Family Portrait of Durham family by Dallas Portrait Photographer, Jason Ulsrud

Breaking Down my White Trash Composite

As a Dallas Portrait Photographer, the best part of what I do for a living is meeting the people I create One-of-a-Kind Photillustrations for, and the challenges they bring to me.

Today, I’m Breaking Down my White Trash Composite, so you can see the challenges for yourself.

Because every client and family come with different personalities, and unique challenges for their portrait, I have become quite good at solving the problems I’m frequently faced with.

Needless to say, your Custom Photillustration is really complex, takes a lot of planning to pull off, and doesn’t come without it’s unique problems.

Now, let’s get a little dirty and get into some White Trash.

White Trash

If you haven’t noticed from my other Custom Family Portraits, I like to name every piece I create.

Sometimes, this isn’t so easy, and the family helps me out with the name.

For this White Trash Composite, I actually had nothing to do with the naming.

Following my Discovery Session with the Durham family, I received an excited email from them regarding some detail shots, and explaining they were calling it “White Trash”.

Which, I thought was a perfect name for their family portrait.

Family Portrait of Durham family by Dallas Portrait Photographer, Jason Ulsrud

For me, the name of a Photillustration is so important, I frequently can’t even design it out until I have some idea for a name.

I guess that’s just part of the creative process.

Breaking Down some White Trash

I’m frequently asked, “Where do all your crazy fun ideas for a family portrait come from?”

To be honest, it’s a combination of “I don’t know”, and a collaboration between me and the family.

I will say, 98% of the time, I leave the Discovery Session with a pretty detailed idea in my head of what the final artwork will look like.

Then through some discussion with my client, we chisel additional details into the concept, and the Photography process is set to begin.

It’s the CREATIVE PROCESS I suppose…

dallas portrait photographer breaks down his white trash family portrait

#1, #2, #3 Tara: I used 3 separate photos of Tara composited together to get her in the perfect position.

#4 Water: I added the water spilling out of the cup effect with special brushes.

#5 Bill: Bill loves eating burritos, and sporting his Durham Bulls t-shirt, he fits perfectly into this scene.

#6 Tape Measure: One of the 10 hidden items included in this Custom Family Portrait.

#7 Blake: Blake did a great job acting like she was throwing tortilla’s for the dog to catch.

#8 Corn Tortilla: The corn tortilla’s Blake was holding were a bit torn up, so I composited new tortillas into her hand.

#9 Titan: This gentle giant of a dog (Great Dane), was great to work with and performed perfectly.

#10 Charlie: Photographing kids can sometimes be a challenge, but Charlie did a great job, and I was able to capture the perfect image for this portrait.

#11 Charlie’s Legs: I didn’t like the position of Charlie’s legs, so I simply composited the legs from a different image into this one.

#12, #13 Murphy: This Great Dane was composited together using two different images to get the ears and face to work with the body.

#14, #15 Clyde: This third Great Dane was again composited together using two separate photos of the dog.

#16 Drool: The drool effect was created using a special water brush.

#17 “D”: The “D” on the dogs collar was created in Photoshop, and symbolizes the last name of the Durham family.

#18 House: I photographed the side of the house, then manipulated it in Photoshop to give it a cartoonish effect.

#19, #20 Flag and Pole: The flag and flag pole were photographed separately because of the background, but the flag pole had special meaning so it had to be included.

#21 Picnic Table: I had to composite in a different image of the family’s picnic table to place it exactly where I needed it.

#22 Tricycle: This was a junk shot I took during the Photo Session, which ended up being perfect for the scene.

#23 Chipotle Bag: This is the Chipotle bag I photographed because this area needed something.

#24 Tortillas: I photographed these tortillas in my backyard a couple days after the Photo Session with the Durham family.

#25 Burritos: These burritos were actually only one burrito I bought, and before eating it myself, placed it on the table at Chipotle and made several photos of it.

#26 Chipotle Tea: That’s my tea from Chipotle.

#27 Bag of Chips: I bought this bag of chips to composite into the image so the dog looked like she was stepping on them.

#28 Flying Chips: Each chip was photographed separately and composited in to give them the effect of flying through the air.

#29 Soccer Ball: One of the ten hidden items within this family portrait, it was photographed separately and composited in where I most wanted it.

#30 Sign: One of the ten hidden items, I photographed this sign 3 or 4 days after our main Photo Session to add to their family portrait.

#31, #32 Fence: I did several different photos of the backyard fence so I could pick and choose from what I needed to fit this scene.

#33 Art Shack: This structure was actually sitting on the opposite side of the backyard, until I composited it in where you see it here.

#34 Art Shack Sign: This sign was created in Photoshop to give the Art Shack a name.

#35 Gun: Yea, out of place here, but it’s Texas.

#36 Pillow: One of ten hidden items placed within this family’s portrait.

#37 Tree: These were trees in their backyard, which I used to balance out this composition.

#38 Flying Tortilla: One among many of the Chipotle photos I took.

#39 Trees: Trees around White Rock Lake taken for this composition.

#40 Bill: A crazy family needs some crazy things in their portrait, so Bill wanted to be doing some tricks on his bike in the background.

#41 Crazy Cyclist: One of the supporting cast.

#42 Tara: An avid runner, Tara wanted to be featured in the background running.

#43 Female Cyclist: One of the supporting cast.

#44, #45 Sail Boat: The sail boat and Texas emblem are two separate images composited together for the sake of the hidden items.

#46, #47 Skate Boarder & Runner: Supporting cast.

#48 Blake: The daughter Blake is riding her bike in the background.

#49 Neighbor: The family really wanted their neighbor featured in their family portrait with his little dog.

#50 Unicyclist: One of the ten hidden items in their family portrait, you will frequently see unicyclists riding around the lake.

#51 White Rock Lake: The lake was created using 2 photos of White Rock Lake.

#52 Bath House: A little something to represent White Rock Lake.

#53 Trees: These trees were from my Fairy Tale Composite.

#54 Dallas: I Photillustrated the city of Dallas to match this portrait vibe.

#55 Tree: Photo of a tree from the family’s backyard.

#56 Lights: I added the lights through Photoshop.

#57 Birds: I like adding flying birds into my scenes as I believe it adds realism to my unrealistic Photillustrations.

#58 Sky: Last, but not least, I added a nice sky to match the color of the scene.

Some Photos I Used

So you have a better idea of where this White Trash Photillustration began, here are some of the RAW photos I used right out of my camera.

bill durham on bike

tara durham on picnic table

bath house at white rock lake

titan the great dane

taren ulsrud holding back a great dane

That’s a Wrap

This White Trash Family Portrait is actually one of the most complex portraits I’ve done, and included several new problems I had to find answers for.

What challenges do you think your Family Portrait will present?

The Durham family absolutely loved their Custom Photillustration, and I have to say I had a BLAST working with them on creating it.

Have a question or comment? Leave it in the comments below…

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