This week, there wasn't a stunning model in sight.

I spent the entire week at my Macbook, with my Wacom in front of me, not doing beauty retouching (these guys were too far gone for a little bit of D&B to make them look beautiful), but plummeting down the Rabbit Hole of Compositing.


Well, early last year, the direction that I want to take with my photography cemented in my mind. I discovered the work of Joel Grimes.

Joel is a Portrait and Commercial photographer, who also started his photographic journey doing a lot of landscape work. These days, he shoots classic studio beauty, fashion, and composite/ conceptual portraiture. These are all areas of photography I love (with the addition of the classic headshot, nothing beats showing someone how good they can look with a “simple” headshot!), and so it locked into my heart where I wanted to go, and provided me with an idea of the path I would need to take.

So the last 12 months has been a case of work, train, work, train, train, train, work. There are a lot of skills to develop to do this work, and to do any of them properly, isn't just a case of watch a few tutorials and become an instant master.

Tutorials…. well, geographically, Tasmania is about as far from anywhere as you can be, so tutorials did make up a big part of the training.

To start off with, I looked to the training videos that Manfred Werner provides at He has made available a large number of free and paid tutorials, and having used a few in the early days of beauty retouching, I started off looking at his compositing videos.

Next on my list was the work of Glyn Dewis. Glyn is a UK based photographer/retoucher, and his online tutorials are great, and led me full circle back to Joel Grimes.

I love conceptual portraiture, and it works brilliantly alongside the normal studio work that I love doing, because as with any form of photographic art, light is key. If you don’t get it right, it doesn't work. And with Composites, if you don’t understand light and shadow, something will always look wrong with the image, and as Joel says, its all about “selling the fake”. Its the little things, light, artefacting, accuracy, that all go together to achieve this. Weakness in any one area will make something look not quite right.

Anyway, after about a year of learning the techniques, practicing on a daily basis, doing work noone will ever see, I decided it was time to actually put it into practice.

Now I’m never one to go half measures, so what better way to commit, than to shoot an entire team.

I had been talking to the guys from the Burnie Emu’s Rugby Union Club for a few weeks a personal project that I have in the works, and as luck would have it they were after a photographer to do some team photos to show off their new Jerseys. So we struck a deal, and I headed over to their clubroom to set up a mini studio to get some shots.

It was pretty wet that evening, and I had a tight schedule, so I grabbed a classic team photo, and then a couple of individual shots of each of them to use for some Composite portraits.

Anyway, 19 players takes a fair amount of editing, but a week after doing the shots and after a quick trip up to the ground on a dry evening for a bracket of HDR’s for a background, I had the full set finished.

So enough talk! Here’s a few images!

The final product....all is not what it seems!

It started here!

It started here!

Add some HDR

Add some HDR