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Making a body swap

From: Family and Group Portraiture

Video: Making a body swap

As every photographer knows the more people you have in a group shot the more opportunity for you to capture a blink or funny expression or distracted little girl. I'm going to show you how to take care of that in Photoshop by doing body swaps. First thing I'm going to do is to float my photographs. I want to see both of them at the same time. Now in this photograph I've already done a little bit of work. I really liked the expression on the mom's face and the baby's face too.

Making a body swap

As every photographer knows the more people you have in a group shot the more opportunity for you to capture a blink or funny expression or distracted little girl. I'm going to show you how to take care of that in Photoshop by doing body swaps. First thing I'm going to do is to float my photographs. I want to see both of them at the same time. Now in this photograph I've already done a little bit of work. I really liked the expression on the mom's face and the baby's face too.

So you can see that I retouched a little bit, and also adjusted some levels. You want to retouching before you start doing your swapping. I'm going to select the Elliptical Marquee tool, and bring it over here to select mom and baby. Now I want this tool to be kind of big because I need extra room to maneuver when I get it into other photograph. I'll do a Command+C to copy it, and then come to this photograph where the little girl looks fantastic.

So I'm going to drop in the mom and the baby into this photograph. Let's take a look at that in the Layers. So you see it came in as a new layer. Rename that mom, just so I can kind of remember which one it is. Now I'm going to put a mask around this. Masks are great tools when you're doing composites in Photoshop. They allow you a lot of flexibility and the ability to correct mistakes that you might make. So I'll move this in the position.

Now as you can see it's kind of hard to see where she really should be. So I'm going to the layer with the mom on it, and I'll lower the opacity a little bit, just so that I can kind of see through it and arrange it so her eyes line up, and it's about there. Moved a little up so I'm taking the arrow key and going down and just pushing it there. I'll bring the opacity back up now that I've put it in position, and there it is. Now the nice thing about swapping the first photograph into this photograph is that I had the camera on a tripod and I was shooting in Burst Mode.

What that means is, that basically I was capturing photographs one right after each other, and they were from the same distance. So I don't have to worry about resizing the mom, making her bigger or smaller to fit this other photograph. It worked out very well. Now that I have her there I want to work a little bit on the mask, and masks basically allow you to see the layer beneath them. I'll go over here; I've got the foreground color as black, and go up and select the Brush tool.

I'll make sure that the Mode is Normal and the Opacity is 100%, and look how by brushing here, I am creating the mask that will allow the background to show through. Watch how his face appears. Here we go! And now her little girl is appearing too. Now I selected these photographs, because I knew I could place the mom and baby in this photograph without too much effort, but you definitely can see that there will need to be a little bit of finessing done down here where the baby has moved.

So let's just see what we get here, and there it is. So even though this isn't the baby's real foot from the photograph that I'm laying in here, it does look very natural. I can see here that it needs to be a little bit of work and this maybe a little tricky also. I'm going to make my brush a little smaller and the photograph a little bit bigger so I can really look at the detail of what I'm doing. Brush a little smaller.

Now it takes a little time to finesse this, and there are a number of different ways that you can do this with selections and masking. So after I finish here, I will do a little bit more finessing to make sure that everything looks just great. Let me show you a nice way to check your mask to see what exactly is being seen in the photograph. You will hit the Command and then click on the mask, and where the dancing ants are is where your mask is.

So I can see that I need to clean up a little bit here. Down below, let's take a closer look at that. So there is something amiss here. I'm just going to go ahead and get rid of it by painting the black on the mask. So let's take a look. This is what we started with and this is where we ended. So if you're shooting in Burst Mode and if you are on a tripod, you often will be able to take one body from one photograph and put it in another one so that the photographs can be saved.

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Family and Group Portraiture

17 video lessons · 15706 viewers

Natalie Fobes
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