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Dollhouse Shoot: Model in Water

Lesson 33 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Dollhouse Shoot: Model in Water

Lesson 33 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

33. Dollhouse Shoot: Model in Water


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Why Composite ?


Logic Checklist


What Not To Do When Compositing


Shooting for Composite


Changing Backgrounds and Light


Shoot: Simple Swaps Part 1


Lesson Info

Dollhouse Shoot: Model in Water

can we have you out here do you want to introduce yourself again everybody this is heather and we are going to be drowning her in the pool now but it is guaranteed to be the warmest pool ever because I got a facial when I looked into it before so we're going to start by figuring out what are settings are going to be on the camera and how we're going to shoot it angle wise and all of that so before I get you wet although it's going to be much nation and standing out here because I'm personally freezing but I'm going to go ahead and just get my camera set and I'm going to put it on the tripod so I'm gonna grab my dry bod and I'm going to grab my camera which there we go oh thank you and I'm going to get set like this so I think that my tripod actually needs to be a little bit lower and I'm going to try to shoot this almost level with the water but not below so obviously don't want to see the side of the pool and nothing inside the pool I need to be a little bit above so I think that will...

be pretty nice looks good from from my height oh thank you no peace will help them okay so I'll probably be shooting from about here down at this height because I'm on a fifty millimeter lens so I'm going to be back a little bit further and I'm just going to make sure that in my final image I don't have to make my subject bigger like we talked about so I don't want to get so far back that she's really little and then I have to make her bigger in the final composite now obviously be really bad thing that's the first thing that I'm thinking of and then I've got all my little boards down here to tell me exactly what I need to dio so okay we've got the tripod we've chosen a height we know the exposure we've got the lens okay we're going to focus on our subject I know that color we've already talked about the light is what we still need to determine the angle is matched with the height and the background is also what we still need to determine so background and light those are the two things that were going to start to play with here first I'm going to move this just out of the way here we're good and that's going to allow a little bit more window wait to come in it was just blocking slightly now who's going to kill me if we try to turn this power down on this light a lot of people so instead we're going teo hold something underneath it just a block it a little bit so what we're going to hold underneath that I don't know some sort of really easy to maneuver white piece of fabric like over there okay if you could turn it down then that's great but if not then you know we'll work with it so oh it's down it's down yeah okay good I was like not looking when it happened so it was very slight oh ok well let's see how it looks then because this is not cold water if that's where cold water I would get this done before she ever got in there as it is she's about to get in a bath so I don't feel so bad about it okay so you can step in now you're going to just as I understand step right on top of this awesome and now you can sit yeah you can let it sort of proof a little bit there looking good keep person that down for me okay alright that looks good so I'm going to actually do something here that this was something that we're just working on the fly so I didn't know if I would need to but I'm going to put this piece of fabric in the water with her because that white is just too much I mean I can see it so well and I need to just be able to see water in there so I'm actually gonna be sit on this all right so we're gonna put this black fabric in because I don't want to see this white fabric um at least wallets around her it's ok that it's around the edges it's good that it's in the background because that's where her hair is going to be but as for the rest oh yeah that looks so much better already I am very thrilled okay good so if we have any more black fabric than that will be good but if not then we will just make this work you look fantastic in there so what I'm going to have you do is probably neil um instead of sitting on your butt and actually if we can turn this piece of fabric in this way then we won't have any problem whatsoever perfect oh my gosh it's the warmest water I feel so good okay there you go perfect yes this is what I needed so I don't know if you guys can see that on the camera not but now instead of seeing white fabric because it reflects so much light we just sea water dark water essentially and I'm sorry I sprang out of the water now that's good because the water that I photographed was very dark it was a really sort of a dark and stormy evening it wasn't actually but it really felt like it was so dramatic I'm like freezing my legs off on these rocks and the water okay you look very nice thank you now we have ah book that we're going to bring out and that book is going to be what she's holding in this image but before I bother with props and all of that I'm just going to take a look at my camera and see what's going on now I can tell that the water could be a little bit higher in the pool so maybe if we can pour more water we will and if not then I'll try to work around that but I'm just going to see what everything is looking like so I'm going to move my tripod so I can see my subject and I can actually get a little closer I'm pulled back a little bit yeah is it flexible pool it is definitely um inflated so yeah one of us could hold it that might be great I see some water coming water's coming and then we'll see what needs to happen so I'm taking a look and the only thing that I need to make sure of is that I'm close enough that I can see over the edge and that I can get my whole subject in this shot okay so I'm going tio just frame this up and take a test shot now I can definitely see light coming from the window so that's a good thing I don't see any light over here and then also the good thing here is that we have this overhead light that's actually shifted this direction and because of that it's not filling as much on this side so I actually think the lighting situation might be really great so we're going to go with it for now and if it doesn't work then we will fix it later okay so let's just do a quick test shot here uh my settings I'm going to try to take down a little bit I'm at I s oh five hundred f three point five which as I mentioned is going to be pretty close to how have a shooting in the water the reason being I probably would have chosen a little bit of a higher f stop except that it was almost dark outside so I did what I had to do so here I am at one sixty for my shutter speed and now I'm going to take a shot now I'm just going to get my focus just in case everything is so perfect okay there we go got my focus at least roughly and a test shot okay now it's a bit dark I think that we need to make it a little bit brighter which is good because when we make it brighter that also means that the backgrounds going to be a little bit brighter that means that we can cut her hair out a little bit nicer but I'm liking what I see so far because especially in this area where it's darker on her hair there's so much separation because the light is hitting the background pretty evenly but she's blocking the light on her own body so that's good because it's dark on her light on the background we can probably cut that out a little bit nicer the other side is working pretty well too I think that the shadow ratio is pretty nice and we might try a bounce board in there for a couple shots just to see if that's going to help us out or not but we might not need it but can't hurt to have it so let's go ahead and pop that in there so now obviously she needs to pose a little bit differently and that's going to be with the book so is the book around anywhere oh it's up here thank you all right so we've got a book and yes more water if that's possible so we have a book and I'm going to rip some of these book pages out because that's what we're going to use to set in the water now with this pool that we have it's not big enough to necessarily have book pages all around her because they'll be hitting the edges so we'll photograph the book pages separately just in the center of the pool so we don't have to worry about them sort of pushing out touching something that isn't actually there in the ocean or whatever this water is that's out here so I'm going to start ripping some pages despite this being a beautiful book of this one's nice now I'm also thinking about color and if I can pull some color in here so this picture is pretty nice for that we've got some color and I'm going to choose pretend like I didn't do that I'm going to choose a couple more of these book pages to try to make this really stand out oh this is a good one this is a going on this is this is the lisa that's what this chip is sort of says okay wonderful aaron hunt who did the hair and makeup for our wonderful model today I wearing makeup dot com check her out she also made may look decent okay so I'm just choosing a couple book pages and it's really important to me that I have book pages that are different because I've run into the problem of using the same page too many times and then of course you have that big problem which is not really avoidable so I'm going to go ahead and take a look at my subject once more and I think that we're actually in a really good level now so that is perfect so now I'm just going to pose her and we're going to try for our first image I'm probably going to adjust my exposure a little bit make it a little bit brighter by lowering my shutter speed that way I don't have to worry about do you want more black behind your you oh yeah black behind if we can oh my gosh yes thank you you're probably good if you just yeah is it warm enough good but I like to hear who was at our last workshop that the pool was a little bit different in that frozen yeah it wass it was steaming at least but but yeah we've got nicer I guess since february all right so what I'm looking for on her is that we see this line of water touching her dress in her skin can you guys see where the highlight is picking up there from the white that is so important because the light would be coming from this side which means that we would see the water highlighted maurin that area and that specifically is exactly where I want to put um that that fading from the water here into the next one into the shot of the ocean what does that water khirbet babe okay all right so I'm going to start posing now and I want teo have her head evenly in the light so right now I'm getting some shadow on her face which you can see just around her mouth area so I'm going to have you reading this book say hey go hampton roads so why don't you grab onto that oh you're good let's say make it like that and then hold up just a little bit good and then close it a little bit yeah there we go and now sort of cook your head this way for me yeah there that's nice all right so let's take a look at how this is looking so I'm going to focus now and I'm going to focus on her face I'm not going to focus on the book so I'm going to make sure that I still have that focus just by choosing live you zooming in and getting that focal point exact and I'm going to take my shutter speed to about one twenty five instead of one sixty okay so I like where this is going it's gotten a little bit brighter much better so now we have more even light on our subject book looks beautiful I love that and that's something that I would definitely add more color to later so that there's a pop of color in this image that kind of matches were dressed a little bit and what I'm noticing is that white is kind of shadowy through here but that's okay because we don't need this so much and I can match that later on in photo shop where there's a variation in light and shadow but where it's touching her dress is not so easy to mimic later on in photo shop that is my point of concern so now all I need to dio figure out of her hair should be messed up at all if I should create more character here on things like that so first I'm going to fix her hands because hands are really important to me and they're kind of like this one thing that I noticed is right the very low the very front there's the kind of poking up of the fabric so are you not planning to use like anything visible below the water then probably not because the water so dark and so murky that I photographed that you just wouldn't see it but thank you for mentioning okay yeah I was just curious who that was it looks really close yes is very very close and that's why I was saying we need to get the water line up as high as we possibly can in this shot so that we don't have to worry so much about that but then you know aaron mentioned that we could just lower it like somebody can kind of push on it just a little bit so we might do that as an option in case we need to see a little bit more going through this image all right so let's make some adjustments so hands instead of being like this can you actually hold the bottom of the book and then hold the book up a little bit like that yeah just like that you can hold it down a little bit more from the top tilt there and then close it more they're great and then told your head great a little bit more yeah like that and now I'm going to come this up your hair okay you're coming to mess it up oh man if only this is how every shoot wass that's great like also try just to be safe till I get some movement in the water that's in the pool like I'm going hello yourself no no I don't do anything myself anymore kidding that looks great in the chat room who were crying about the poor book so because we tour pages out of it yeah so sad well there's a certain point that I can share my compassion could be sacrificed in the name of art yes it's a book from goodwill cost me six dollars that's great thank you how do you feel about um the shadow on her I guess camera on her left hand and if you were with how much it is yeah I'm going to add a reflector I decided that her face looks fine but I can't see anything over here so I'm going to pull that in in a second first though take another test shot to see if your hair is looking good and the light is okay and let's go ahead I'm just taking a quick look okay so I kind of like how this is going out like the hands a lot better now um and the only thing that now we're going over hair it's so cute so the only thing that I want to change now is giving her more shape in terms of I'm gonna have your elbows come out yeah just like that I know the books really heavy so if you need to put it down just let me know it's very heavy book okay so we've got another shot then of the elbows coming out which I think that I like a little bit better look we can replace the eyes now in this photo it would be great so one more thing let's do add that reflector and we might need to push this down a little bit more thank you always so on top of it great oh wow you know if I could be a full time creative life photographer I would be such a better photographer okay so no smile but you're looking perfect just as you are all right let's hold the book down a little bit lower cause I want to see your clavicle there great oh that's lovely okay so now I'm gonna take a look at this just up on the screen to see what's going on there like that we can see more of her neck I like how her hands are looking and we have a lot more film like coming in on the side now andan terms of this foreground aiken see where it's hitting her her dress so that's what I'm mostly concerned about so that was pretty good I'm just going to get some hair movement now because I want this to be like a storm is happening so I'm going to hear movement in the hair and movement in the water next so first thing now I'm going to set this on my ten second timer why don't I come over here and you can keep killing if you want but then don't feel anything and I'm just gonna grab this chair wait okay we don't have that much time so who wants to help me with the hair okay well let's dio doesn't matter everybody is good at here okay so I'm gonna have me stand toward the back just where I wass and grab the hair I would say as much as you can just like that and then you're just gonna do that and what I'm trying to avoid right now is an unbelievable shot so I don't want to have their going to like this on either side I wanted to go back like there's a wind coming in and the water's choppy and yes story so let's see whenever you are ready I will do my best to catch it I did it you did it now the other side okay from the front or back more back from the front there's one okay whenever you're ready oh yeah we got some hair there um no the hair was a little bit too high and I can always just transform that down with the work tool or just cut it out move it if I need teo so we'll go with that okay so now we've got this shot ow we need the choppy water who wants to chop the water okay now you're going to get wet but you just hold that pose your fingers are hurting I am sure of it okay so I would say just like oh sorry that was way more than talking with are you if we do this it'll match your shot it might try it see if that whoa you guys this's like such a team effort I love it so much oh my gosh let's take a look at that oh get that are you guys just thrilled as I am so excited oh my god let's just do it again good now we have a couple options for that oh my gosh I'm so excited can I have one more favor then so the water was kind of like coming at me when I took that blank shots so can we do some from behind as well yeah maybe each of you on either side and then we still have the white in the background no I'm just like does I'm really going overboard here I think I got that one okay I like it okay so thank you guys I will need you again but not yet so what I want to do is I would like to shoot this from a couple different angles now and I'm going to do that really quick because now we've got the pattern down we know what needs to be done and I don't know if I'm going to be able to match this to my final image so I would like to I'm just going to his hand held just for the sake of time right now so I know it was like no so I'm going to do it hand held and let's just try to get a lot of things going on at once okay sorry I need you guys back up here to move that water again for for you from angie and brenda's do you ever use hair dryers or like use the reflectors a fan to move pairs I use well anything confined really that's aboard teo sometimes do that but usually I just rely on flicking but you know if I have somebody with me and they feel a little left out sometimes don't do the board but it's not terribly common for me okay so I'm just going to get one from a little bit higher up and actually need to get my focus so sorry about that but I will be ready in just a sack it's really warm rain so good we're all jumping in there after this for lunch okay so let's get that water moving now oh oh I got that splash that was really cool okay so we've got a shot from above and now come on you guys move her hair for me okay you can each do it at the same time I'll count you down so we're just doing the same process that we just did but really fast and all over again at a different angle okay now one two three oh that was good not bad cut the hair off but still not bad so let's do it once more and I'll just tilt up a little bit here one two three cool oh yeah that's great so we've got some hair motion now and I think that does it for all the shots that we need for that now maybe I'll get one real low unless I am really don't have any time for this okay great so I'm going to re focus again oh yeah by the way aaron andthe ideas you're never sitting down again okay yeah so that's why I need more water okay all right got that all right now let's get some hair down here okay one two three oh you guys were good on that one but it was really good okay so we've got some hair very good all right so that was a really good run just some creepy men in the background all right so now I'm going to actually well this was poor planning but you know I'll photograph the next one with you first and we'll do with the dollhouse all later instead of having to switch them in and out and stuff like that okay so now I'm going to shoot you for the next um set of images here so I might take your book and I'm shooting these book pages later don't let me forget I will believe you all if I forget so now I want to go ahead and photograph you a little bit more wet a little bit more wild because in this shot this is where she's going to be in the room that's flooding for this one I need more motion I need more angst like oh my gosh my house just flooded what am I going to do I'm dying that kind of thing okay so let's just yeah I'm doing a very poor job of this yeah you can stop yourself it was really good okay I'm just gonna do a little bit more there to make you there we go now it's all matted down okay now I'm going to add some character to this sorry poked you in the eye and I'm going tio what your curls and let your hair coming front of your face a little bit so you're just like you are giving up your like wife it's not working out this is the end okay sorry you're good you're beautiful okay so what I'm going to do is I'm going to make a decision because I haven't shot the background shot yet that's something that I did the first shot I had already shot the water so I had to match that in this case we can do whatever we want with angle and height of the camera and then match that later so if I want to see her looking down more like the angle in the room is looking down at the room I could do that if I wanted to get right at the water's level I could do that so that something now that I'm going to make that decision on oh my gosh you look so sad so okay so I'm going to try to get pretty close to her and get down more at the level here so who wants to help but just holding the front of the pool down a little bit anybody who wants to feel free and let's see now we want a slightly different pose um if we if we had a really big pool I'd probably have her lay down and sort of doing ophelia style picture but I think that maybe we'll have you just sort of can you sink down any more like if you do a little straddle in there or something yeah there we go that's um can you do like this like that yeah like that there we go that's perfect okay so now that's good because now the water's coming up a lot higher and I want youto have your arms see I haven't thought this one through clearly I want you to have your arms um let's see I need to be able to see them so my problem here that I'm working through is if she has her arms out then they'll be hitting the pool and that just can't happen in here so instead we don't have one sitting in front of you good and you can have that like kind of going yes just like that and then the other one maybe on your throat here and then you'll be reaching up and I kind of have to go like that so she'll be gasping for air because she's about to just let go and go under the water and yes so I'm gonna have you arch your back a little bit more yeah just like that and then head up good just like that now something we haven't thought of is what is the light going to be like inside the dollhouse the lights probably not going to come directly from overhead given that there is no light coming from overhead inside the dollhouse you can relax for a moment because I'm gonna talk through this so because of that because we have the dollhouse and the light can only come from aside then we need to decide where it's going to come from so let's do something a little bit ambitious here I'm going to show you the dollhouse here and the problem that we have with this doll houses that we need to make a decision about which room she's going to be in so if she's going to be in the attic that might work out because then we have a little opening here for light to come down so we could do overhead light in this dollhouse now if she's in one of these rooms then light would have to be coming from the window in the back of the room so do we do backlight do we do overhead light do we do frontal light how are we going to do this do we photograph away up in the water because we have that option two that really cool can we put that lamp in the water is not going to like break it what would decide later I don't want to turn it on I just see we'll see we'll just let him get comfortable over there with this idea so I'm going teo I'm gonna try first shooting her in here in the top portion of the dollhouse and the reason is twofold I don't know if the back lights going to work for me because I'm not used to backlighting things so I'd rather try here first I don't like having a light source in my picture so I don't like to shoot a window or a lamp or something like that so this one doesn't have any windows in it it doesn't we don't have that problem here so if I shoot her up here than I need to worry about top in frontal light which we have here and I don't have to worry about a back white source so let's try that because very heavy dollhouse so knowing that I'm going to get level with her and I'm keeping in mind the light it's coming from above a little bit from the side so maybe I'll turn her a little bit we'll try to work on that that would be actually I kind of like it behind a little bit more behind I know you know what from the front is yeah well swing it just a little bit you're good beautiful yeah that's great and then we'll definitely phil on this one because there's no reason for the light to be just coming from the side of her okay so let's see what we can do we are going to get the feel light you know your pose and it looks really good now your left arm pull that in towards your body there we go a little bit more there okay fantastic I actually this is going to sound weird but I love an angle where I look up somebody's nose because I just love the jaw line and and I love how much of a struggle that gives so that's something that I'm really interested in doing here and I'm let's see a little bit further there that's fantastic all right so I'm going to take a test shot good alright everybody can relax for a moment there the good thing about this lighting is that it's pretty even lighting there isn't a ton of shadow that we're working with here it's not like it's not like we have to worry about you know like a light coming in here light hitting her from behind it's pretty even and I can change that a lot easier and photo shop I actually really like her ring in this picture so that's kind of cool I like that because it's almost like I'm married and I don't know where my husband is and now I'm gonna die okay so I like the hair on dh now the only thing is that I do want to add some motion to the shot am I going to dark here we like ok good so because I wasn't going to stop you okay so can you guys hold down with one hand and sort of like shake it with the other to make some motion and then I think that will be our shop I'm going tio good details she's like I am very personally invested in this I'm sorry I didn't warn you that I was going to do that I just watch the water all over ok needs more there okay okay you're good okay so I'm going to get my focus again and I'm gonna make sure you guys are awesome in front now I'm just going toe make tripoli sure that I'm in focus because I really like this shot yeah that's good way are in focus okay just bring your elbow in a little bit there you go okay we've got a shot I think we could move the water a little bit more if that's possible there we go much better fantastic so I'm going to take a look at that and we'll see how that's going so it was the first one and there's the second so now we've got some water movement I really like how it's interacting with her arm you can actually see the highlight on her arm of the water yeah I like and I think when we get in there and look at details will be able to see the water droplets on her a little bit more all right so that's good and the hair is on the white so that's also good because we have a white interior of our house so now that I have those two shots I think now all I really need to do is photograph the extras

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Swapping Hand
Practice Files - Levitation
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Logan Fox

I'm so thrilled to have come across this course and to have been introduced to Brooke Shaden. As a bit of background I do photography as a hobby, and always had an appetite to composite my work. It's only after watching this course that I can finally put a name to a craft that I love, that being 'fine art photography'. Through my own personal journey I've read various books, followed online tutorials both paid and free. When I came across this course I did hesitate. I wondered 'is it going to teach me anything new'... 'would the standard of the course be up to scratch'. Well, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is by far is one of the best courses I've come across to date. As a solo photographer myself I've found it difficult at times to be both photographer and subject at the same time. From the outset what became clear was that Brooke is just like me in this respect which made the course so 'relevant' to what I do. Brooke shows throughout the course what can be achieved with a little planning and some creative approaches to situations that can be difficult to pull off when on your own. She is such a joy to watch and listen to, I loved her sense of humor and great how the audience were involved in some of the shoots. All I can say is, if you're in to photography and interested in compositing your work, you should give this a go, you wont regret it!


I'd like to show my gratitude and gratefulness to Ms Shaden and other wonderful people at CreativeLIVE for sharing your vast knowledge without making a fuss. Not everybody has a super computer and a top-notch camera, not everyone has a studio to work in and not everyone needs to know everything as perfectly as some instructors and professionals do. I, for one, have gained so much insight and have been intrigued by Ms Shaden's present and past lessons, she makes the most difficult and surreal subjects unfold so easily and effortlessly. Ms Shaden has made me believe no matter where I be and no matter what i have, as long as i have a good story to tell, and the right vision, I should be able to handle it with a working camera and any version of Photoshop. Unlike many other instructors who kill us every 5 minutes to buy their flashes or gear and support this or that company and agency, Ms Shaden has spent the whole time teaching and teaching and teaching and I am sorry I cannot be there to thank you in person, but you, Ms Shaden, are awesome and nobody can unawesome you :)


I have been a huge fan of Brooke's work since the beginning of the flickr days. I'm so excited to see her in her element on CL. So many years ago i was so very interested in learning and creating and CL makes this possible now. A lot of my work has been inspired by Brooke's dark yet beautiful work style and i am super inspired to create some using her advice. I cannot wait to delve deeper into this world i have been waiting so long to indulge in it and now i will even more so than i have the last 3 years. Thank you Brooke and CL ! =) Sarina Gito Photography (

Student Work