step back and let's see what we can do maybe we'll take the tolerance down let's see what that does make the brush size smaller we're just going to play to see what's going on here that's not bad I'm not mad at it what do you think okay I like it e I don't like that so let's step back and I'm just going to do this to this side of the head where it's working really well so what I d'oh oh you guys just pretend like I didn't do that okay so what I always do when I'm editing is this exact process of saying I don't know if he's going to work let's try it okay no let's make an adjustment go back in history try it again try it again try it again and I'm always just checking to see what's going to work and what's not going to work so I like that our hairs coming out I like that I know that I can still see the backdrop there but that's not a really big deal I can erase that regularly as long as it's okay right around the hairs so I'm not too worried about that this area we definitely need to work on them and so I need to be a little bit more delicate with how I'm moving in between these hairs I don't want to get too close we'll get right along there do I have approval I will continue this but do you see anything glaring like right there which we're going to fix and like that don't do that either I'm just going to keep making my brush sly smaller so I could get in between the hair's a little bit better now but I'm not worried like I would be if I were using like the regular layer mask to do this because the layer mask is going to say I'm just going to raze everything and you don't have a choice in the matter but this is saying I'm still working for you I'm going to try to make your picture better it's all gonna be okay all right so maybe we'll get a little bit more in here a little bit more in there but in general I'm pretty happy with that I think that it's a pretty good cut and the only other thing that I would do now is to settle select and really section off this portion of her hair and with replace color select that white color and then change it to be darker and a little bit more blue so that have been blends in with the background really well so with the lasso tool going to select right through here maybe we will select this is well well come over here and we'll select this portion will get you in there too okay so we've selected the edges of her hair and I'll feather that just for good measure to make sure that it's going to be a nice soft transition in case we get any white parts that are on the edge so I'll take that feather slider up a bit less twenty twenty pixels or so and now I'm going to zoom in a lots and then I can really get my eye dropper tool on the white portions inside the hair I'm clicked on the actual layer not the layer mask that way I'm going to make my adjustment to the pixels that are actually there image adjustments replace color I'm going to try to select right on the white there so I don't really know how much I've selected how little because of what we're working with this so minuscule that this graph isn't really telling me very much so I'm just going to start to play with the hue saturation and lightness so I'm going to take the lightness down we can see that's working pretty well maybe take that fuzzing a slider up I like that and I'm changing the color which is hardly doing anything so instead of just guessing at what that's doing on my computer instead I'm just going to click that little box and see if we can play with the color here so I'm moving it up into the blue section so at least now I know that we're getting a blue color in there there we go on okay all right so I like her hair now I think that's pretty good now I'm going to continue cutting out the rest of her body which I'm going to do really quickly because I don't want to spend a ton of time trying to you know cut meticulously but this kind of process would take me I would say about thirty minutes of intense concentration so I'm not going to sit here and intensely concentrate on this for thirty minutes but I am going to start to a race pretty quickly through this area so then we can move on so again I'm just taking that hardness up taking my size down and I'm going to make sure that we can just cut along the edges here okay so what I want to do now is I could probably come in here with that background eraser tool and I could probably take care of a lot of this in terms of the cutting where there's contrast and stuff like that but I would rather not do that because it is very likely just going to give me a headache because it's not going to work perfectly and if it doesn't work perfectly then it might as well not work at all so I'm going to avoid hey that was going to get in around her elbow here I'm kind of shaving off some of her home which is okay and get rid of that okay now I just need to get in the nooks and crannies so I need to zoom in here a little bit and I can see that I should have maybe adjusted the hardness through here or just something that we can always go back in and do because I can paint that back in and then try one more time through there so I do this a lot where I don't really mind if I cut somebody skin off a little bit um and so I'll do that where it doesn't matter as much like on a straight arm or something like that and now I'm going to get in this little part right there okay so now we're coming over here and we're going to do the same thing hopes I raced a chunk of your dress tonight we'll get that back and up into the corner make the brush smaller I wish that there was a much faster way of doing this but alas creating your dream takes a long time I guess okay make a pair and get through that all right so I'm going to do it even faster on the other side because this will probably look just fine from far away this side I can't promise anything so we'll see I'm going to a race look it's probably gonna be better because I'm doing it really fast because that's just the story of my life when I went to college I wasn't woman high school I should say I was really bad at school but I tried like a trooper like I tried really hard everything and then I went to college I didn't try as hard and I did way better anybody else have that experience so I definitely have had that experience that's probably a terrible life lesson though so just ignore whatever I'm saying okay so now we're in the homestretch I'm going to make the smaller going to zoom in a little bit more and after this what we're going to focus on then is making sure that the water's blend then you can show the proportions right and then adding hair onto this image which hopefully are our background eraser tool will be kind to us again and allow that to happen really smoothly but we can't guarantee anything there okay I'm still glad though that we did the white because I think that that really helped us a lot I think that choosing a white background was the right thing to do there something her hair had a lot of contrast now I'm using my political lasso tool and I'm going to select the edge of this book just a section it off so that I can cut that out and that way I don't have to worry about about going along a straight edge with a circular brush because I could be really difficult I'm just going to feather this pixel not even a pixel back to the brush to will make it really big because now I can just go wherever I want like that okay so let's go back up here and we're really quickly just get rid of the white sheet back there which is very funny to me because I specifically said that it didn't matter if it was wrinkled or not with the background and obviously we could have used with a d wrinkled backdrop but you know it doesn't really matter that much so that's the good part okay so zoom out here let's just take a fresh look at our subject she is in some water and if we zoom in then we can see the believability aspect of that where the water line is hitting her body and that's really what people are looking for when they're looking for believability within an image so I don't know do you think she has to be shrunk a little bit yeah I think so too I tend to make people too big and then realize that I've made a fatal error so at this point shrinking her is no big deal I think she's still kind of fits in right there we'll go with that pleased good okay brush tour I'm just going to make sure that that little white spot isn't on her and it's not and that this is going away we still have hair sticking up all well and good okay now moving on from there I'm going to hit save on this

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