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composite of dallas photographer jeff covington for jack daniels

What is Composite Photography?

Most people know what a portrait photographer is, or what a senior portrait photographer does, and you definitely are familiar with the wedding photographer, but most people have no idea what type of photography to call what I create.

So, I’m going to answer the question, “What is Composite Photography?”

For most customers of photography, “WHAT” Composite Photography is makes little difference, but “WHAT” a Composite Portrait looks like, is what truly captures the imagination.

This is going to be a short post, so let’s get started…

Defining Composite Photography

Composite Photography is simply the blending of two or more images to create one final image.

composite only using two imagesWhile this definition makes Compositing sound quick and easy, it’s anything but, often times requiring several hours of photography and Photoshop work to complete a final piece.

I have used as few as two images to create a unique backdrop for a portrait, all the way up to 36 images for my Composite piece called “Bob Marley”.

composite of my twin boys called bob marley

Breaking Down a Composite

The best way to give you a better idea of what a Composited Photo looks like, is to break one down so you can see the different elements for yourself.

This is a recent Composite I created of my twin boys called “The Wrestler”, and as you can see, I’ve numbered each piece that has been either added or changed in some way.

Before and After of “The Wrestler”

This Composite was created using 15 different images, and took me just over 8 hours to create, not including concept development and photography.

Here’s a breakdown by the numbers…

#1 The Room: I first photographed an HDR series of the room to use as the base photo for this Composite.

#2 Luka on Bed: With a light set up by the window, I then photographed Luka sitting on the bed pretending he was being attacked.

#3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Flying Niko: Niko was photographed in my garage and using five separate images was pieced together to look like he was flying.

#8 The Cat: The cat was photographed half way through editing the image because I felt that area needed something more.

#9 The Neighborhood: The window looks out to the side of another house, so I used a stock image of a neighborhood instead.

#10 The Sling Shot: I hung the sling shot up to play off the sling shot poster from another Composite I did called “Sling Shot”.

#11 Sling Shot Poster: This is a Composite I did months earlier of the boys called “Sling Shot”.

#12 Wrestling Video Game: I added the wrestling scene on the TV screen to look like they were playing a video game.

#13: The TV: Using the TV from the original bedroom shot, I manipulated its size and shape to give it a more exaggerated look.

#14 Superman Poster: Using the Superman Poster from the original bedroom shot, I moved it up on the wall, which proved to be one of the most difficult parts of this entire Composite.

#15 Wrestling Action Figure: The Action Figure was photographed and added half way through the editing of this Composite because I felt the space looked too empty.

See, Compositing isn’t So Easy

Along with all the blending required to pull of a Composited image, several hours of manipulations, shaping, and shading must be done to create a final piece.

See, not so easy is it?

While Composite Photography does require a bit more work than a traditional portrait, and not surprisingly, comes with a higher price tag also, it gives you and me the ability to create whatever our imaginations can think up.

The only limitation I have as a Composite Photographer, is your imagination.

Comments (5)

[…] images through digital manipulation. However, one could also argue that compositing requires those individual photos to be taken in the first place and then combined to create the photographer’s vision, so because […]

[…] images through digital manipulation. However, one could also argue that compositing requires those individual photos to be taken in the first place and then combined to create the photographer’s vision, so because […]

[…] 2017. What is composite photography. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 December […]

You say you used 15 images to make a composite photo. I say you used 15 photos to make a composite image. It’s no longer a photo.

You’re right. If you prefer I could call it a “Digital Image” or “Composited Photos” or “Composite Image” or “Composite” or “A whole bunch of photos mashed together to create one image”

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