Breaking Down my Brass Tacks Barber Shop Photo Composite

Breaking Down my Brass Tacks Barber Shop Photo Composite

Being a Dallas Advertising Photographer, and relatively new on the Composite Photography scene, I’m always looking for an opportunity to expand my experience, while at the same time to create a kick ass piece for my portfolio.

Later, I’ll reveal what I believe is the most important part of creating a Photo Composite that works.

To start, however, I should let you know Photo Compositing, or what I call a Photillustration, is absolutely my PASSION, and if you look over my Portfolio, you’ll notice I’ve pretty much planted my flag as a Composite Photographer.

Enough about me, I’d rather take you behind my Brass Tacks Barber Shop Photo Composite to see what went into creating it.

Brass Tacks Barber Shop

Every Wednesday morning I attend a networking meeting in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, TX, and right across the street sits a little barber shop.

My Photo Composites can only be as good as the characters I cast.

I’m always looking for unique environments and characters to cast for my Photillustrations, and I find these characters are often just across the street.

photo composite of dallas barbers from brass tacks barber shop created by dallas photographer jason ulsrud

The barbers from Brass Tacks Barber Shop are perfect examples of how casting great characters makes an average Photo Composite awesome.

Technically, Compositing isn’t that difficult, and there are a lot of really good Composite Photographers doing amazing work.

Without great characters, the best technical Compositing skills will only produce average results.

Breaking Down the Brass Tacks Barber Shop

I approached Brandon, the owner of Brass Tacks Barber Shop, about working with me on a Photillustration for my portfolio.

Thankfully, he was super excited about the opportunity.

I asked Brandon what he would like to see in his Photillustration, and he gave me his vision, which was him with four arms symbolizing action like he’s quickly working on a customer.

Here’s the breakdown of this Photo Composite…

a complete breakdown of my photo composite of the brass tacks barber shop

#1 Center Customer: This was a shot of Brandon’s brother used to be the final styled customer.

#2 Blurred Haircut Customer: This was a shot with the customer’s hair messed up, indicating his hair being cut.

#3 Blurred Shaving Customer: This is a shot with the customer being shaved with a straight razor.

#4 Brandon: Brandon is the owner of Brass Tacks Barber Shop and this image represents him feverishly working on a customer.

#5 Shaving Hand: I shot several shots of Brandon with his hands in different positions to create the four hands he wanted to see.

#6 Uppercut Lid: The lid was photographed separately to appear as it’s flying off the gel can.

#7 Brass Tacks Barber Shop Sign: I added the Brass Tacks logo onto the wall to fill blank spaces and bring branding into the Photo Composite.

#8, 9, 10 Barber Shop: Because of the size of the barber shop, I knew it was going to be impossible to get everything into the scene without Compositing several images together.

#11 Barber Named Juke: My original shot of Juke was completely wrong, so I went back to the barber shop the day of editing to photograph Juke working at the sink.

#12, 13 Water: I added water into the Photillustration to give it some humor and action, which I think really works.

#14 Ryan and Customer: I added Ryan and the customer to the Composite to give it some realism.

#15 Grim and Jes: Jes is going over the schedule with Grim, while he’s sleeping with his head back.

#16 Carnival: Because this is a crazy scene, I thought it would be funny to add more craziness in the background.

#17 Unicyclist: It just fits the chaos.

#18 Shaving Cream: I added some shaving cream into Brandon’s hand.

Some Compositing Images

To give you a better idea of where this Photo Composite started, and the images I used to create it, here are some of the originals.

photo composite image number one

compositing image number two


compositing image number four

compositing image number five

That’s a Wrap

I knew going into the Composite, it was going to present a lot of challenges, and it did not disappoint.

I choose Photo Composites based on the challenge they offer.

To start with, I knew Compositing the barber shop together at the right angle was going to be tough, Compositing Brandon’s arms like he wanted probably didn’t work out as well as I would have liked, and Compositing the customer spinning isn’t reading as clearly as I had hoped.

But all-in-all, I think this Photillustration hit the mark, and it certainly highlights the characters of the Brass Tacks Barber Shop.

OK, it’s your turn… Leave a comment below and let me know what you like, and don’t like, about this Photillustration.

Comments (2)

I love the quirkyness (is that a real word?) of the characters. It is like the barber shops in every movie I’ve every seen and yet it is interesting and unique. I really think you captured the wonderful qualities of the Brass Tacks Barber Shop. I’m one of your biggest fans and I hope to be able to help you get your creative vision out in the world!

Thank you so much Celia… I think you’re awesome too, and I appreciate your support.

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