50 Images that Made me go “Oh, Crap!”

While all of my Creative Family Portraits are inspired by the families I’m working with, I do venture outside my box of being a Rockwall, TX Portrait Photographer to create Portraits for various other reasons. Other reasons like for marketing purposes, family members, or just because I want to try something different.

Or, in the case of “Oh Crap!”, because I want to make fun of something that irritates me.

The greatest thing about being a Portrait Photographer specializing in creating Uniquely Different Portraits for Uniquely Different People is that through the magic of Composite Photography, I can create anything I want. In fact, I frequently tell my clients “The only limitation you have is your own imagination.”

Now, it’s time to load up because I’m going to tell you what made me go, “Oh Crap!”.

Inspiring “Oh Crap!”

I belong to the PPA, which stands for Professional Photographers of America, and through the many levels of the PPA, the national, regional, and local, there are competitions photographers can enter to earn what are called “Merits”.

As one earns more “Merits”, one can become certified in photography and/or become a Master Photographer.

composite photography of backyard scene by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

So, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and give these competitions a wack, but I was faced with a BIG PROBLEM right from the start. A problem that inspired the portrait before you today.

concept sketch for composite photography of birds on a stick

I have to say, the title “Professional Photographers of America” is a bit misleading as many who are involved are amateur photographers and aren’t in business as photographers.

Do you consider an athlete who plays on the weekends a “Professional” just the same as Tom Brady, or Dak Prescott?

Anyway, merits, which are earned by scoring an 80 or better in print competitions, move you up the ranks of photography to become a Professional regardless of whether you’re a Professional or not.

50 Images that made Oh, Crap!

Over the past few months, I entered my Photillustrator Portraits into the local Dallas PPA print competition, only to be beat out by images that featured birds on sticks.

Seriously, the Dallas PPA print competition judges have something for birds on sticks.

Of course, I don’t necessarily specialize in photography of birds on sticks, but this judging trend on pictures that looked like you could have taken them with your iPhone, had to stop, and I was the one willing to stop it.

So, I created “Oh, Crap!”, which was originally titled “Death of a Bird on a Stick”, to once-and-for-all KILL the bird on a stick theme the judges seemed to love so much.

I’m always blown away by what can be done in Composite Photography and the worlds that can be created out of pictures most people can’t see the potential in.

1. Niko
2. Niko’s Legs
3. Stick
4. Parrot
5. Luka
6. Taren
7. The Photillustrator
8. Dingo
9. House
10. Grass
11. More Grass
12. Railroad Ties

13. Trees
14. Ground
15. Tree
16. Another Tree
17. Sky
18. Tree Trunk
19. Tree Branch
20. Tree Branch
21. Bird House
22. Bird
23. Butterfly
24. Large Butterfly

25. BB’s
26. Tiddo Cat
27. Bird
28. Bird
29. Lizard
30. Another Lizard
31. Blue Jay
32. Blue Jay
33. Hawk
34. Squirrel
35. Flying BB’s
36. Flying Birds

A Look Behind the Curtain

To give you a better idea of what this image came from, here are some Before and After’s of my work.

before and after images of composited niko ulsrud

before and after of taren for composite photography

before and after of luka in portrait

before and after of parrot

That’s a Wrap

Earlier I mentioned I had a BIG PROBLEM when I started entering the PPA print competitions, and I’d like to share that with you now since it’s a problem I experience within the world of selling my work as Family Portraits.

That problem is that I don’t fit in anywhere.

While my portraits are created out of photographic images, they certainly look much different than the average, everyday picture most portrait photographers are taking. Because of this, PPA Judges don’t know how to categorize my work and people may not realize these are actual Family Portraits just like Traditional Photographic Portraits.

I’m not complaining though. I can’t imagine creating any other type of Portrait, so I think I’ll just stick with what I’m good at.

What do you think of my REASON for creating “Oh, Crap!” and do you belong to the PPA?

Comments (2)

I do not belong to PPA because I am not a pro. Don’t get the whole bird on a stick thing. I am gonna try and improve my Photoshop skills so I can create work that is as cool and polished as yours. In fact Since I discovered your site a couple weeks ago I have already started work on my first composite. Will send a link for you to see when finished. I think I have had 3 paying photo shoots in 2 years(the boring portrait kind) this looks way more fun. Thanks for the inspiration.


Hey Chris, that’s awesome. Happy you’re working on something that inspires you. I would love to see what you come up with when you’re done. Just shoot me an email or something, and Good Luck! It’s a crazy fun journey.

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