Monday, October 28, 2013

Wild Exposures

Multilayered silhouettes that explore new territory in self-portraiture
Text & Photography By Dru Lester Published in Shooting
Wild Exposures
Creating multiple exposures is a trend that's getting a lot of attention in the photography world lately. I've seen multiple-exposure photographs pop up everywhere, from Flickr to 500px, and I really love the way they look. These images, created by combining multiple images into one, can be done in-camera with some camera models, as well as after the fact in Photoshop. Most of the multiple exposures I've seen have been a combination of portraits with landscapes and cityscapes, but you might use any combination of images to suit your idea or style.

I recently read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, and I was inspired to create a multiple-exposure series combining self-portraits with photos of nature. I feel like, in this day and age, we've started to lose connection to our roots with nature, and I wanted to bring attention to that connection.

I usually start out by taking some simple self-portraits against a plain backdrop. Next up comes the fun part: deciding what nature photo I want to combine with myself. The way I like to do this is by going out to a local park and walking down the nature trails. While I'm walking, I really take my time and look at the different shapes formed by the trees and plants, and take photos of each thing I find interesting. When I get home, I open each nature image in Photoshop and play around until I like how it looks.

The next step is combining the photos. Here's how.

1. Select the images to combine. You'll need at least two, but may use as many as you like. I normally take a portrait on a plain background, and take a second image with a lot of negative space near the top, such as an open sky.

2. Retouch the portrait, and if need be, cut it from the background and place it on a white background. Selecting the subject can be done with the Quick Selection tool, Pen tool or whichever tool you like to use. Once selected, use Photoshop's Refine Edge tool to tweak the selection until it looks clean and realistic; place it on a new layer with a mask.

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