Mir­ror im­age

James Pater­son ex­plains how to cre­ate a sur­real com­pos­ite im­age with a com­bi­na­tion of shoot­ing and Pho­to­shop skills

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Shoot and stitch this in­cred­i­ble scene

We pho­tog­ra­phers love a good re­flec­tion, don’t we? Whether it’s a mir­ror-like lake, a per­fect puddle or a fleet­ing mo­ment caught in a win­dow, re­flec­tions are ripe ma­te­rial for all kinds of dy­namic pho­to­graphs. As a vis­ual de­vice, re­flec­tions also lend them­selves well to sur­real or con­cep­tual pho­to­graphs. So in this project we’re go­ing to use re­flec­tions in a slightly un­usual way, by cre­at­ing an end­less land­scape of mir­ror­like pools – and all we need for this is a sin­gle cir­cu­lar mir­ror.

Of course, we also need a few Pho­to­shop com­posit­ing skills. But as with all the best com­pos­ites, the real work takes place in-cam­era. We’ll take sev­eral shots of our scene and sub­ject, mak­ing sure the con­di­tions and light­ing stays con­sis­tent, be­fore piec­ing them all to­gether to come up with our sur­real mon­tage. To give it an ex­tra aura of mys­tery we’ll add a lit­tle mist, and drop in a few dis­tant moun­tains for a dra­matic back­drop.

When a frame is built from lots of pho­tos, the process of open­ing, copy­ing, past­ing then clos­ing can get mo­not­o­nous, so to speed things up we’ve in­cluded an ‘Ac­tion’ that au­to­mates the job for you. Used in com­bi­na­tion with Pho­to­shop’s ex­cel­lent Batch com­mand, we can work through an en­tire folder of pho­tos with­out ever need­ing to carry out the bor­ing bits. We’ll go on to fi­nesse our scene with sim­ple Pho­to­shop tricks un­til ev­ery­thing gels to­gether into one seam­less whole.

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