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Creating a Composite In Photoshop: “Queen of the Crows” | Tuesdays With Lauri

By Lauri L. on March 5th 2013

Queen of the Crows 1X

In this “Tuesdays with Lauri”-video we take a behind-the-scenes look at my recent photoshoot that I organised in London. We talk about creating a composite image in Photoshop, as well as take a quick look at the lighting I used in this photograph.

For this photoshoot, we built a team that was possibly the most multi-cultural team, I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. We had people from Finland, The States, England and Lithuania all together in London.

We had created a concept around ‘The Queen of the Crows’ and compiled a moodboard around that theme. We figured out the look and feel that we were going for, and used that as the basis for our make-up, wardrobe and styling in general. We were lucky enough to get the amazing wardrobe designer Kevin Freeman and the awesome costume accessories and props designer, and maker, Clea Broad to work with us during this shoot.

Kevin provided us with three amazing dresses, and Clea gave us a huge amount of different accessories and props to use.

As we were really going for a magical, almost surreal look, I felt that the best way to create the photo, would be to composite it together from several different elements. For this reason, I photographed our amazingly talented model, Jen Brook, on a white backdrop, and decided to use one of my old nature/landscape photos as the backdrop.

The lighting for this image was very simple, as I couldn’t haul a lot of equipment all the way to London from Finland. We used a very large white reflector as the backdrop, and lit the scene with an alienbee-strobe with an umbrella on it. We positioned the light right outside the frame on camera-left and angled it down at about 45°, in relation to out model’s face.

This gave us the dramatic lighting we were going for.

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 9.04.11 PM


Technical details

Camera: Canon EOS 5D MkII
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter: 1/100


I hope you guys enjoyed this article and video, and like I said in the beginning, this series will be continued with 1 or 2 other videos/articles, where we are going to be taking a more in-depth look at creating a complex composite out of several different elements. So, stay tuned, and see you again next tuesday! :)

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Lauri Laukkanen is one of the youngest established advertising photographers in Finland. At the ripe age of 21 he has already been working with some of the biggest commercial clients and his photos have been featured in the media, all around the world. Check out his portfolio here.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tai Hsin Shiek

    Amazing.. love the simplicity and great explanation.

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  2. Miguel A. Romero

    Great post! thanks :)

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  3. Pixyst

    Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the rest of the series. I am having difficulty reconciling the diagram and text that indicates that the light (umbrella) is at camera left with the image I see that has the model’s shadow side on camera left. Did you mirror-flip it in post?

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    • laurilaukkanen

      Hi! Yeah, I did flip the image horizontally in post, as it worked better with the composition that I was going for. But, thanks! I’m glad you liked this video! :) 

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