I’ve seen this type of thing done a number of times but have never taken the time to do a multi-photo composite of myself. We get so tied up in working on projects for clients that we forget to take the time to have a little fun and work on some of our own things. After all, the reason we got into this business is that it’s fun. Well today I had a little time on my hands and thought, why not try it?
To start out, I found a deck of cards and some poker-chips I’ve had lying around for years and I setup the table (made sure I could get to every seat without moving things). Next, light setup…one fill light with a softbox and one Canon Speedlite 580EX II with a Gary Fong diffuser on it. Done. Then I did a couple test shots to check the lights, focus, and composition.
Now lets have some fun…the making of “The card game” photo.
The first shot was in the chair furthest away from the camera. Using Canon’s TC-80N3 timer and remote controller I set the timer to start in 15 seconds and bracket three shots. I would do this same setup for the next three shots as well.
Without moving anything around the table I walked over hit the remote and moved to the next chair, put on my poker-face and waited…(notice the Ace in my pocket…just a fun little detail I wanted to add)
In this photo I wanted to show my hand to the camera (but not block the entire scene). I picked up the cards, practiced my pose, quick test shot, checked results, hit the remote once more, waited and done.
Moving on to the last position at the table. Fired off three shots and done, almost. My dog Brutus decided he wanted to check out what I was doing so he joined me for this one. After checking the images on my camera I didn’t see any problems with him being in the shot (I could edit it out in Photoshop).
Here I planned on adding some of the small details to the final image that would make it more believable. I set the camera remote up to take 10 photos with a 3 second break between them. This would give me time to toss a card out and hopefully if the timing was right catch it mid flight.
Putting it all together and compositing the images. I started out going into Adobe Bridge, highlighted all the images I want to use and opened them into one Photoshop file with each image in a layer (Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers…). The reason you want to do it this way is that all your images will be aligned perfectly and centered in the Photoshop file (a big time saver).
I rearranged the layers and started masking out the background (and Brutus). A little clean-up, some color corrections, then checked the masks. Then I used Nik Software Color Efex Pro™ to play with the contrast a little, made a copy of the final layer and converted it to grey (and set it to Multiply, Opacity 25%) so I could add some depth to the image. Done.
So what did I learn? That it’s good when you take a little time to play…the entire project only took about two hours.