Since it was obviously not a straight out of camera shot, I said I would go through how I put this shot together:
So if you’re interested, read on!
What I wanted from this promo, was something I would like to put on a magazine cover. So it needed to be portrait, it needed to be in colour, it needed some extra space at the top for the magazine title, and most of the detail (like their faces) concentrated into a single area to leave space for magazines to cover it with text. So bearing that in mind, I took this photo:
Looks nothing like the finished image does it? I won’t go into some of the adjustment layers I used some for brightness, or saturation, etc…
Having taken that photo, I needed a new background (the light was quite nice on them, but the background left a little to be desired). So I chose this:
So, we have a digitally shot picture of the band, and a shot from Tarn Hows in the lake district taken on medium format black and white film with the oldest camera I’ve ever used. So, how to make them fit? I’m afraid I don’t have anything from the in between stages, so text will have to suffice.
Step 1 – Adjusting Perspective
Since the two shots were taken so differently, I decided to adjust the perspective on the background to make the layers look a little more seamless. This basically meant having the background selected, and in photoshop selecting: Edit > Transform > Perspective
I then pulled out the bottom corners to more effectively match perspective.
Step 2 – Colouring The Background
I added a layer with the blending mode “color” above the background. Sampling colours from the shot of the band, I painted about 4 different shades over the image (a blue for the sky, a browny colour for the path, and 2 shades of green). I wasn’t too precise about any of the colouring, and after I’d finished, I blurred the layer (I used a gaussian blur).
Step 3 – Mask Out The Hats
I know some people use the pen tool for their selections, others use a selection tool, but me? I use the old fashioned brush. Not too hard, but not too soft, starting out nice and big, and ending zoomed in to 3 or 400% with an 8px brush. It might be a little slower, but it’s also more accurate and gives the most convincing result I’ve been able to achieve.
At this point, you have a fully colour photo of the Hats, standing in this photo of Tarn Hows…
Step 4 – Merging Into The Landscape
Little things can go a long way. Using a curves adjustment layer with the curve pulled down to darken the tones, I painted in some shadows on the background with a soft brush and low opacity to build them up slowly. Mainly just around the feet a little, with touches between the feet and around the Hats.
Step 5 – The Effect
Once you have a complete photo, all that’s left is to do the intended effect, and do some finishing touches. The main effect here? With the photoshop file open on screen, I got out my digital camera, and took a photo of the screen. I then took that shot, and put it as a new layer, on top of the image. With the layer set to “overlay” I moved it, resized it, and even adjusted the perspective slightly. The pixels from the screen help introduce a cool texture, the way it’s not perfectly lined up introduces a cool blur, and the way the perspective of the overlay is slightly different to the main one underneath means that blur moves around in a cool way. Adding a layer mask and masking out faces, and a small amount elsewhere (make the hands slightly clearer, making it kind of fade down into the blur, making sure those red trousers aren’t too in your face with the blur layer, etc), and finishing up by toning shadows slightly blue, and highlights slightly orange (but not as far as hollywood takes this scheme), gives you the final shot, suitable for a magazine cover: