Expanding Your Frame

When I am creating my self portraits I always frame it tight and then take pictures of the surrounding area when I am done posing. The reason I do this is because I like to be able to create multiple different looks from one concept. I can change the perspective of each piece. Today I am going to break down how I do this.

The first thing I do is my basic colour and exposure correction in Lightroom, then I copy the settings.

copy settings

To do this you right click on the photo you just edited, go to develop settings and then copy settings. Then you go to the pictures you want to extend your frame with and you paste the settings onto them. This makes sure that your images are the same exposure and tone.

Once the images you want to work with are opened up into Photoshop you are going to do a Photomerge.

photomerge 1

To get to the Photomerge option you go to File, then Automate and then Photomerge. It’s going to open a little window that looks like this.

photomerge 2

Now you are going to open all of the files you want to merge. This is kind of a cheat for expanding your frame. Sometimes there isn’t enough or too much going on in the pictures that Photoshop has difficulties merging them, but you can still do it manually, it just takes a lot more time and a lot of patience. Sometimes the picture can end up really distorted depending on how many shots you are stitching together. If it looks weird the first time you merge, try it again with the box next to Geometric Distortion Correction checked off. After you hit okay, it will process and you should end up with something like this.

photomerge 3

It is not perfect and usually needs some adjusting but in this case I am going to be cropping it still so everything worked okay. First thing I am going to do is merge and then crop it to what I want.

crop and fog

As you can see there was a little bit of smoke in the original image. I really like it but I felt there needed to be a little bit more. So I did a few things. I grabbed a fog texture off of Google, copied it into Photoshop and put the blending mode to Screen. Then I play with the opacity and mask out areas I do want. I also went back into Lightroom and grabbed a couple more pictures from that set that had smoke in different areas. I lined them up and masked out the areas I wanted to use. I also grabbed another shot to use to darken the smoke that was directly behind me. It felt a little to distracting.

tones and exposure

We are getting pretty close to the end of this edit now, and since this is a tutorial about extending your frame I am not going to go into a lot of detail about everything else I am doing. Basically I am editing the tones of the image by using different adjustment layers. Things like Channel Mixer to brighten the red of the string and Colour Balance to play with how warm or cool the highlights, midtones and shadows are.

The beautiful thing about Photoshop is how many different ways you can get to similar results. There is so much to play around with.

We have reached the end of this tutorial. I hope you learned something new today. Last thing I want to leave you with is a Before and After. =)

before and after

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