creative family portrait of mindy stearns and glenn stearns in new port beach california

A Fairy Tale in 62 Average Photos

download the only ebook on composition for portrait photographers by dallas creative portrait photographer jason ulsrud Have you ever walked into a space, whether it be a home or an apartment, and you can visualize how to make it look awesome? Can see all the pieces that will make this blank canvas of a room spectacular?

I can’t do that with a house, but I can do that with a family portrait.

Today, I’m going to show you how 62 average photos came together to create one AMAZING portrait called “The Fairy Tale”.

Creating Great Composites boils down to one common denominator, which I’ll share with you in a few minutes.

For now, let’s lift the curtain to this Fairy Tale.

Why Composite Photography?

Before I lift the curtain on the Fairy Tale portrait and show you some of the original images used in this Composite, I want to ask you a question.

Why do you want to do Composite Photography?

I’m asking, because clearly you have some kind of interest in Composite Photography, otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now reading this.

Are you just goofing around with Compositing? Is it just a hobby? Do you want to make money from Composite Photography? or is Composite Photography and expression?

For me, Composite Photography opens up possibilities and captures the imagination. When I look at a space, like some do a house, I see a story that’s full of happiness and adventures.

Really! Leave your answer in the comments below.

From Sketch to Portrait

If you’re new to Composite Photography, or you can remember back to when you were just starting, the most burning question you probably have is about where to start.

“How do I create a Composite and where do I start?”

Don’t worry, after doing many Composites myself, I’m still asking that question with each new project I take on.

composite photography portrait of mindy and glenn stearns by composite photographer jason ulsrud

For this family portrait project with Glenn and Mindy Stearns, I met with Mindy for about 1 hour to brainstorm story ideas and discover what she’s like to see in her portrait.

From there I scouted the location and sketched out the scene concept for her portrait.

concept sketch for stearns composite photography portrait

Once the sketch is complete and I have client approval, I create a shot list to make sure I capture all the images I need for their Composite.

Then it’s on to the photography!

62 Fairy Tale Photos

I break the Photo Session down into 2 to 3 different settings, which include the Scene Photography, Character Photography, and Details Photography.

For Glenn and Mindy’s portrait, we met for their Discovery and Approval Session Saturday afternoon and I was photographing the scene by that evening, with all the character and detail photos the next afternoon.

1. Mindy & Glenn
2. Taylor’s Legs
3. Taylor’s Body
4. Brooke’s Legs
5. Brooke’s Body
6. Brooke’s Hair
7. Brooke’s Eyes
8. Skyler
9. Colby
10. Makenna
11. Tjaden
12. Charlene
13. Trevor
14. Amber
15. House Photo #1
16. House Photo #2
17. House Photo #3
18. House Photo #4
19. House Photo #5
20. House Photo #6
21. Pool Photo #1

22. Pool Photo #2
23. Pool Photo #3
24. Pool Water #1
25. Pool Water #2
26. Potted Plant Front
27. Palm Tree Bush
28. Right Front Palm Tree
29. Left Front Palm Tree
30. Main Palm Tree
31. Sky Photo #1
32. Sky Photo #2
33. Sky Photo #3
34. Flying Birds
35. Potted Plant Back
36. Peacock Splashes
37. Underwater Effect
38. Glenn’s iPhone
39. iPhone Call Graphic
40. iPhone Splashes
41. iPhone Water Splashes
42. Bear

43. Fluffy McMeow Meow
44. Pool Bottom
45. Fire Pit
46. Fire Pit Fire
47. Fireplace Fire
48. Glass Slipper Helicopter
49. Helicopter Blades
50. Flowers
51. Cool Emoji Beach Ball
52. Emoji Beach Ball
53. Minderella Yacht
54. The Bench
55. Hot Tub Water & Steam
56. KTLA Logo
57. Globe
58. Crown
59. Rooster
60. Little Bernie
61. Apple
62. Stearns Logo

Lifting the Curtain

The coolest thing about Composite Photography is that you’re creating a world that doesn’t otherwise exist.

If you’re going to create it, it might as well be EPIC, right?

Here’s a behind the scenes look at some of the original photos used for Glenn and Mindy’s amazing portrait.

As you can see, taking only one picture of the scene (background) wouldn’t have gotten us quite the visual effect as stitching many images together has.

before and after of mindy stearns and glenn stearns

before and after of trevor stearns

before and after of colby stearns

before and after of composite photography portrait

before and after of skyler stearns

That’s a Wrap

Every great Composite begins with a great Concept and great Composition, which I talk about in my FREE ebook on Composition.

Earlier, I mentioned that all Great Composites boil down to one common denominator, which isn’t entirely true, but this is one denominator that will help your Composites Stand Out and Get Noticed.

Your Composites are only as good as the scene you set.

The scene of your images carries as much weight, if not more, than the actual subject matter, and I even consider my scenes to be characters in my Composites.

Now, leave a comment below and tell me why you’re doing Composite Photography.

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