Strategy for Photoshop Composites

The Importance of Light: How to Make a Photo More Exciting - and Marketable

by Jim Zuckerman

Before (Spis Castle)
Before (Spis Castle)
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
Lighting is so important when you put pictures together in Photoshop. Here is an example of my thinking in this matter.

The photo at the right - Before (Spis Castle) - was taken in Slovakia, and the weather was very drab. It was lightly raining, and although I like the simplicity of the composition and the rich green, I thought some embellishment would make it a lot more exciting - and salable.

A few days after this picture was taken, I found an incredible field of red European poppies and, fortunately, the day was overcast.


After (Spis Castle)
After (Spis Castle)
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
I had seen fields of poppies lit by direct sunlight, but I knew I couldn't use that type of lighting for the castle shot. You can't combine a sunny foreground with a background taken in soft and even lighting.

The diffused light on the field of flowers was perfect to mesh with the castle taken in the rain, and you can see in the composite below that the lighting looks correct. I added a stormy sky because this, also, looks like it belongs here.

Notice also how I used the natural slope of the foreground grass to insert the flowers. I had taken many shots of the poppies with various focal lengths to make sure I had an image that would fit nicely into a new environment. In this case, the field was taken with a 24mm lens -- the same lens I used for the castle.


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Article by Jim Zuckerman. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.