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Process of Creating a Composited Book Cover

Lesson 41 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Process of Creating a Composited Book Cover

Lesson 41 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

41. Process of Creating a Composited Book Cover


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

Process of Creating a Composited Book Cover

an example of that is this photo shoot that I did which was a speck shoot for the show true blood and we were on set with the producers who worked for this company that did spec shoots for tv shows we're on set and a whole series of things happened that was not so good for me and their confidence level in may the first thing that happened was my lens broke and I had to really quickly drive to the camera store get a lens and drive right back to the shoot a couple other things happened where one of the models that was cast just didn't really have the right look at all for what we're trying to do and I didn't know howto work around that so a couple things went wrong during the shoot but a lot of things went right so I ended up getting about twelve images altogether that I felt confident in and as we're looking through these images the client is saying things like like I can see his swimming shorts there you know like I can see the blue is that going to be a problem to which I very confide...

ntly say no I know I can fix that like if nothing else I know I can solve that problem for you and so that's what ended up happening over here where we solved that problem later and editing but there were other shots where they would say you know oh the color of his skin isn't right can you fix that and I would just say I'm not sure I don't know if I can fix that I never did end up fixing that in photo shop it just never quite came together the right way so those are the different things that I'm trying to be really honest about him trying to just let my client know on set what needs to happen some things aren't changeable but some things are this is an example of a book cover that I did and I want to go through this process than we first thing that happened was that they sent me a synopsis of the book so they said this is what the book is going to be about and what do you think and I really like when that happens because that means that I get to interpret something and I get to send my ideas of how I saw the story and so that's always really exciting and then I asked them once they've sent me the information I asked them what their expectations are so that's the one of the first things that I ever say to a client is just what do you expect for me what is it that you're hoping for that I need to give you because if I'm not going to deliver then I just want to know right now not later not in the future right now a time frame are we working within certain time constrictions because if so I'll need to see if that works with my schedule so in a couple of weeks I'm going to london potentially hopefully to shoot for a music artist and the big question was how much time do we have to do this and we had to really really work out a time frame that works and I let them know right away if it's passed this date that we end up doing it I cannot commit to this project and it's a hard thing to say that you don't ever want to say no because you know like I'll be somewhere else or I have this other thing to do but it's just so important because if they have a certain expectation of you for a time I think that is one of the number one things that's going to have them come back to ask for more work from you if you can get something done on time and deliver it in a really professional way so I just try to be really honest about time frames and constructions and things like that on and I email my clients immediately if I know I can't do something by a certain time and I think that that's worked out pretty well how many images air they expecting do they want re edits is there a due date and are there certain techniques that are required that maybe I don't have so you know if somebody says to me I need you to light something with four lights for this picture then I'm just going to say find somebody else because I'm not the right person for you but if they say I need you to do a levitation picture than I could do that I'm pretty confident I've got those skills I always request a budget and then I manage their expectations so this is the whole process that I go through once I know all of that information I say okay I can do this by october fifteenth I couldn't do this within the budget that you requested what I can't do is find this stock element or this location or something like that so they know right away all right so I want to talk now about understanding what changes need to be made when creating a composite image for a client and kind of a little bit about what that shoot might look like so here's an example of how the shoot started they emailed me they said we really like this picture that you did but it's too dark for us we want hints of color and this we want it to be we just wanna have a little bit different feel we don't want her to be such a victim in this picture so that's when we started working on what's wrong with this picture what do I need to fix to make it better better for them so the hand position they liked that they said be like where her hands are we like the general body position so keep that but they wanted a face to be more covered so that was something that I knew going into it I had to get some shots of hair and things like that it was too grungy said a word okay looking at it couldn't tell anymore s o they thought that it was a little bit too textured a little bit to dis factory to just had that grungy look to it and then they wanted more color on the character so what I did was I went out I went toe like marshals or something like that and I got a whole bunch of wardrobe based on different requests that they had made they said maybe a t shirt will be good maybe this would be good maybe that and then from that I let them know what I would be comfortable photographing so I you know obviously I'm not going to choose a shirt that's really modern with a pattern on it I don't shoot like that so I said I'd be happy to do a t shirt as long as it's kind of like drapey and has a solid color on it then I can work with that so I sent them all of these options for what the character might be wearing we decided that the character was meant to be a little too young to wear one of the slips up top so that's when we decided on a color t shirt they wanted purple and I just put some shorts on underneath her for the photo shoot so what this is I'm going to show you every single photo that I took during this photo shoot which I did a lot so what we've got here is kind of a funny situation we had had two guys helping me and when I do a photo shoot like this I pay everybody involved so that's probably a question that will come up and if I'm getting paid for a photo shoot up front than whoever's helping is getting paid for the photo shoot as well so I had my two friends standing in the back and we ended up drilling handles into the sides of these boards then they could hold the boards up behind to create that room within the water I photographed my subject and we were in really calm water here so we started the photo shoot in a much more calm way rather than being in the oceans so we started it in a little body of water we started by taking really calm pictures where the subject isn't really like emotion or anything and so this is how this image progressed and a lot of these pictures look very much the same mostly because I can't focus things you know my camera so I tried to make sure everything was actually in focus and then we did some she started tilting her head down and all of these little tiny minute details or things that we discussed well that I discussed with the client so they had said maybe do some where she's looking more away where she's looking more toward the camera or her fed faces down where she's looking up so that's kind of how we started moving through and then we did a couple actually they did not request thes bottom row images I just want to see if it would be cool or not but it really worlds on so I didn't go with that but then we got in the ocean getting in the ocean is not an easy thing to do with two very flimsy boards but we did it anyways it was fine and so I really problem here was we were in very shallow water because if we went in a deeper those boards were going to be gone like they were just going to be swept away so instead we stayed in shallow water and just like the wave come and I would shoot when the wave would come up to the boards on dh then my friends in the background had to just hold on to those boards and try to keep them steady this ended up being a lot better because she actually felt the motion of the water and so that allowed her to push against the boards and really kind of interact with the scene so we kept doing that we kept on going with the waves the water you can see what's going on here now I'm going to just skip through some of these because it just keeps going there we go okay so this was the first edit that I did down the bottom corner there and the first edit that I did was from the more serene water I added that one together we had the picture frame up on the up on the wall and that was all well and good so I sent that in and they said well maybe we'd prefer something with more choppy water and that was when I sent them all of the j pegs I had them all resized to be pretty small ijust attached them to multiple e mails and I said here are the j pegs so let me know which poses you prefer and things like that and I didn't mind because I was really too partial to any of them in particular I didn't have a strong feeling about one or the other it just depended on what the emotion they wanted so they sent me back this kind of like spreadsheet of what I need to dio tio fix everything up so I'm going kind of read this to you because it's really hard to see and I know that but but with this last option which was my composite that I had sent them they said it feels too quiet it feels too relaxed they said that they said can you swap in rushing water can you swap in a more intense facial expression or open eyes and then they said leave the picture frame out for now so that was that on then they gave me options of what they liked and then they said we like this face we like they wanted me to straighten her mouth in this because she was kind of smiling a little bit and the's air all things that they don't necessarily know that I could do that but they're hoping and if I say I can't do that then they probably just gone with another picture so it continued so that this was my initial picture that I had created and then I sort of swapped everything over and edited that one I made it a little bit brighter I added in the rushing water I changed the facial expression and so on so this continued on they asked for a couple more re edits and I added more hair on to the subject because they still wanted a little bit more of the face being covered and then I added even more hair because they wanted even more of the face covered and that was how it ended up so the thing that I did not do in this picture was the wallpaper they had said you know it's good how it is and then when the book came out there was wallpaper there on dh that's the kind of thing that sometimes I would like put a stipulation against but in this case I'm okay with that it's something pretty subtle in the image and I said okay um so that was that process so here were some of the decisions that were made in this process of creating for a client I shot from far away so I took all of my pictures pulled back on dh that way I could just crop it in because I didn't want to have the problem of coming up and like shooting so close that then I have to expand the frame and then the water isn't matching up been things like that so I made absolutely certain to do that and then I shot in the still water and the calm water just depending on what mood they wanted so I had each of those I wouldn't have to you know like settle for the ocean if they didn't you know like that or settle for the calm water so at least I had a couple options and then I added color in the wardrobe so I went in and I put that that shirt on her and then I have sort of popped that color a little bit more later because I knew that I could and then I shot on location okay these are some of the things that I think most people who composite images get told on a fairly regular basis one being that what you do is not photography I don't know if anybody else has heard that or if anybody sympathizes with this point of view another thing that a lot of people get told is that you shouldn't call yourself a photographer if you composite your images I hear this all the time and it is in my opinion one of the more ridiculous arguments that we can have among ourselves because who really cares what we call ourselves it has no impact on what the final piece of art is whatsoever so we have that argument and then we have you just put yourself your stuff together in photo shop so it's like people kind of don't understand the process that goes into this and then we have this other really awful thing which is you're ruining photography these are all things that I have definitely been told I pulled direct quote for this and the reason why I bring it up is because we as artists and as photographers shape the world of art we're the ones doing that for each other for other people who might not understand art and for ourselves so if we let people say this kind of thing and we say oh my gosh you're right I'm just a a digital manipulator whatever you want to call it then we're just basically saying you khun define us and I doesn't matter what I am it doesn't matter what I think I am all that matters is what label you want to put on me so the reason why talk about business the reason why I talk about marketing and all of that is because if we don't pursue that if we don't pursue our own way of sharing our images then that means that other people are simply going to tell us who to be and what to do and how to be that person and that is what I want I want I want to avoid at all costs so how you pursue your passion is always second toe why you pursue your passion this whole class has been on image compositing and yet I care very little about image compositing what I care about is your story and your personal voice in your expression and how you put that out there into the world and the fact is that image compositing is just simply a way of doing that I have no passion for image compositing I have passion for creating for expressing and for telling my story so speaking of telling a story this is one of my favorite quotes of all time it's a doctor who quote and it says in over nine hundred years of time and space I've never met anyone who wasn't important before think about how incredible that quote it yeah a typo don't worry milton work about how I'm going to stand over here now but I want to think about this quote and how amazing it is that every single person in the world is incredibly important and everybody has a story to tell every single person has something so unique about them that is just dying to get out and the moment you learn to express that in a way that other people can understand you're giving a gift to somebody else in the world and I've learned that it's really hard to accept that piece of advice for yourself to say I have a gift to give and somebody else needs that gift but the fact is that you have a gift and you have a gift and everybody has this thing that somebody else absolutely needs and you might not see it like that you might just be thinking but I just have this weird picture that I want to take and I just need to know how to composite it and okay I understand that but learning the technique and learning how to tell those stories and learning how to put yourself out there that is essentially telling other people it's okay to be yourself it's okay to be the person that you want to be and in doing so you're becoming a person you want to be so that's why I'm so passionate about storytelling image compositing all of those amazing things that that go into what we do is artists get into that but first we need to say something cues to folks who make these workshops possible for step a couple folks that help out brooke so let's uh let's talk about them yeah so one of the sponsors who have been using their lenses is ice and I found that always to be really interesting because when I was in film school my professors used to always say you know all we used back in the cic he's riz ice lenses and it was like this thing in my life like and so now I've been using zeiss lenses so that is one person I want to say thank you to second next one is three legged thing who are probably some of the coolest people in the world and also they provided the tripod that I've been using well I just love that they call their trifles like that was the brian I think it's what the hell of it on finally white house custom color who make me feel like family every time I'm with them and they're just such an amazing bunch of people and you know they create amazing products too they really are good good folks over there we want to say thank you to a couple of our partners here at creative life toe limelight provides all the lighting that we use in studio b and also just kind of helps us out a lot beautiful lighting from limelight and then also to adirama if you are looking for gear if you need something related to photography checkout at rama dot com and they are also one of our partners here so thank you very much to both drama and limelight big thank you to the creative live audience that is you guys at home for everything that you do to support us here and enable us to actually create these these really amazing experiences bringing people like brooke shading to you at home you support us both with your questions and your thoughts in the chat room and also by purchasing the workshops it really is something we exist only because of you so thank you very much and give yourself a round of applause back they're at home we have the creative life crew who are the greatest people in the world who make these events happen happens smoothly and happily you saw all the stuff that went into today brooke always makes it fun for us by giving us a lot of excitement and things to do so thank you to the crew they're amazing big things to these nine wonderful folks who made the way out here you're pretty fun people they're decent right you guys that have had a lot of fun if you want to join us here in the studio you can go to creative live dot com slash front row and check out upcoming opportunities but again thank you to everyone here for making the trip out you're all wonderful biggest things go tio this lady ray here she's one of my favorites on dh I've really was just kind of thrilled to be able to be your host today are these three days you do the best job at really making people excited about art and about being who they want to be and you do do that in this way that is not only just inspiring but also something that makes people feel like they can do it and that is that is a talent that is a skill of yours and we're always grateful for you for being here being part of the creative life family s o big thank you let me give you a get a world ride round of applause the way you are the best and we are ready to hear your kind of final thoughts for this for these yeah thanks

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 :)


Brooke has a wonderful way of not only making it all look so easy, but actually be easy. In a plain and down to earth manner, she can make both beginner and advanced pro comfortable with the material covered in this class. From a simple starting point to a polished post-production finished work of art, she takes us on a relaxed and joyous journey. I am a former professional commercial photographer returning to the art after a 30 year absence. When I left, there was no such thing as digital photography. Now, to be able to embrace such concepts and techniques as taught by Brooke, without any difficulty to me, says that this course provides great value and time well spent. Well done Brooke! Well done Creative Live!

Student Work