portrait of karen mccrocklin and marla by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

Breaking Down my Gone to the Dogs Composite

Being a Dallas Portrait Photographer who creates such Fantastical and Custom Portraits, I’m frequently asked where do I get all the images I use for my Photillustrations?

Today, I’m Breaking Down my Gone to the Dogs Composite, so you can see the challenges for yourself.

Because I pride myself in being a Photographer, it’s always my goal to capture nearly 100% of the images I use.

Now, grab a hand full of dog treats and let’s get started.

Gone to the Dogs

I was commissioned to create a Signature Family Portrait by Karen and Marla who wanted to feature their five (5) dogs.

For some reason, I’m becoming known for the animals I put in my Photillustrations.

As you can imagine, working with five dogs, along with fabricating the scene itself, took a great deal of planning to pull off.

CLICK HERE to see my Photillustrator Sketch Book.

signature family portrait and composite photography of karen and marla with their dogs by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud
Signature Family Portrait

As a Composite Photographer, the number one thing that makes me better at my craft, is my ability to plan and quickly solve problems.

And problems always happen.

Now, let me treat you to a Behind-the-Scenes look at Gone to the Dogs.

Breaking Down Gone to the Dogs

From the Brainstorming, to the Sketch, to the Photography, to the Digital Illustration of every Photillustration I create, my job is solving a puzzle.

I approach each project as if it were a puzzle.

composite photography break down of dallas photographers gone to the dogs

#1 & #2 House: I used several images of the house to expose for the outside, but capture the details of the inside.

#3 Sky: I used one of the many stock images I’ve collected of skies.

#4 Flying Birds: I frequently like to add birds flying in the scene to give it a level of believability.

#5 Love Birds: The love birds were added as symbolism of the love between Karen and Marla.

#6 Karen: The concept went from Karen not being in the image, to her being front and center, and to be honest, it wouldn’t have worked any other way.

#7 Buster: This image of Buster the chihuahua is one of those magical moments you luck upon as a Composite Photographer, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

#8 Union Jack: Because the Vespa was all white, I added a Union Jack to break up the white so as to not get all the attention.

#9 Badass: I fun little addition requested by Karen, and again, breaks up the white of the Vespa.

#10 Grass: A vespa tearing through the yard without grass flying up isn’t very realistic, so I added some flying grass.

#11 Scooter Lights: I’m not a fan of unlit lights within a scene, so I added light to the lights.

#12 Marla: Marla is such a fun spirit, and this image portrays here perfectly.

#13 Treat Bag: In the original photo of Marla, the bag of Blue Wilderness treats was turned around, so I composited the bag in the right way.

#14 M&M’s: The bag of M&M’s is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#15 & #16 Sadie: In order to capture the perfect look from Sadie, I had to composite her head and body together from two separate images.

#17 Water: A dog coming up out of the pool without water splashing all over doesn’t make much sense, so I added some water.

#18 Pool: I moved the pool around so I could get the red chair in the background, while making room for the dogs.

#19 Sancy: This was an unplanned image that ended up working out great for this scene.

#20 Sassy: This was an unplanned image that ended up working out great for this scene.

#21 Lucy: This pooch has poor health, so it was important we capture a nice look from her, which I believe we did.

#22 Cookies: The cookies is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#23 Elf: The elf is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#24 Microphone: The microphone is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#25 Chain Saw: The chain saw is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#26 Tire Track: I added the tire track, which just made sense.

#27 Boots: The boots are one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#28 Cat Toy: This was a toy from one of their cats who had passed, which is a great way to incorporate a lost pet into the scene.

#29 Rocking Horse: Apparently, Karen is known for riding her rocking horse from time to time.

#30 Treats: The Blue Wilderness treats flying through the air adds fun and depth to the scene.

#31 Milk Bone: The milk bone is one of the 10 Hidden Items incorporated into the Gone to the Dogs scene.

#32 & #33 Treats: I photographed the treats in several different positions, which were used so it didn’t look fake.

#34 Dog Collar: The dog collar belonged to a past pet, which is a great way to incorporate and remember passed loved one.

Some Photos I Used

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

karen

house

pool

blue wilderness

rut

That’s a Wrap

The Gone to the Dogs Family Portrait was a really fun project that allowed me to try new things along the way.

What challenges do you think your Family Portrait will present?

Karen and Marla absolutely loved their Signature Family Portrait by Photillustrator, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to work with them on their portrait.

Have a question or comment? Leave it in the comments below…

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