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How do you create an impossible memory?

January 9, 2017

 

What do I mean by creating impossible memories? Bringing people or situations into one image that could never actually happen. Similar to the motorbike image, that I made previously, I was asked to bring three generations of brides, who all wore the same dress (with some modifications each time), into one image. Challenges like this are the sort of thing that I really thrive on as you have to use many different skills to make it happen.

 

This was made more difficult as I couldn't make this one a sepia toned, rustic look as it would have looked more like a ghostly type of photo. The only photo of the original wedding dress was in black and white and I only had one photo of the full length gown in which part of the bride was obscured by the groom. The second generation photos were from the 70's so they had their own colour toning and grain and finally the third generation wedding was in 2015 which meant the photos were digital, sharp and had great colour tones. Challenge accepted!

 

First thing to manage was finding three images that would work well enough together for the final composition. Each one had to be meticulously cut out first and any repairs or cleanup done to the image before I could even get into the steps required for compositing. Check out the animated gif at the end for a breakdown of how it was all put together.

 

After these were cut out and repaired I moved onto the steps required for compositing them together into an image that looked realistic.

 

 

Many hours can be spent in this stage because there is so much to manage like lighting, colours, grain, overall tones and so on. Everything has to match in order to make it look plausible that they were in the same photo together. 

 

There was quite  a lot that had to be manufactured to finish the image, such as veils, hems and in some cases arms! The original black and white photo had to be recoloured as well. The veils were also one of the most difficult aspects of cutting out in two of the images due to the quality of the original images. They were basically blocks of white so I had to get creative to bring them back to life. This is where experience, time and attention to detail make the difference.

 

Then it was about finding the right background and what lighting that had in it so that I could match the images together. Even this required a lot of work as the background I chose was from one of the latest wedding images but I had to photoshop out the people that were there and make a composite of two different images as well.

 

Knowing the size that the final image is to be printed out can make a big difference as this also influences what is in the final image and how to crop the image at the end.

 

After many hours of work and a lot of rework it was time to move on to the final phase of the process. This is where you finish adding shadows and overall lighting to the image to bring it all together and sell the final look and bring out the points that you want people to focus on. This is done with a combination of lighting, blur and vignettes. Too heavy on any of these elements and it can have the opposite effect but it often comes down to a 'flavour to taste' situation where you have to make a call.

 

Below is the final image and below that is a quick animated gif of the different layers being worked. Due to the nature of the project and the additional work required it took more than the motorbike image to complete, all up just over 8 hours. The brides in the photo were over the moon with the final image and many people have commented on how amazing the image looks and how did they manage to get all three of them in a photo together, so job done!

 

If you would like me to create an impossible memory for you then just email me and let's talk about what you would like done.