family portrait by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

Breaking Down the Fairy Tale Composte

One of the more challenging aspects of being a Creative Dallas Portrait Photographer for families is squeezing in all the elements that represent each family member.

But it’s also what makes my Photillustrations so different from other family portrait photographers in Dallas.

Today, I’m going to break down my most recent Composite Photography of a family portrait so you can see how the details make great art.

Now, let’s see where this Fairy Tale takes us…

Fairy Tale Composite

As a Composite Photographer, my Photoshop skill level and my Photillustrator style are super important to pulling off a successful piece of art.

But the personal details I add to my Photillustrations is what makes them so special to the families I work for.

When I post my Composite Photography on photography Facebook groups, I frequently get criticism on the details I add to my Photillustrations, or I’ll be called out on how I light a piece to highlight specific details.

CLICK HERE to see my Photillustration Portfolio.

While, these critics may be justified, what’s more important to me than the 100% photographic accuracy, is the smile I see when my clients see their Photillustration for the first time at their Reveal Party.

That smile mean so much to me…

composite photography of fairy tale camping scene by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

I frequently get a call from my clients a few weeks after their Reveal Party saying something like, “I absolutely LOVE the Photillustration you did for us, and every time I look at it, I see something new.”

Who could ask for anything more?

Breaking Down the Fairy Tale

The Fairy Tale Composite was an idea long in the making, starting several months ago when Wes, the dad, and I came up with the idea of a Fairy Tale coming to life.

Did you notice the animals and trees coming to life from the forest?

Anyway, this Photillustration required 50 separate images to pull together, and over 24 hours of computer time to create.

All-in-all, it was well worth the neck and upper back pain I endured from hunching over my computer for so long.

dallas portrait photographer breaks down his fairy tale photo composite

#1 Foreground Bushes: I wanted to add depth to this portrait so I added some blurred out bushes in the front lower corners.

#2 Foreground Trees: Adding depth to the top of the portrait, I added some blurred out trees in the front upper corners.

#3 Foreground Hummingbirds: Again, adding depth to the portrait, I added a couple of hummingbirds in the foreground.

#4 Campground: This image was part of a tree line image I shot for this Composite.

#5 Armadillo: This was a stuffed armadillo in a shooting game at Bass Pro Shop.

#6 Squirrel: This squirrel was in a shooting game at Bass Pro Shop.

#7 Road Bike: Wes is an avid cyclist and this is his bike.

#8 Crapper: Wes and his family always have a five gallon bucket with a bag to do their business in while camping.

#9 Fire Pit: Stone fire pit.

#10 Fire: This was a stock image since I didn’t have a camp fire shot. (Add that one to my list)

#11 Whataburger Cup: Wes always has tea from Whataburger, and his daughter left him a nice little note on this one.

#12 Log: I found this log in a part while I was riding my bike around White Rock Lake.

#13 Wes: The dad, and while he hammed it up for the photo shoot, this was the perfect expression for this Photillustration.

#14 Fairy Tale Book Cover: Originally it was just a plain brown book.

#15 Jennifer: The mom, and this was just about the only image she gave me with a big expression. Lucky me for this Photillustration.

#16 Marshmallow Stick: I used a separate image of Jennifer because I like the angle of the stick better.

#17 Marshmallows: This is actually two separate image with the marshmallows, and a piece of fire from the camp fire.

#18 Fire Sparks: A stock image.

#19 Tent: The families new camping tent, which they assembled so Wes could hunt for a pair of earrings Jennifer thought she left in it after their last camping trip.

#20 Taylor: The daughter wanted to fly and pretend she was summoning the hummingbirds.

#21 Taylor’s Legs: I had her dad hold her so I could get a shot of Taylor’s lets for the composited Photillustration.

#22 Fairy Wings: I had Taylor hold her fairy wings so I could have them to composite onto her.

#23 Particle Effect: A stock image.

#24 & #25 Hummingbird: Hummingbirds are a big part of this families camping experience.

#26 Trees: I found the perfect trees on the side of the highway around 11 am one morning.

#27 Jennifer’s Dad: The face in the tree is an iPhone photo of Jennifer’s dad.

#28 Deer: This was a stuffed deer from Bass Pro Shop.

#29 Bush: Filler foliage.

#30 Jennifer’s Mom: The face in this tree is an iPhone photo of Jennifer’s mom.

#31 Bear: This was a stuffed bear from Bass Pro Shop.

#32 Tree: I shot several photos of trees for this Photo Composite.

#33 Wes’ Mom: The face in this tree is an iPhone photo of Wes’ mom.

#34 Tree: Yet, another tree.

#35 Wes’ Dad: The face in this tree is an iPhone photo of Wes’ dad.

#36 Background Trees: One of many tree scenes I photographed for this Photillustration.

#37 Flowers: Wes mentioned they frequently see flowers when they go camping.

#38 Raccoon: Another Bass Pro inmate.

#39 Stump: An arbitrary stump I photographed because I liked the way it looked, and it was fortunate enough to make the cut.

#40 Bobcat: Guess where this animal photo came from?

#41 Deer: Yep, all the animal photos came from stuffed animals at Bass Pro Shop.

#42 Forest: Forest shots I took for this Composite.

#43 Hummingbird Feeder: Wes and his family always hang up a hummingbird feeder when they go camping, and frequently have several hummingbirds visiting.

#44 & #45 Hummingbird: The forest is coming to life.

#46 Southwest Airplane: Jennifer works for Southwest Airlines.

#47 Stars: You got to have stars in the sky if you’re camping.

#48 Moon: And a bright full moon.

#49 Mountains: Wes and his family love camping up in Colorado, so I added some Colorado mountains in for them.

#50 Stream: Wes mentioned they like to camp around water and streams.

Some Photos I Used

So you have a better idea of where this Fairy Tale Photillustration began, here are some of the RAW photos I used right out of my camera.

bear photo by dallas portrait photographer

deer photo by dallas portrait photographer

photo of wes by dallas portrait photographer

photo by dallas portrait photographer

tree line photo

tree photo

That’s a Wrap

Hopefully now you can see why the details of my Photillustrations are so important to not only me, but especially to the families and people in the portraits.

In my opinion, the more details you have, the better the outcome.

The Reveal Party for Wes and his family included a 50 inch stretched canvas print, along with my custom Photillustrator Behind the Scenes book.

Now, let me know what you think of the DETAILS you see in my Fairy Tale Photillustration, and leave a comment below.

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