What is a Composited Portrait?

Have you ever looked at a portrait and wondered, “How in the world did they make it look like that?”

If you have, you were likely looking at a Composited Portrait.

Now, Composite Photography isn’t anything new, but something’s been happening over the past few years in the photography industry.

Photographers are getting super creative.

Let’s look at some “traditional” portrait photography to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Traditional Portrait Photography

I’m sure you’re quite familiar with the traditional form of family portraits where everyone’s wearing the same blue shirt, same tan khakis, and they’re all lined up in a nice line smiling for the camera.

drawing of a traditional family portrait by jason ulsrud


These types of portraits are made using one image and the photographer typically takes several shots in an effort to get one photo where everyone looks nice and is smiling.

Traditional Portrait = 1 photo

There’s a HUGE market for this type of traditional portrait photography, and a lot of photographers are making LOTS of $$ doing it.

Here are a few portraits from my library as an example.

editorial portrait of abby munn of best buddies in dallas tx

portrait of luka ulsrud

Composited Portraits

Now, flip that coin up and on the other side is a completely different style of portraits, and that’s the Composited Portrait.

A Composite, according to my underground resources (Google), is “made up of various parts or elements.”

Simply put, a Composite Portrait uses two or more images blended together to create a single portrait.

Composite Portrait = 2+ photos

You have likely seen a Composited style portrait within the senior portrait market as many photographers are adding those to their product line as a way to be different.

I wonder, at what point will they not be “different” anymore?

Other photography industries you’ve likely seen the Composited Portrait in are the newborn photography market, kids photography market, commercial photography market, and now you’re beginning to see photographers incorporating this Composited style within the family portrait market.

At Photillustrator, my family portrait studio, I specialize in creating Composite Portraits that are uniquely different.

composite photography family portrait of dallas family jake and libby smith

rich and mandy childs family portrait by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

composite photography of belvoir winery in liberty mo

Unlike most photographers in any of the photography industries doing Composited Portraits, I incorporate anywhere between 30 separate images all the way up to 100+ images.

Now, that’s a lot of work to be different, don’t ya think?

That’s a Wrap

Regardless of how many images you use in your Composite Portrait, the style is in its infancy and you’re going to be seeing a lot more photographers producing amazing images.

In fact, it’s my mission to make this happen.

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the pool of Composited Portraits and want a good place to start, check out my Premium Tutorial on Cutting Out objects in Photoshop.

Which do you prefer? Traditional Portraits or Composited Portraits?

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.