When I find myself struggling creatively with the week’s theme for the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle, I almost always find myself coming back to composites. A composite is created essentially by combining several distinct images into one. For this particular assignment, that was done in Photoshop using an image of my Siberian retriever Hunter and a stock image of a colorful graffiti-covered wall from Pixabay.
Our assignment for week 42 (Wait–there are just 10 weeks left in the year?!) was to incorporate brick, whether in the form of a sidewalk, a wall, a building, or just a pile of bricks. For those who have never been to Pittsburgh, many of the city’s downtown neighborhoods are painted with vibrant murals done by local artists. I’ve always wanted to get a photo of Hunter in front of one, particularly those located along Penn Avenue in the Strip District, known to locals as the city’s historic market district. If you know Hunter, however, you know that’s probably not the smartest place to take him. The crowds of people swarming the sidewalks and his uneasiness with strangers isn’t the best combination. So, how did I get my desired shot? A composite, of course!
What made this a particularly easy composite is that the original image of Hunter was actually shot in front of a brick wall. Scaling Hunter to an appropriate size for the graffiti wall, then, was fairly simply since I was able to adjust the layer opacity just enough so that I could see the stock image’s brick size, and align them identically with those in Hunter’s, before returning the layer opacity to 100%.
The challenging part? Matching the shadows and depth of field. To add that hint of blur to the wall, I created a new layer in Photoshop, converted it to a smart object (so I can clean up the blur edges later), and applied a subtle iris blur filter. From there, I took the composite image into Lightroom for a few final tweaks to vibrance, contrast, highlights, and shadows.
To see the before-and-after, drag the slider from the left to right. You can get your own slider by installing the free WordPress plugin called Twenty20.
The Pet Photography Project 52 posts are part of a blog circle. To see what the next pawesome pet photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Brick,” start with I Got the Shot Photography, Northeast PA Pet Photographer. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle and you’ll eventually find your way back here.
- Pet Photography Project 52, Week 17: Low Key
- Featured Work: Ginger the Miniature Poodle on The Daily Dog Tag