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Shoot: Stock for Composites

Lesson 12 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Shoot: Stock for Composites

Lesson 12 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

12. Shoot: Stock for Composites


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

Shoot: Stock for Composites

we're going to talk a little bit about photographing stock now with lights and or with without lights it depends so why don't we move this just over here and then we'll use that as sort of more natural light I was told this is an h and I light do we know what it stands for yet how to pronounce it its hide grange um medium iodide I don't rememberthe gauge party but a lot more than I knew it means daylight balance yeah yeah okay so this is our daylight now that we're going to be using and what I want to do is photograph a couple of things here but I'm trying to photograph them for something so let's see first thing let's go ahead and go back to the slide show and take a look at that final image of the slide show with the backlight which we don't really need to see because we all know what back writing looks like but let's say that we wanted to add something in the sky and in the sky we were going to have something that matched the birds in that picture so let's see if we can move through...

too the last one come on they're they're okay so we're going to move to this one and let's try to lighten object for the scene should be pretty simple I'm gonna turn this light on them and try to do it myself no not you can do it it's on the base okay so what object should be flying through the sky let's pick something from name yes come on up I like it I think this is gonna be great okay so what I want to try to do here though is matched this white and matching light is a lot more it's not just about okay the lights behind so we need to put a light behind her it's about how are we exposing for this shot as well these birds are silhouettes so we just want to make a silhouette to make sure that she fits into the shop so I could do that because I can move this light don't stare at it thank you don't don't look at it okay now let's see you fly through the air I want a really good bird pose okay don't don't let me down okay I'm gonna step right over here let's see here we should be profiled to me maybe like really like legs in the air you know just you know we're gonna go for it now I don't know if I can actually get back far enough but let's just take a stab at it okay whenever you're ready on we're just going to test this time so no pressure good wahoo okay all right so now now is when I would start to adjust my exposure so obviously I'm exposing for her so let's go ahead and dark in that down I'm just scrolling through here with my shutter speed so we're going to make a faster shutter speed but see how it goes once more ok oh yeah that's really good actually ha ha this is giver getting somewhere no thank you okay once more that's good that's good okay so what we're getting here is a rim light on her and the reason why I want a rim light is because that will allow me to cut her out but she is also so dark that I can then stick her into that shot you can still see some fill light we have natural light coming from the windows which is really good because I can darken that later if I want teo if I don't want to that is alright as well thank you for being a bird really appreciate that so now we're going to photograph some more stock and when I say stock I mean real stock like things that you would want to use in a final image at some point so we're going to bring out some incense and we're going to like the incense and photograph some smoke because smoke is one of those really really good things to lighten multiple ways so we could light it with just a backdrop in the end the sunlight coming in or we could wait it dynamically with light hitting it from either side or one side or the other side now I'm going tio what see we'll do we'll do both sides we'll have light coming in from either side and I'll shoot it like a normal person from right here instead of being in the corner of the room so let's go ahead and do that we'll get both lights turned on and the reason why I'm doing that is because it's essentially going to be even light but it's going to light the smoke up so much that the background world will appear a little bit darker I want the background to be dark when I'm shooting stock what I'm thinking about is is that stock image contrast ing enough with the background and is it lit enough I generally when I photograph stock wanted to be really even pretty much with the white because that's how I shoot so I don't want a light all of my stock images with a harsh light from this side when all of my images are overcast lighting that wouldn't really make sense but I think that if we hit it with two lights and that'll be pretty good pretty even light and we'll try to keep it off the background as much as we can so who has the incense so I see the incense okay perfect yeah always always shoot your stock like you never use alternate sources for stock images I'm mostly shoot my own stock I try tio there are instances where I don't one great example that we just saw in the last presentation is that picture with thank you I've never used incense before so one example is with the the girl with the blue dress with the hole in the wall I couldn't find a hole in the wall and in fact I never did find a hole in the wall but I found on a stock site an image of a hole that was like kind of punched through kind of so there was still a wall there was just indented and so I cut out the inside of that wall and use that the edges of it so in in cases like that where I've been looking and looking oh thank you oh wow all right so I've been where in cases where I've been looking a lot and I can't find it then I'm happy to purchase stock but I always make sure that I pay money for it because I just feel better that way in terms of licensing later like I paid for this it's okay now that stock about where you find images I liken stuff but let's go ahead and shoot this and then we can take those questions later great okay I'm gonna need the special I know it I know it looks great okay so I'm going to shoot this and know my goal here is to keep the white off of the background a little bit so we'll see how this looks and if we need to adjust the light then we will absolutely do that so so we'll take the first shot now I'm going to need to adjust my light a little bit here but generally yeah that should look pretty good so I think that the background could stand to be darker in this case so we could light it differently or we could just put that black backdrop in the background which would also be really really good so let's go ahead and put that foam core in the background again I'm gonna move a little bit closer and the goal here is to keep everything lit that were photographing the incense lit as much as possible that way it's lit from all sides you can't tell that it was lit from anyone direction but at the same time we have this really dark background that the light isn't affecting as much okay I'm gonna focus again good okay so now we have a pretty good situation happening here I think that we might be blocking the light slightly with the board on that side ah yes oh yeah there we go much better we'll take one more shot good okay so we've got a good amount of smoke coming out there and I think that I could stand teo take my shutter speed up a little bit just to really freeze that moshe in case that's what we want but I have a very special something that I'm photographing this for in our final image on day three I'll be using this in some capacity for a shot that we're going to do in a very extreme composite on but in this case I think that's pretty good in terms of the background I would just get a couple more smoke curls and stuff like that so I kind of missed that so it's just quickly while we're here oh I felt it I think it curled a lot there okay and then I would also do this on a white backdrop just to see oh no okay all right well now I'm just shooting it to shoot it because it looks really cool everywhere uh but let's go ahead and flip it to the white background now and the kind of thing with this it's so awesome because you could just do this ah whole day like invite a friend over make a day of it switched the background when you need teo and see what happens okay so now we have it on a white background which I am kind of missing the point of it here cutting off the incense but the smoke itself looks really cool so we've got some smoke to play with now white background black background and that means that we can more easily use this in any type of shop so for using a blending mode let's say we can more easily get rid of the background with a blending mode if we're let's see using a selection tool will have an easier time separating that from the background and if this incense wasn't lit then we wouldn't be able to see it at all in the white backdrop it just wouldn't happen it wouldn't be bright enough so that's something that I want to pay very very careful its engine tio when it comes tio photographing stock making sure it separates from the background but also making sure that we have enough white on it that it stands out there are a lot of other things that I would shoot as stock like if I was going to just do a few things at once I would probably get dresses and I would probably photograph dresses on you know some simple backdrop with lots of different lighting techniques and stuff like that then I could always add more dress onto an image and this goes back to talking about how I would much prefer to shoot neutral dresses than something with a lot of complication to it because then you can have stock images of dresses and easily add on to the dress so it's a good example of that yeah we can be done with those they really liked him and smells very nice in here now it doesn't it okay do we have any questions jonathan eleanor and this was something that a couple other people have also mentioned joshua feniger and others as well how do you do all this yourself because you usually do shoot by yourself so with all of this can you just talk a little bit about the process of shooting by yourself yeah definitely and like I said this isn't something that I would normally do by myself it's not I mean I would also wouldn't do it with anybody else either I just try to avoid lights altogether but when I do use lights specifically for stock specifically for creating backlight I just make it a fun day I guess I um you know I try not to work with equipment that's too big I don't know own a soft box I don't know know how to set up a soft box I don't know how to do many things like that so I just tried to use really practical elements around my house like lamps and you know light bulbs and stuff like that anything that I can find and then I get really creative with like because build forts right like everybody does that all the time so I used my fort building skills and I intend to rig things up like that with rope and hair things and and stuff like that and I I put my chairs on my tables and my sofa on my chair and I don't know lots of things and and just try to create that different backdrops and lighting setups and and fun things like that and andi I invite my friends out to we have a a tendency to just go to the forest and play with each other and see what happens and on dh so I get a little bit of help like that too I am not good it setting up lights so I don't claim to be good at setting up lights so yeah so that's what I do great now we have a lot of questions about stock and we kind of talked about this a little bit about using stock about finding it do you let's see jules on four others my pants or letter what is brooke using for clouds creating artificial clouds or photographing clouds stock photo clouds can talk a little about that yeah definitely there are a lot of places that will give away clouds and that's really really nice but my problem with that typically is that you might not be able to see the horizon line kind of like we talked about before I shoot clouds just wherever I go I'm always shooting clouds like well we had a very sad time in seattle so far there's been no clouds whatsoever for me but anywhere I go anywhere I travel I try to shoot the clouds and what I'm trying to avoid is like traffic lights street lamps trees stuff like that in the image because they tend to jump up into the clouds and then you have to clone it out or you just can't use it because of that so when I'm shooting clouds I'm looking for clouds that are dynamic that don't just look the same as all the other clouds stock that I have I'm looking for ah clear horizon line in the image trying to get up to a higher elevation of possible when I shoot my clouds um and then I usually shoot them and focus to sew something that you might think with compositing clouds in is that if the clouds were that far in the distance and they have to be out of focus but I suit shoot all my clouds in focus and then just try to blur them later when I get into photo shop because if for some reason I've blurted too much that always makes me really nervous with clouds or just stock images if you have something that you know is going to be out of focus in a picture I see still if I'm not shooting it at the time of everything else that I'll still shoot it in focus and then blurt later so an example of that would be if I had somebody this lamp is my subject and I'm focused on my lamp and that's all good but then I wanna have like a butterfly in the foreground or something if I'm shooting that all it once and I would just move the butterfly to the foreground take a picture of it and let it be out of focus because that's where it naturally would be out of focus but if I have to shoot it separately and I'm shooting it just on on you know seamless backdrop later on that I'm just going to shoot it and focus and alert leader that's only distinction that I make there really so many different kinds of colors so what blur are you using I usually is gaussian blur or box blur those the two that I typically go to on dh then I apply motion blur to a lot of things so that's a whole separate matter just for stylization mostly but but yeah I tryto try to stick to box blur golfing learned that's just cause I've had the best luck with that really but I haven't explored all the blur's in depth question from irene alexia and actually eleven other people also wanted to know the answer this question when you do use stock backgrounds from stock company what do you look for in the background to match the subject one of the biggest things that you're using to choose one backer and over another yeah that's a great question well and so background specifically about background but I'm going to extend it to just stock in general like we had a uh great question and I'm looking for who it's from so I apologize if I can't find it quickly they were asking about about like exotic kisses and chaos and twelve other people also wanted to know talking about an exotic animal bird or something like that you just you can't find in your in your genital area and so you have to actually use stock what are the things you look for in the image yeah so the reason why I said onley backgrounds is because I don't choose backgrounds from stock images that's just something I've not done before esso I would have to think very quickly about what I would look for but if I'm looking for just any element to an image which in terms of my stock images that I use it's typically I'm looking for wallpaper a lot of the time like it from looking for a download from the internet for a stock image that's something that I tend to gravitate towards so if I'm looking for wallpaper I'm looking for even light because a lot of wall papers that you'll find online or actually just repeated patterns like in photo shop I'm looking for even light something that hasn't had have been yet applied to it or anything on something that is repeatable but in terms of anything else I'm looking to make sure that the light is even for what I do that it was you know neutral diffused overcast light I'm looking to make sure that the angle is correct so I mean it's literally like every single little board that I have here angle lens I don't know lens so some stock sites will tell you what lens but I look for distortions that's just another word to use for lens I look for what the background is I try my best to find things on black when I'm looking eso I'm doing working on a picture for somebody right now where we need a goldfish in the in the shot and so I went and I got a picture of a goldfish on a black backdrop and that was perfect for blending so I looked for background I don't look so much for color cause I know I can change that don't look so much for exposure cause I know I can change that but certainly the height and angle are two huge things that I'm looking for with stock images and trying to make sure that it was shot from below or shot from above or wherever most stock images though are shot just straight on on a neutral background I mean like if you go searching shutter stock or something that's what you're going to find ninety nine percent of the time that with some just shots of things like a construction site or a park or something like that so I just try to look for isolated objects on a dark background I guess tastic that was perfect okay so you mentioned a little blindfold thing and uh how long you think that'll take you five minutes let's do it okay right now we got it ready who wants to be blindfolded typical question you ask people everyday I know somebody and I might decide okay good we don't have a blindfold so we dio oh my gosh you're so good it's a tie thank you okay would you try this on your sore I don't want to hurt you okay where I'm going okay perfect you're good you're good you can just turn around teo I mean well yeah that's good because now everybody can see you okay all right so what I want to do here is I want to start matching some white but in my opinion we should all be able to do this with our eyes closed so that is the idea behind this we should not have to see all the lights and where they're going and all of that so I'm putting you totally on the spot right now and I want to know let's see um which image is a good one which image is a good one so if we take the image on the beach with that side white how would you go about lighting somebody for that image so remember what the light is like so let's go back to that presentation really quick the waves that it is from from the way it wouldn't really soft and probably a little side and frontal perfect so what light would you use for that I would use a big soft box okay and where would you put that soft box on the side of the window or on the side of the not window um well if I'm if I'm shooting with a window then I'd probably just use all the window light okay let's do that then okay so let's turn the main lights off rocker switch I didn't okay so we turn that off and we're going to shoot there you are why don't you come on back okay so all the lights are off and we're going to shoot our subject now where do you want her facing because as we mentioned before lighting is not just about where the light's coming from but how the subject is interacting with that light um you could get the windows over here it yes um feel the light I I would probably have a kind of facing so that her face is flooded by the light okay great take a little step forward for me not you you're good okay actually here taking by the hand okay come this way ok there that's good we'll move this too so I'm gonna shoot her full body and it's going to be a cz though she's on the sand and we're going to have one light source here so I'm going to take a quick shot of this and we'll see how it looks okay I don't know if I'm supposed to be down here but it just felt right okay all right so we have our subject and she's facing the window now what might be wrong with this picture only two dark exactly so do we have a reflector oh good let's see if a little foam core bounce help son just a fill in that arm arms or my nemesis they really are who yes okay so let's take a shot now alright I just needed in focus good okay that looks nice I'm so glad that you decided to just see the window you know it really solves the most of the world's problems I think ok you may un blindfold yourself so do you think that might work in that shot and like add something and really flip her dress or something so that like the wind is blowing in a way it's better yeah beautiful thank you so I do these kinds of things with myself I don't blindfold myself because I have to set up the lights myself but I do these kinds of things all the time where I just challenge myself to try to figure out how can I match the slight how can I match this where would this person go stuff like that because I'm not good with light naturally I don't I don't see in terms of well meaning to kick her light here and a backlight there and I don't know the names of lights but if those are names of lights I don't need them usually so I try to challenge myself I try to do this I try to play the blindfold game which is not so much being blindfolded but it's just the point of you know just challenge yourself try to figure out where the light needs to go on paper before we actually start moving all the lights around and getting everything out because so often it can be done much more simply than we think it can be especially for just needing enough light somewhere to enhance it later which is something we'll be doing tomorrow morning a couple folks in the chat room we're talking charming pixel photography says she is so resourceful I love that she's more comfortable with a lamp from home been a professional light it shows you don't have to spend fortunes on light setups to make things work and then I risa agreed totally I'm still really intimidated by big studio set ups mainly because I've only worked with them on a handful of occasions and it's easy to get caught in the but I don't have the equipment trap brooke totally helps me get past that because that's that's what again this course is all about is being able to actually do things with the gear you go with something simple and not worrying about the things you don't have to worry about yeah you know yesterday when we came in I brought my friend kelly and we were all sitting and listening to the meetings and stuff and and when we left she was like I don't even know what a seamless ism so intimidated and I was like I don't so either she was like but you're the photographer like I don't know I'm just is intimidated by everything like as if I've never seen this stuff before

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