What is Composite Photography and How to Create it

What is Composite Photography and How to Create it

Composite photography is a creative pursuit where you combine two or more images together. It can be subtle, such as our leading image in this article, showing a camera supposedly floating. It can also be ridiculous or strange, such as an image of a Giraffe in the middle of a busy city street. All of these photos fall under the category of Composite photography.

This is a special field of creating really amazing and unbelievable photos using out-of-the-box thinking. If you are planning to create photos of the most creative category, this field is just for you and we are going to talk a lot about that in our article. Let us not delay much in getting it started. 

Composite photography: A basic definition

Since there is no limit to the things you can do here, it is very difficult to contain composite photography in a definition. But you can call it a combination of two photographs to create one appealing photo that delivers a particular message.

The definition might not seem familiar enough but you must have seen such images many times either on Instagram, other platforms, or websites. We are here to go into much detail about the definition but to suggest to you some ways of helping you create the right one. 

If you think composite photography was born out of the advent of digital photography and editing tools, you are wrong. Because these things have been in the world for a long time. Some great photographers of the late 19th century made the best use of this technique.

At that time, advanced tools were not there, so the photographers used the same piece of film to capture multiple exposures. Now the photographers are able to take completely different photos and blend those photos together to create one unique and appealing image. 

The purpose of composite photography 

There is no end to the list of requirements for these images. Whether it be using your images for blog, articles, visual pieces of content, products, projects related to arts, etc. The biggest reason behind such usage of composite images is that they are highly composing.

Since you are free to blend images from different genres together, the adaptability of these images is quite surprising. It gives us the ability to create scenes that are impossible to capture from the real world.

The usual way of getting the right image for your purpose starts by searching a location that will serve the purpose. And it is the toughest part of the process. But here, you will be able to create images exactly based on your demands.

Such a condition helps you create relevant photos in a very easy way. Whenever you have to describe the transition, there is nothing better than composite images to do that. 

An example of composite photography

The example above was made using the two images shown, and by adding a new background colour. I created this in a matter of minutes, so if you look closely, you'll notice the lighting and colour ranges look different between the model in a yoga pose in her hand, and the other woman.

This is obviously fabricated, however there are examples of composite photography being used in the media and elsewhere in order to highlight or provide a specific message, and sometimes when found out, people scream that they have been 'tricked'. Such as this Instagram influencer who made the news a few years ago. It's certainly a very interesting dilemma.

Your way to create the best composite images

Now that you are done with the fundamentals of composite photography, it is time to take a look at some of the ways to create appealing photos in this category. It is not something difficult enough that you can’t do it.

Just focus on the following things and you will be able to get what you want in this category. 

Find the idea behind the creation of your image

This is the very beginning of your creation process. Since it is not something existing in the real world, you need to have a solid idea before the process begins. Before you start with this process, make sure you have developed a clear idea in your mind about what you have to create or how your final image will look like.

Any inaccuracy or error in this process will hinder you from getting the perfect image that you want. 

Beginners are more likely to get confused at this point in time because they don’t have many things to think about. But you can do it very easily with the help of experts in this field. Take a look at the works of prominent photographers in this field so that you will have many clues. 

Plan the essentials of your image

Now you are ready with the concept and a rough sketch of your image, it is time to take another step. It is time to plan the essentials. The first thing you need to consider in this field is getting the images that you will blend together.

There are several sources to get such images and if you are willing to shoot one by yourself, go for that. 

Size of the image, light, and perspective

These three features are quite crucial in defining the nature and quality of any image apart from this one. Talking of size, it is the most important element of your image when you have to mix more images together.

Choosing two images of different sizes will alter the resolution of those images and the overall quality of the image will be degraded. If you have no other way and you find images of different sizes only, resize to make them equal to each other. 

When the light and perspective of both images differ, the final image completely loses its meaning. There are several help you can get in this category as well. A large number of Photoshop tools are available that you can use to adjust light and perspective. Make sure you have got these things balanced before you start editing. 

Start your work the right way

This is quite a complicated task where rigorous editing is used with several layers and other things. You are more likely to make a mess out of it if you lose track in the middle of this process. You must organise the workflow in order to avoid this situation.

This can be done by naming each layer and then grouping the similar layers together. Don’t forget to save the changes you have made in the file before exiting. Composite photography is unique and appealing in many ways if you do it the right way. 

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Final words

There is not much to consider if you want to get started with composite photography. The factors and features mentioned above will help you considerably in this process.


About the Author

Emma Taylor is an Australian blogger and photographer, who lives in Melbourne with her two cats, where she frequents live theatre and wine bars.