Once in a while a client gives you the freedom to exercise some photoshop creativity for their business.
The brief was to create an image that expresses the future choices of students, or a kind of 'sky's the limit' type idea. Being a nerd for surrealist imagery and photography I had some ideas that I quickly sketched down. ..and quickly was the operative word as the image had to be conceptualised, shot and delivered within a week.
Too easy! I love a challenge and thrive under pressure.
Without going into the details, though message me if you are keen on specifics, I scouted some buildings in the city that had an appropriate reflected surface. I found the Grenfell Centre to be perfect. The building was photographed with my Fuji XT1.
After a number of photographs and some odd looks from people enjoying their lunch at the cafe on the ground floor of the Grenfell Centre, I settled on the image to the left. I wanted to feature the sun slightly appearing on the left of the building to balance the image as a result of an absence of another building.
You'll notice that the Grenfell Centre has no reflections of the surrounding buildings in this image. I purchased the birds from istockphoto and used clouds from my own personal collection to create more depth in the image. I initially placed a sun flare in the background, but later removed it as the image was looking a little busy.
Next was the task of photographing the students that would feature walking up the building.
I set up some studio lights in the school auditorium which had a white wall and used a white seamless for the floor. I blew out the wall in the background to pure white and used a couple of lights to create a similar daylight effect that I saw when photographing the Grenfell Centre.
After we had the shots, it was a matter of selecting them out from the white background, cleaning up the images and layering them in photoshop over the edited building. I must admit that the hardest part was creating the reflection of the students in the building to create a slightly distorted look to make it more realistic. Each reflected image of a student was composited from three individual student images, all slightly modified within the buildings windows. I'm sure there is a quick way of doing this that I'll work out for the next time.
Once all of the elements were placed together I created a layer of noise over the entire image and then reduced it back to give it a unified look.
I must admit that I was a little worried about how well the image from the Fuji XT1 was going to look. I had never at this point used a mirrorless crop camera for this type of work before and was initially anxious about it's quality for the final image. Having now seen the printed image over a meter in length, it's impossible to see which part of the image was photographed with a full frame camera or a crop camera; the final image looks sharp with no discernible image degradation.
Happy client, happy photographer!