Shoot a hole in one

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Here’s how to shoot and edit mag­i­cal mir­ror por­traits

01 Steady does it

Your tri­pod is your best friend here, pro­vid­ing a sure way to keep all your images aligned and giv­ing you time to think about your com­po­si­tion. With a fixed cam­era you can take a minute to de­cide what you’d like to in­clude or cut out. You’ll need two images, one with the model, and one with­out.

03 Be con­sis­tent

Keep the ex­po­sure con­sis­tent so that ev­ery­thing fits to­gether later. Use man­ual mode and work out an ex­po­sure. Here we used a shut­ter speed of 1/160 at f/4 and ISO640. With the ex­po­sure sorted, you’re ready to shoot. Try a va­ri­ety of poses to give you more op­tions later.

05 Mask the mir­ror

Grab the Quick Se­lec­tion Brush from the tool­bar and paint over the mir­ror’s sur­face to se­lect it. Zoom in to check the edges; hold Alt and paint to make cor­rec­tions if needed. Go to Se­lect>Re­fine Edge, and set Ra­dius to 2px, Smooth to 20, Feather to 1px. Se­lect Layer>Layer Mask>Hide Se­lec­tion.

02 Get set up

With a semi-clothed model you need to get ev­ery­thing set up prior to shoot­ing. Keep your model clothed un­til your set­tings are fi­nalised. Mod­els don’t en­joy stand­ing around half-naked wait­ing for you to tweak set­tings, es­pe­cially on a cold day in early spring like the one we were shoot­ing on!

04 Copy and paste

Back in the dig­i­tal dark­room, open up your two images in Pho­to­shop (or use our shots). Take the shot of the model, go to Se­lect>All, and press Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy it. Then go to your im­age with­out the model and press Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste the model shot onto it, as a sep­a­rate layer.

06 Soften the edges

To give the mir­ror a hazy qual­ity, Cmd/Ctrl+click the mask thumb­nail, then go to Se­lect>In­verse. Cre­ate a new layer and paint with a white brush around the mir­ror’s edges. Fi­nally, cre­ate an­other layer, grab the Spot Heal­ing Brush, set Sam­ple All Lay­ers, and paint over any dis­trac­tions.

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