Speedliter's Blog is elated to feature a beautiful portrait by Toronto, Canada based photographer and digital artist Alana Lee. Alana has captured a collection of unique images that she uses to create beautiful and imaginative composite portraits featuring dinosaurs, dogs, dragons and more!
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What equipment did you use for this shoot?
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lenses: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Lights: Stella Pro Light 5000 Continuous LED (use this link for 20% off)
Modifier: Elinchrom Deep Umbrella Silver 41”
Stands: Kupo C-Stand with Runway Stand Base
Why do you use these photography products or brands?
I’ve always used a Canon camera. Recently, I upgraded from the 5D Mark III to the Canon R5. I love the eye autofocus that ensures I never miss focus and it has 45 megapixels which allows me to capture the absolute best quality images for stock, backgrounds and client portraits.
I work with continuous light exclusively and I just love Stella Pro Lights. They can be used outdoors or in a studio. These lights are powerful, rugged and dependable and also great for video.
Elinchrom offers such a variety of modifiers that allow me to shape light in just about any way I can imagine and Kupo light stands are heavy duty. The wheels on the runway stand allow me to easily move my light setup anywhere with ease.
How did you plan for this image?
For this image I wanted to convey the ideas of love and sacrifice. I created this image in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is about letting go of something or someone you deeply care about and how this causes unfathomable pain and despair, but you can always look inside your heart to find hope and joy.
We photographed the subject in studio using a Stella 5000 continuous LED inside an Elinchrom deep umbrella. You could easily create the same lighting by firing a strobe or speedlight off a wall or v-flat or similar modifier. The goal was to mimic natural light from the sun. Then I composited various elements together using stock photos I captured of sky, clouds and rocks. Finally, I added a digital wing overlay (available in my online store).
CAMERA SETTINGS: 1/100 - f/5.6 - ISO 640
How do you find stock images for your composites?
I always have a camera nearby so that I can capture stock images to add to my library of digital assets. Whenever I see an interesting object or scene I photograph it from a variety of angles and heights so that stock images can be matched up with the proper perspective in a composition. Overcast days are perfect for going outdoors to photograph stock because the light is neutral and versatile so the image can be used in many different scenarios. I keep my aperture small (higher number) so that the object I’m capturing is in complete focus. You can always add blur and depth of field during post production but it’s near impossible to bring something back into focus when editing.
What software and post-processing techniques did you use?
My workflow involves Lightroom, Photoshop and a variety of color grading tools. I use Lightroom to organize and manage my image libraries and do basic global adjustments to optimize exposure, highlights, shadows and white balance. My compositing work and color grading is all done in Photoshop. This is where I extract my subjects and stock from their original backgrounds and then combine them as layers to create the final composition. Once all of the elements are in place I use a variety of adjustment layers and blend modes to ensure all of the individual components have the same color tones and contrast. Finally, I either hand color grade my image or use color grading plugins such as the Infinite Color Panel or color grading actions from The Color Lab.
What are your thoughts about the final image?
I love creating composite images because there are literally no limits to what you can create. With a little imagination, anything is possible. The most important things to remember when creating a convincing composite image is to ensure the lighting and perspective are consistent across all elements and to practice, practice, practice!
Where can photographers find more of your work?
Shop for Digital Backgrounds, Textures & Overlays: alanaleephoto.com/shop-alana-lee-photography
Facebook: Alana Lee Photography
YouTube: Alana Lee Photography