Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding lighting, perspective, and camera angle to aid the composite, part of Photographing for Compositing in Photoshop.
- So when you're photographing a background plate for a composite, which is what I'm doing today, there are several things to keep in mind in order to get it to match up well with the other elements that you're going to add into the composite. So the first and most obvious thing is lighting. Now, we have an overcast sky today, I just really love those clouds up there, great texture in the sky. I'd much rather have a sky like this for a composite shot than just a blank blue sky; so much more action going on in the sky there. But that cloud cover is creating this soft, diffused lighting, and that's really important because when I photograph the model in the studio, I'm going to need to replicate that same soft, diffused lighting so I don't want hard, directional light in the studio because if you look at the way the light is falling on me, there's no hard shadows, there's no bright highlights so I need to make sure that when I photograph the model in the studio, I have to use that same kind of lighting flavor to get the shots to match up.
The other thing to keep in mind is perspective and angle of view. The angle of view that I'm going to shoot the scenes with, I need to replicate that in the studio as well to get them to match up. So most of my shots here, I'm going to be shooting either standing or kneeling down, so I'm gonna be using those same vantage points when I shoot the model in the studio. If I was going to shoot the model high up on a rock, if I was gonna get down low and shoot up on a rock, I would need to do the same sort of thing in the studio, put the model on a box or a ladder, or something like that and shoot up.
So those are the sort of things to keep in mind when you're working a location, specifically in the use of the composite where you know that the actor or the model has to go into a certain place. The other thing along the same lines is focus point. Where is your focus point gonna be in the scene? Because when you're photographing a background plate for a composite, you don't want to be focusing like you would in a standard landscape shot where you just want the whole scene in focus. Typically, you're focusing on a very specific point So whether you're going to have the models or the actors composited into the scene on a rock, or maybe you're gonna build a castle up on the rock, something like that, you need to figure out what is the focus point and keep that in mind.
And then, along with focus point, one other thing to keep in mind would be what is the focal length of the lens. You want to use that same focal length lens when you shoot the other elements, just to make sure they match up. If there's a slight difference in focal length, probably nobody's gonna notice, but if you're shooting one scene with a real wide-angle lens and another scene with a telephoto, there's gonna be differences in the way that the optics of those focal lengths render objects in the scene, and it could create a little bit of a visusal disconnect that just doesn't look right.
So I'm just gonna try to keep that in mind, and be very consistent with the focal lengths that I shoot with, take notes if I need to, but this is a good location. I'm really pleased with the possibilities here.
- Types of composites
- Using blend modes to create composites
- Creating an image library for compositing
- Photographing location elements
- Using props
- Photographing in the studio
- Composite projects