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Composite Street Shot

Lesson 44 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

Composite Street Shot

Lesson 44 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

44. Composite Street Shot

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is about creating composite street shots for engagement photography.


  1. What is a composite shot?

    A composite shot is an image that is created by combining multiple images together in post-processing.

  2. What are the advantages of using composite shots?

    Using composite shots allows the photographer to have more control over the final image and create a scene that may not be possible to capture in a single shot.

  3. How can motion be added to a composite shot?

    Motion can be added to a composite shot by dragging the shutter speed and having moving subjects in the frame.

  4. How can lighting effects be added to a composite shot?

    Lighting effects can be added by using flash with gels or by spraying water in front of the lens and using a flash to make it appear as if the water is lit up.

  5. Why is it important to take a clean plate shot?

    Taking a clean plate shot without any subjects in the frame allows for easier removal of unwanted elements or the ability to swap them out later in post-processing.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Composite Street Shot

So we're going downtown now, and this is gonna be our first fun composite shot. Actually, this is our second composite shot. This is, like, the more advanced composite shot. We've got the camera on our tripod, we're losing light super quick, and when we get into post, I wanna show you guys what I had initially set up for, and then we were running late once again, so we had to go quick and get the shot, so this is just jumping right into it. Keep going. Right in that light right there. Perfect. Pause and go for the kiss. Hold it. Perfect. Go a little bit this way. Right there. This time, Ky, you're gonna hold his hand, walk across. I want you in the light, Ky, okay? So take two steps out in the street. I hate, I hate hate hate yelling over distances. I had so much to communicate and I can't get it across. I want them to be in the center walking towards me where the building is, like, directly behind them. I want her to take a step out in front with a hip kick. I want her to have his...

hand and look back towards this side. I want him to... Yelling that across a distance would just be a pointless game. So I just run across the street without getting hit. [Pye on Recording] You're gonna take... (distortion) Audio, 'cause of the wireless connection, our audio kind of dropped out here, so that's basically just what I'm saying for them, is this is what I want you guys to do, and you're gonna see it as we come back and we shoot the shot. So I'll come back. And we'll go right here. So now she sets up... [Pye on Recording] Perfect. Perfect. Just like that. Hold that. Perfect. That's exactly what I wanted. That took 30 seconds for me to go across, explain it, run back, and do it, as opposed to I don't know how long that would've taken for me to scream across cars to get that shot. [Pye on Recording] Go back. I noticed in camera, I don't know if you saw the exposure shift a little bit. I saw in camera that the highlight side was a little bit high, and I saw I had room on the shadow side. Like, there was still, there was a gap there, so I just bumped it down so I made sure that, you know, we're trying to go super fast. I just bumped it real quick, make sure I have all the information I need in the shot. Back up. Ky, can you do that one more time, and just, I want a little... I'll scrub through a little bit of this so we don't have to listen to the audio. Okay, so this is a really nice shot. I like the one previously. I like this one, too. I like that kinda whimsical kick to the hip, the way that the dress is pulling. And by the way, we didn't necessarily select this dress. We got out to the scene, we got out to the set, and we picked, like, a nice evening cocktail attire, like, as if they were going to a bar and a concert and stuff like that, downtown LA, that kind of a metropolitan look. The three dresses we had, she's, like, six foot two. She was taller than I am. So the three dresses that we had just didn't work. We could see her bum bum on all of them. So she had a dress. It was kind of a springtime dress. It didn't really fit. But we went with it 'cause that's what we had. And it looks pretty decent on these shots, actually. It looks, like, very kind of springtime LA. So what we did is we got this shot. This is basically gonna be our plate shot for this composite. And with this type of a composite, what I want you guys to start doing is to think, if my camera is stationary, I can sit there and add and subtract and do whatever I want with this entire scene with different elements and visualize it again in your head. Play that visualization game of what you're trying to accomplish. Shoot a bunch of frames. When you get into post, we're gonna piece this whole thing together. So watch. We go into this, and this is where I start directing. I actually asked the Creative Live crew to help me out. I'm gonna have three of them walk across the street going this way, three of them walking across the street coming towards me from the other side, and I'm gonna shoot them with motion. So for these shots, I have an ND filter on, and we're actually dragging the shutter at around one fifth, one tenth of a second, I think. We'll have to look at the settings when we get into the post side. But we're dragging out the shutter so that we can create motion in the frame. The goal is that we have a frozen couple because they held still, and that everybody else around them is moving. Cars moving, other things. So it's kinda like this moment in time that we've frozen, all right? Okay, we're gonna use our Creative Live, everybody that's on set, we're gonna use you for the next shot to actually be in the shot, okay? So if we wanna set all of our things down. Explain. We're gonna go all the way... So I did a couple different variations of just, like, a kiss, all these things. I'll do that so that I can pick my favorite one for the plate shot. Let's go three on this side, guys. Okay, we're gonna do this quick. Two on this side. We have about five minutes of light before we're done in this scene, 'cause, and that's all sunset you're telling me. It's going behind the buildings. Okay. We instruct it all. This side go across. Ryan and Ky, just stay there so we have a reference point. A reference point meaning, like, they are my reference in terms of how close we have people on this side, how close we have people on the other side, and all that kinda stuff. I just leave them there. I'm not gonna use those shots of them in it. I just need to know where they roughly are in the frame so we can kind of direct around it. Okay, now we have them start walking and we shoot these shots. Walk closer to Ryan and Ky, please. Closer, closer, closer. We actually queue one side. Queue left side, start walking. And then we queue the other side. Okay, now I have an issue. I set this up earlier in the day. We were, again, running 30 minutes late, right? Their position originally... I'm gonna move this. Their position originally was right here in the frame. Right there in the frame, the movement and the motion of these people was more exaggerated because they're closer to the lens, so a short drag with them moving close to the lens would create more motion. Because everything got pushed back, the motion here is not good. It's not enough. So we changed it up. Okay, that's not working. Let's switch it up. So instead, we see cars going by, and I'm like, I'm gonna use some of these cars. So we shoot with some of the cars. Okay, so here is, like, shots of motion with the cars, like, one fifth of a second, we get them going by. Okay, we get this car going by. Good, we shoot this. Now I start having people walk in front of the lens. Go this far... So he's walking across right now from the left side and he goes, can I, should I stop? And I'm like, no, just keep walking. And I just take a shot as he's going through, okay? He's close to the lens, and he's walking against, like, the lens. So the lens is facing this way. He's walking close and right through the frame, so his motion is exaggerated. So I go, perfect, that's the motion I want. I'm gonna start queuing people that are walking in the street just to keep walking through the frame, and we're gonna take more shots of these people as they're coming through the frame on each side. Okay, so we get that guy, get another car. We just shoot this for about maybe five minutes' worth of just people walking through. I don't think it was that long, actually. I think it was, like, a minute and a half. You know, if you look at the video, it's, like, two minutes, maybe. Okay, there's another guy, perfect. Okay. I'm now imagining, you know what'd be really cool is just adding another light effect to my shot. So here's what we do. Perfect. All right, let me get that. ND filter, slow down our shutter speed, right? Our filter water, we spray it right over the top of the lens. Problem, I don't have sunlight in front of me, so how am I gonna get that water to light up? Come in with that flash. Come into the lens more. Come to the side more. Neil has a flash with a CTO gel over it to simulate temperature of the sun if that were to come into the shot. We go right over the front element of the lens. Right here. And we pop shots directly in. [Pye on Recording] More. With a telephoto, you have to get it very close to the center. So with a wide angle lens, it can be out to the side. As you go telephoto, it's gotta get closer and closer to the center, so we're just getting it adjusted in. There we go. We start seeing it now, it start appearing. [Pye on Recording] More. Come in, like, all the way. There you go. There we go. [Pye on Recording] There we go. Okay? I make a final tweak and I say we're gonna light basically directly over the front so it kinda creates a nice shape in the bouquet effect. Hold it right just above the lens. Maybe like that, okay? Perfect. And then off to the side a little bit this way. Perfect. Bring it back a little bit. Right, like, right there. Perfect. Got it. And then one more right here. Just like that. That's the one that we end up using. I like the shape of it coming directly over the lens kind of just lighting it up. And notice that I don't care what's going on down here. It doesn't matter. My head, in my head of what this is gonna be is I'm pulling the cars, the people that went across the frame, I'm freezing them in the middle, I'm gonna use this piece across the top for the final kinda piece to kinda add interest to the shot. Okay. And guys, let me get one clean plate real quick with just the background. This is my CMA. My CMA, remember, cover my arse, my CMA. So my CMA is just to clear the shot for one frame. If there's any stragglers in the frame, you know, like, people that were just standing there throughout, I can take this last plate and I can just swap them out real quick. It's easier than cloning and that kinda stuff. So I'll just take one final thing with nobody in. Let's go over to the slides real quick. This was the shot. Cool? Is that kind of interesting? Like, creating, like, this did not exist, right? It could not possibly exist in one shot unless we had a crew of, like, 15 people that could, we were directing a movie set and queuing everything all at the same time. So instead we composite, and we're gonna put this together. We're actually gonna do this in post in the next segment to kinda show you how these things are pieced together.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work