STE P BY STE P / A winning shot
1 The setup
Position one flashgun in front to light the face. We attached a silver umbrella to the frontal light to spread it out, while the rear flash was left bare to give a hard edge light down one side of the body. Set both to manual power, the front one at ½ power, the rear at ¼ power.
2 Find an exposure
Start in Manual mode. Before turning the flashes on, expose for the ambient light, then underexpose slightly by increasing aperture or decreasing ISO. Turn the flashes on and adjust the power until you’re happy with the light on the subject. We used 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO100.
3 Shoot a background
Once you’ve captured the subject, the next step is to shoot a likely backdrop, sky and any other elements you might need. Keep everything consistent: the camera height, focal length of the lens, focus point and lighting. We also captured a golf ball up close to the camera.
4 Select the subject
Open your portrait in Photoshop (or use our images), then grab the Quick Selection tool and paint to select the subject. Click on Select and Mask (Refine Edge in older versions). Paint over fuzzy areas like the hair to improve the edge. Choose Output: Layer Mask and hit OK. 5 Fine-tune the mask Zoom in closer, highlight the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel, then grab the Brush tool and hit D to set colours to black and white. Paint with black to hide parts of the layer or white to reveal them. Spend some time perfecting the edge of the cutout.
6 Add a backdrop
Open the image of the background, then go back to the cutout. Use the Move tool to drag the cutout over to the background. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T if you need to resize the layer. Once done, make a selection of the sky and Altclick on the Add Mask icon in the Layers panel to hide it.