Reflection of Love, a Photoshop Tutorial

Alright folks, yes we have been MIA, but the ‘A’ is the key letter there. Sometimes life requires a little bit of action and lately our lives have demanded it. And I must admit after committing to this blog and our little shop for this past year, it has been kind of nice to take a break, even if it was a short one. We have been preparing for Bazaars, putting on birthday parties, visiting with family, scheduling surgeries (yuck!) and continuing to take advantage of the amazing RAIN-FREE weather! While we all have enjoyed the weather in our own ways I have been trying to work on my photography skills. Some weeks I feel pretty confident about what I can do behind the camera and other weeks I feel like my nine year old could do a better job! Today I was working on some photos for one of my best friends and I wanted to share a fun little trick that I finally got to try out. The best part was…that it was a huge success! Please remember I am not a fancy photographer, yet, nor I am an expert with Photoshop, so the following tutorial is based on my limited skills. If you have a streamlined version or helpful hints for me I would LOVE to hear about them so leave a comment. With that being said I love the results I got and am calling it Reflection of Love. Lame I know but I couldn’t resist. I am supper excited to try this again. I can just see a bride and groom doing something amazing with it, but you will have to come back another time for that. For now enjoy the quiet creek version.

‘Reflection of Love’ a Photoshop Tutorial

The first thing you have to do is find a body of water where you (the photographer) can be in-front of the water and your subjects. You also need to make sure that your light source is behind your subjects so that you can get a great shadow. Once you have identified the perfect location you need to have your subjects pick their poses. You are going to take two photos; (1st) the BASE-photo which will be the upper half of your finial image, and (2nd) your TOP-photo, which will be the lower half of your final image. You want to figure out these poses before you take any pictures because it is important that you and your subjects move as little as possible between shots. If you have or use a tripod this would be the time to pull it out! My kids used mine to build a fort a few years ago and lets just skip to the crash/bang part of the story where the tripod was no more and my face was very red and scrunched up, ahhh sweet memories! Any-who…

For my BASE-photo I had my friends hold hands and look directly at me. I took a few shots like this trying very hard not to change the actual photo composition. I have a tendency to move a lot when I take photos so this is the hardest part for me. You also want to make sure that your subjects try not to change their positions, especially their feet. For this photo you want to focus on the actual subjects and not worry so much about their shadow.

Next you want to have your subjects move into their second pose, this will be your TOP-photo. With this photo you want to focus your attentions on the shadow and not worry so much about your actualy subjects. For mine I had my friends get a little lovey-dovey and pucker up. The important part here is that the feet and legs don’t radically change position. This is why I had my subjects give a little dutch-like kiss, simple and sweet with little movement. After you  have a few shots of the second pose you are done in the field, finish your session and head home.

The next step will require a photo-editing program or good old prints and scissors (remember editing photos like this after you had the actual prints and you wanted the flowers to be pink but the photo black and white…did I just age myself?)  I am using Photoshop CS4. You first need to look at all the photos you took for this moment and find one of each pose where there is little change in anything except the poses themsleves. Once you have identified the two photos you will be ready to begin.

Click on the TOP-photo (mine is the dutch-kiss photo) and pull it off of the top bar by clicking on the photo tag and dragging it down onto your work space. You should see both photos on your work space now.

Next make sure that your tool is set as the “hand” and then select the TOP-photo by holding down “CTRL-A,” right-click on your mouse and move your TOP-photo onto your BASE-photo then let go of the mouse button and just minimize the TOP-photo, in case you make a mistake and need to start over.

Now you should have your TOP-photo as a ‘layer’ on your BASE-photo.

Next I decrease the Opacity of the TOP-photo LAYER so that I can see both pictures at once. This makes it very blurry but it works for me.

Then I line up the feet of  both photos the best that I can.

Now that my photos are where I want them, I increase the Opacity of the TOP-photo LAYER so that I can only see that image.
Next I choose my Eraser tool and making sure that the TOP-photo LAYER is selected I erasedfeet UP. Take your time at the feet to make sure that your photos blend. Look for little details. If you take your time here it will make your photo seamless. Then continue to erase the top portion of the TOP-photo LAYER.
the top half of the photo from the
Once you are done you need to Flatten your image. Then Viola! You have a new image with a bit of each of the original photos. Now you can process your final image and enjoy your Refection of Love!

If you are local there is still great weather for some fun winter photo sessions. Just send me an email and we can talk.

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