Creating Composited Portraits in Photoshop

The first big assignment in my Photoshop II class was creating two “editorial portraits” that could be part of one magazine article, somehow related and showed some of the personality of the subject.

When I took photos for the first week of class, I used my friends Guiselle and Kacie as models. I shot the photos in my apartment against a white background. I also took photos of Evan, but for this assignment, I decided that I wanted the fictional article I was putting these photos together for to be a series of profiles of strong women.

Guiselle's Portrait

Guiselle's Portrait - Click to view a larger version

I decided to use two sort of confrontational photos. In Guiselle’s she’s jumping — actually hurdling — right at you. She ran track in high school and college, and she’s now a lawyer. I felt that her intense look and body language pushed out of the frame, showed a lot of movement, and really showed a strong woman. The background I used was from Highgate Cemetery, and I decided to add the flowers in to add a fanciful element, add more color and visual interest, and soften the photo a bit.

Kacie's Portrait

Kacie's Portrait - Click to view a larger version

In Kacie’s photo, I placed her in front of a house, giving a “get off my lawn” sort of stare. Kacie is one of my funniest friends — and she’s actually started doing stand-up comedy. She also loves bizarre props, like Billy Bob teeth, rubber chickens, alligator feet and flamingos. I chose to take a photo of that building because of the skull stickers on the door and the truck in the lawn. And I added in the gas meter, sign, and flamingo to add some more interest and humor to the image, and to help balance it as well.

This was a really fun assignment, and I feel like I was able to capture my friends’ personalities quite well. It was a lot of work to get the photos to look like this, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.

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