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composite photography for creative portrait by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

Case Study: Breaking Down Crazy Town

I was recently commissioned to create a Signature Family Portrait (composite) for a family to display on their wall, which challenged me in many ways.

You’ll want to see what the most challenging part of this Photillustration was.

I should say, however, Composite Photography fits my personality really well, and I honestly can’t imagine ever doing the traditional, and in my opinion, BORING, Portrait Photography ever again.

That’s for another time though, because today is all about Breaking Down my Crazy Town Composite.

Crazy Town

I always feel a deep urge to name each Photillustration I create, and even though this was a Creative Portrait for a family, I needed to name it.

Naming my Composites isn’t always very easy.

As I was working on this Photillustration, which took me 30+ hours of computer time, my wife kept asking me how “Crazy Town” was coming.

And that’s how the name came to be.

composite photography for creative portrait by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

When I do a Creative Portrait for a family like this, the most important part of the process is my Discovery Session, which gives me the opportunity to sit with the family in their home and see their real personalities.

Bringing their personalities out in the Photillustration is what makes it so special.

Breaking Down Crazy Town

This Crazy Town Composite was NO easy task, and I would rank it among the top 3 or 4 toughest I’ve taken on.

From the beginning I was nervous about one specific element I knew was going to cause headaches.

Hands down, the toughest part of this Photillustration was finding a court house with pillars, and that would work in this Composite.

Not to mention the editing of the court house.

the breakdown of a composite photography piece called crazy town

#1 Mike: Mike is an attorney and the concept called for him catching and holding up the pillar of justice.

#2 Blowing Tie: To give this Photillustration more action, we made the tie look like it was blowing in the wind.

#3 Brief Case: Mike anguished for several months over purchasing this brief case, so it definitely has special meaning.

#4 Mary: The Reveal Party for this Photillustration was for Mary’s Birthday Party, and the response was great.

#5 – #6 Connor: Mary wanted a very specific look from her son Conner, so I had to Composite images together to get what she wanted.

#7 Hand with Ring: After all the photos were shot of Mary, she asked if I had gotten her ring, which I hadn’t, so we shot close ups of her hand.

#8 – #9 Champagne Glass: I shot the glass empty and Composited in champagne and the bubbles.

#10 Champagne Bottle: Mary loves a certain type of champagne, which I added at her feet.

#11 Emily: The title of this Photillustration really comes from Emily, who is full of energy.

#12 Emily’s Leg: I photographed Emily’s leg out to make it look like she is pushing off with her scooter.

#13 Magic Wand: Emily was holding a drum stick for this shot, so I Composited in a wand I bought at Target.

#14, 15, 16 Particle Effects: The particle effects were Composited in to make it look like she was running the show, because that’s what she does.

#17 – #18 Havana: The dog was Composited using two different images.

#19 Fire Hydrant: It’s just a fire hydrant. Nothing special.

#20 – #21 Texas A&M: Mike hates Texas A&M, so I added a sticker and wrote “Losers” under it.

#22 Side walk and Curb: These were stock images I took near downtown Dallas.

#23 Road: This was a stock image I took near downtown Dallas.

#24 Brick Wall: Another stock image I took near downtown Dallas.

#25 Courthouse: This is the courthouse here in Rockwall, TX where I live.

#26 Pillar: I cut out and used one of the courthouse pillars.

#27 Stairs: My intention was to have Mike’s foot up on the stairs, but clearly that didn’t work out.

#28 Floor: I just used a street image to create the floor of the courthouse.

#29 Concrete Lion: Mike and Mary’s last name is “Lyons”, so this was a perfect addition.

#30 UT Building: A stock image of buildings I took near downtown Dallas.

#31 – #32 UT Sign: Mike’s favorite college team is University of Texas, so I added a little shop on the street for him.

#33 Emily’s Building: A stock image of buildings I took near downtown Dallas.

#34 – #35 Emily’s Cookies: Emily kept asking for cookies at our Discovery Session, so I gave her her own cookie store.

#36 Porsche: This is Mary’s Porsche, which I added a personalized plate that says, “PEG-GAL”.

#37 Moon: Stock image.

#38 CoAmerica Building: Stock image I took near downtown Dallas.

#39 Pigasus: I drew this from a sculpture Mary was given.

#40 Dallas Skyline: Stock image.

#41 Bridge: Stock image I took near downtown Dallas.

#42 PEG Building: This is the building Mary works in, and is President of Personal Economics Group.

#43 PEG Logo: PEG’s logo.

#44 – #45 Sky: Stock image and painting.

#46 Fairy Wings: Emily needed some fairy wings, so I added them in Photoshop.

#47 – #48 Street Buildings: Stock images I took near downtown Dallas.

#49 Gallery Building: Stock image I took in Deep Ellum.

#50 – #51 Chicken Art: This is Mary’s art, which looks really good.

#52 – #53 Chicken Sign: I crafted a sign out of Mary’s Chicken Art.

Some Photos I Used

To give you a better idea of what the pieces of this Crazy Town Composite look like, here are some of the individual images I used to create this Photillustration.

photo of emily lyons

photo of mary lyons

photo of mike lyons

photo of mikes tie

photo of dallas

photo of rockwall courthouse

photo of gallery building

photo of chicken art

That’s a Wrap

As you can see, a lot of work went into this Photillustration, and I think the end result turned out quite nice.

Over 50 photos and 30+ hours of editing for this Photillustration.

The Reveal Party, which I’ll share with you soon, went really well, and the response from my client was spectacular.

Now, I’d like to hear from you and see what you have to say about the Breakdown of Crazy Town.

Comments (4)

OUTSTANDING work!! I especially love the breakdown and BTS stuff, thank you for sharing !

Certainly!!! I absolutely LOVE what I do, and helping others when I can.

I love your work. I am taking an advanced Photoshop class now and we are doing compositing. I am completing my bachelors degree. I have come across your work and I am interested in how you make things look cartoonish. I love it.

Hey Chris… Thanks so much. I have a tutorial on how I create my Cartoony Characters that you might like.

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