Composite Photography

Lyle and Fiona at the Music Hall by Diana Lundin

In my secret world as a mild-mannered pet photographer, I photographed this "couple," Lyle and Fiona, as the mild-mannered Lyle and Fiona. Beautiful poodles, well-groomed, living the dream. Ah, but their owner had another dream. Once I began creating composites in my pet photography, she conjured up in her mind Lyle as a piano player, Fiona as a singer. And she asked me if I could do it. 

So in my mind, I envisioned Lyle in a tie and tails in front of a grand piano and Fiona in an evening gown. That's not what my client had in mind. Hers was a more gritty lounge or music hall. More downscale than upscale. And she thought Lyle should have a beret. 

Well, now I was starting to get the picture, different than it was in my head. And actually, the thought of trying to create Lyle in tails, besides his own tail, was pretty daunting for someone who does not draw. I repeat, I do not draw. I create worlds, yes, it's true, but they wouldn't exist if I had to draw them. Not even if I had to storyboard them. Not even with stick figures. 

We photographed the two of them in front of an unlit white background with one Profoto B2 with no modifier as the key light, and a Profoto B2 in an umbrella as the fill. My client envisioned Fiona maybe on the piano, stretched out, but that wasn't happening. We just couldn't make that work. So I had her stand and lay down and her image in this composite is a head from lying down and her body from standing up. 

Lyle -- Lyle, let's say, really wasn't interested. Now, these are big dogs and my client is a little woman and she was trying to prop him on an apple box so we could give the illusion he was tickling the ivories. We got one perfect picture. But guess what? In compositing, that's all you need. 

And so once I saw what I had, I began putting the composite together. There are 11 elements; a background, a tip jar, the money (which actually took five objects to put some scratch into the jar), a piano, a bench, Lyle, the beret, Fiona, a bow, a microphone, and a stand. And then a blitz of Photoshop magic. And voila! Lyle and Fiona, ready for their Summer Tour 2017.

And that's how it's done, son. Want one for yourself? Write me here at The Secret World's Secret Headquarters and let's dream something up. Who will your pet be?

Lyle and Fiona, World Tour 2017. Pet photography composite.

Lyle and Fiona, World Tour 2017. Pet photography composite.