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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 12 of 31

Use Lightroom to Choose the Best Images

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

12. Use Lightroom to Choose the Best Images

Lesson Info

Use Lightroom to Choose the Best Images

So when I work through my images, I now have a bunch of images that I need to choose from to create my final piece. I like to use Lightroom, as I've shared before. Lightroom is fantastic for cataloging, for choosing, but also for doing some basic raw editing that you would then take into Photoshop. So the first part of what I wanna show you is how I would go through and start selecting out the images. Now, this is my personal preferred work flow, and it's not the ideal work flow for someone that is, for example, editing a wedding or a portrait session, because what I'm doing here is I am looking for the images, whereas if you're photographing and editing a wedding, you're actually wanting to edit the bulk of those images and get them out to your client. So this is me going through and working out, okay, which ones are the ones that I think I wanna use in my final composite? Now, I need to choose multiple images because when I get them into Photoshop, I might find that one works better ...

than the other. So I will go through, first of all, in thumbnail view and just scroll through, but I would then make my thumbnails bigger, so I can actually enlarge my thumbnails down the bottom here, get them to a point where there's about three in a row, and work through and rate the ones that I think are the keepers, or the ones that I think I might use. So going through now, we had these shots of our rabbit, and the first thing I need to consider for the rabbit shots that I need are the feet. The feet being the ones, the feet running. Now, before when I was working in my, basically my mock thing, the rabbit is running towards the camera. It's straight on. But now that I've put it all together, I feel like I want a shot where the rabbit is actually pointed more towards the direction of the middle. Now, I do have an image like that, and it's this one. However, the rabbit's the opposite direction so the rabbit's facing the wrong way, but that can easily be flipped over. So considering that I wanna turn the rabbit the other direction, I am going to select this one, and I just hit Increase Rating. When I work through my complete editing, I would usually use a keyboard, but I'm often, this graphics tablet is actually fantastic. It's a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, and it's an all-in-one computer, and I can sit in bed with this, not have anything else with me, and just have all of my buttons assigned on the side. So I've got this button assigned to increase the rating, which means that when I want to just see the one that I've starred, I can select over here my different options, and if I go to Rated, it chooses out the ones that I've actually clicked star on. So it's a very easy way of sifting through. I can go back to Filters Off and I can see everything. So if you've got one of these, even if you've got the tablet that works with the computer, it's a really good option to actually customize these buttons on the side and work out what are your most used shortcuts and actually customize it to that. And you can customize the buttons to different software, as well, so you can have different buttons for Photoshop and different buttons for Lightroom, which is a really good tool. So this rabbit here with his legs slightly on an angle, that's kinda the one that I'm heading towards, but I might find when I bring that into Photoshop that it's not, it doesn't work, or the angle doesn't work, so I'm going to star this one where the rabbit's a bit more straight on, as well. So scrolling down, then, I need a shot of the head. And again, because I'm wanting to give a slight angle to the rabbit, with my mock-up one, the rabbit was straight on, I'm now looking for one of the shots where the rabbit's head is slightly to the side. So there are a few good shots there. I want the rabbit's head up, as well. This one could work, so I'll star that. So I'm just looking through and working out which ones stand out to me that could possibly work. This one is quite a lot side on, but it might work, as well, so I'll star that one. And I'll also go back and star the original one that I used, because I know that it worked relatively well and I was pretty happy with that. So should my angled images not work the way that I want in Photoshop, I can go back in and go back to the original idea. Then scrolling though with the costume, working through, there's not as many images of this one because we were a lot more focused on what we were getting here. We're not working with moving people or animals or kids, so there's not as many images to choose from. I definitely need the one with the pocket watch, so I'll star that. And I need the hand shot, and looking through at these ones, I think, well, I might wanna zoom up and see a little bit more closely what they look like. So I can go to full screen and... That one I really like. I like the angle of the hand and the fingers, so I'll star that one. This one, not so much, because I'm not seeing as much of the hand, so I don't like that shot as much. Again, same thing. That one, perhaps. It's a fist. I'll star that one just in case I wanna use that, as well. So going back to thumbnail view, now we need to choose three or four of our Alice shots. Now, the thing that I remember from the shoot is that all of our early images weren't quite right. So it wasn't till towards the end of the shoot that we got to the images that I think will work best. So in my work flow, in tethering and photographing and connecting it all up, I already have a really good idea of what images I'm going to use, and so this process of now going through Lightroom is just to make sure that I've chosen the right images, to have a look see if I've got any other options that might work better. But yeah, my, in doing it as I shoot, I already have that strong idea of what I'm going to do. So I'm scrolling down, scrolling down, to get the main shots. So what I'm looking for here is the main image of Alice that I'm going to use. I can build around that and choose out some extra hair, with the dress up, and add to Alice, but I want that main shot. Scrolling down. And it was towards the end here that we had that really cute shot there that I like a lot. So I'll bring that up on screen. So that one I love. I love the face expression. I can see her hands. I can see her feet. The only thing that's missing is there's not really much of a whoosh of hair, but we took all those other photos that I can add. So because I'm pretty happy with that one, I'm going to star it, and then what I want is some extra hair. So I need to look for the extra hair on both sides. So I know if I go back to the thumbnail view and I scroll up, earlier on... Yeah, there were some shots where the wind was blowing up in the hair on this side of the hair, so I can use that for the hair on one side. Even though the face expression, everything else is not what we're going to keep, that piece of hair is what I want from that shot, so I star that. Go back to thumbnail view. See if there's any others. Even this one, just a nice little bit of wind-swept hair there to give that motion. So scrolling through. This one here, there's some nice hair coming out from the side that we can add that other bulk of hair that we photographed, so I'm going to star that one 'cause I like the awy the hair's spreading out on the right-hand side there, or her left. Scrolling through, looking looking looking. I actually really like the hair on here, and even though the angle wasn't quite right, it may be possible to use the hair from that shot, so I'll star that one. I really like the hair here, as well, because it's got that whoosh coming out from the side. So I'll photograph, or rate that one. So you can see I'm choosing quite a few of our Alice shots. Again, another one where that hair is whooshing out on the side. I may end up only using one of these with the hair, but it's good to have a few different options. Scrolling down. Now, the shots that I took of the hair by themselves... So we've got this one. And I'll star that. We've also got the hair dropping down, and we can use that, or we can even create a brush from that. I'm going to star this one because the hair is surrounded by the green. Okay. And then looking at the other shots of the hair here. That one's quite a good one, as well, so I'll star that. So now I've got all of my starred shots. I can go to Rated. You can see these are the images that I'm sort of set to work with in the scene. So I'll do the same thing if I'm creating a background plate, as well, going through and choosing out and starring the images I think that I'll use and then narrowing it down when I bring them into Photoshop. But the first thing that we need to put together is we need to go step by step in the image. So in a similar way that we actually photographed the image, we're going to begin editing the image and putting the rabbit together, putting the costume on the rabbit, putting Alice into the scene, adding the hair, and so forth. So building out and making sure that every aspect is perfect. So we need to put the rabbit together now. Before we do, I just wondered if there's any work flow questions. Otherwise I'll go on to the next part. I think, I mean, we can ask this again. Sure. You've said it multiple times, but for people who are just joining us, can you tell us again, people are very curious about the table that you're using. There's always a lotta curiosity about it. It is. So it is a... I'll turn it round. It is like a Cintiq, a Wacom Cintiq, but it is an all-in-one computer. So Wacom created this so that you don't have to cart around a computer separately. It runs Windows. I've got Windows 10 running on it. And so I can run Photoshop, Lightroom, whatever it is on this tablet and just work on that. So it's, this version is the top of the end one, the I-7 with the 16 gig of RAM, and it keeps me going and keeps me busy wherever I am, bed, the plane, wherever it is. So, yeah, it's, there's, I know there's not many people that have these, and there's quite a lotta curiosity when people see it, but highly recommend it. It means that I can be quite portable. Yeah. Great. So the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Great. Thank you. Yeah. All right, so, rabbit, our little rabbit. So my main goal here now is to see if I can create the image with him, or her, it was a her. I need to remember it was a her. With her slightly sideways. But her body still needs to be sorta straight on. So we've gotta make sure that everything works together. So now that I've changed which angle I want the rabbit, I need to make sure I can warp that costume on adequately. If that doesn't work, then we can always go back to the straight-on version that I had.

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.


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.

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!