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