Portrait Project: Changing a Background for Dramatic Effect

with Chris Orwig
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Portrait Project: Changing a Background for Dramatic Effect
Video duration: 0s 1h 10m Intermediate


In this course, the first in a series dedicated to creative portrait adjustments, Chris Orwig shows how to swap out the background of a portrait with something new. This technique is similar to photo illustration and can result in some really striking and visually interesting photographs. Chris begins in Camera Raw, where he creates multiple exposures of the original raw file and combines them in a PSD file, and then moves to Photoshop to mask the subject and copy the mask into the new background. In the second half of the course, he'll show you how to make the subject look at home in her new environment using Edge Glow; brightness, color, and tone adjustments; and lens flares.

Topics include:
  • Combining multiple exposures in one Photoshop file
  • Selecting and removing the subject from the background
  • Using masking to combine images together
  • Improving color, details, and tone


- Hello and welcome. My name is Chris Orwig and I'll be your host and guide in this course as we take a look at how we could work with a portrait. And how we can change the background of this portrait in order to increase the visual interest and to add some drama. For this project, think more photo illustration and less photo realism. In our project, we'll begin in Camera Raw. Inside of Camera Raw, we'll look at how we can create multiple exposures so that we can then combine those two exposures together. We'll examine how we can build or create a selection, which we can turn into a mask so that we can mask the subject into a new environment.

Once the two images are together, we'll focus in on some details. Here we'll look at how we can add an outer-edge glow, how we can change the brightness, and color and tone of the photograph. We'll also explore how we can add a subtle Lens Flare filter as well. Well we will be covering all of these topics and more, so without further delay, let's begin.

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