Photo Manipulation 101

Yesterday I had the idea to do a little photo manipulation project with my son, Nico. It’s been awhile since I did one of these, so I thought I’d share a little of the process here, so you can see how it all comes together.

The first thing is to come up with the idea. For this I just thought of putting him on a magic carpet. I knew it would be fun for him and relatively easy for me. So, I snapped a photo of him sitting crosslegged on our ottoman. Then I folded up a fleece blanket and took a shot of that at approximately the same eye level.

For the rest, I used images I had already in Adobe Lightroom. I combined a mountain scene with a nice sunset and then set to work on the photo manipulation of the magic carpet. Soon it became clear that the foreground wasn’t very interesting and I decided to add some water below the carpet.

Once the basic elements of the photo manipulation were in place it was time to do a lot of color grading, dodging and burning in order to make everything look like it fit together. After I got the tones where I wanted them with curves adjustments in Adobe Photoshop, I started adding gradient maps to bring the colors together throughout the image. 

By the end of the photo manipulation, I once again added a curves level to darken the outside of the piece and draw interest into the center of the image. Below you’ll see all the images I used in this photo manipulation. I hope you enjoyed! Maybe next time I’ll include a video of how it all came together. Have an awesome day!

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