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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 8 of 31

Setting up the Studio to Shoot with a Green Screen

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

8. Setting up the Studio to Shoot with a Green Screen

Lesson Info

Setting up the Studio to Shoot with a Green Screen

Now I'm very excited because we have our beautiful Alice model that has come into the studio and we will be photographing her running after our white rabbit. So before we start though, the studio setup has changed, and we need to make sure that all of our lighting is going to work for our next scene. So you can see I've got a green screen here, or a green backdrop, and a lot of the time, I find that people are scared of green. I talk to people online about compositing, and a lot of people use gray, or black, or white, and are worried that green is going to cause a spill, it's going to cause all these problems with green spill around the edges, and they've probably experimented with it and found that that's the case, but I have some tricks up my sleeve which take all of that away, and if we do all of the steps correctly, you won't have that issue of green spill. But the benefit of using green is it makes it very easy to cut out our subjects, particularly around the hair. Now our model, ...

our Alice model, she's got very beautiful, long hair that we're going to have blowing back in the wind, and I want all of that detail. I don't want to lose that in any way, so by shooting with her against the green, it means that we can keep all of that. So the setup here is slightly different to the black, very much the same with the rim lights pointing back at our subject. So the modifiers are the strip modifiers, pointing back to give that rim light around the edge, but we've got some strobes pointed at the green screen itself, and that is to light it so that it's got an even light. If I don't light that, it's still possible to actually use the green screen, but it does mean it's harder to extract the green out. So by lighting the green, it makes it easier in Photoshop to get rid of it later on. We've still got the same fill light, the big octabox there, and that's the same. So we want to match the rabbit in regards to the light that's around the rabbit, and the light that's on the front of the rabbit, but we want to shoot so that we can cut our subject out, hence the extra lighting equipment here. So we're using five lights, now it's possible to do this with two lights, or it's possible to do this outdoors. I was talking to some of the students here over the break about lighting and sometimes it can be a little bit daunting if you haven't used strobes before, and I will go through some of the techniques, and how we can freeze motion with the strobes, but you can remember that you can do this outside. I've got a big flip out green screen, it goes from green to blue, and I can flip it out, open it up, and I can use that on location in natural light. I also use LED, they're daylight balanced continuous lights, so I can put the same modifiers on them, but they stay on. So basically they're not flashing, they just stay on, so what you see is what you get. It's like putting suns in your studio, and you can light that way as well. So if the strobes are a bit too overwhelming for you, you're not too sure how to use them, keep in mind you can do the same technique with natural light too. So consider that when we're working with the lighting.

Class Description

Karen Alsop is known for creating beautiful fantasy worlds through her unique compositing techniques in Adobe® Lightroom® and Adobe® Photoshop®. Whether you're a wedding, portrait, landscape or commercial photographer, this class will show you how to create beautiful and distinctive images you can offer your clients to expand your business.  

Join us for this class, and you’ll learn how to: 

  • Shoot with your composite in mind: lighting, posing and angles.
  • Choose background and subject images that will work best in the composite.
  • Learn Adobe Lightroom and AdobePhotoshop techniques to create a fantastical atmosphere.

Karen’s emphasis on creativity and imagination in her process has helped her to make a product that competitors have a hard time recreating. Karen’s beautiful, intricate work is not simply the result of vast technical skill, but rather is the careful integration of a number of elements. She puts subjects at ease and inspires them with artful direction; incorporates them into fantasy landscapes using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and then effectively prices and markets the final product.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


Judy Mitschelen

I've found many great instructors at CreativeLive and Karen ranks right up there at the top! With her relaxed, thoughtful manner of presenting, I was immediately hooked. Her organization, clear explanations and demonstration, and on target response to questions are superb. This course covers an amazing range of skills and tricks of the trade. Whether you're interested in getting better shots to work with, better workflow at the computer, or better output at the end, Karen covers it all.

Endigo Rae

This was such an amazing class! Karen is so talented, inspiring, and such an amazing teacher. Very forthcoming and open about all of her techniques. I'm so looking forward to jumping into compositing, I feel like this is definitely something my soul desires to explore and Karen has made it so easy and accesible through her beautiful course! Thanks so much Karen and CreativeLive!


Karen is very talented and a great teacher and I enjoyed every minute of the course. But what I found to be the best part was seeing what an amazing person she is. The video of compositing the disabled children to make their dreams come true had me in tears. It has inspired me to use my talents to help others and not learn photo manipulation for self enjoyment. God bless you Karen.