I thought you might want to see how I composed a recent photomontage.

First, I had no plan to make this composition. I didn’t think “Gee, I’m have this composition in mind with a woman in a gown standing in the desert with a coyote.” No, with this, as with most of my compositions, I saw an image that grabbed me and it grew from there.

I was browsing an online fashion and home decor catalog (Stylehive, if you really want to know), and I came across this image that really caught my attention.

I usually try to use my own photographs whenever possible, but since I have no plans on selling this piece and I composed it as a mere amusement for myself and a few others, I grabbed the image. As you will see in the finished piece, I heavily manipulated the image using Photoshop.

Next, I needed a visual context for the woman. I reviewed all my personal photographs and found nothing suitable, so I opened up Terragen, a landscape generating program, and crafted this background. This was perhaps the hardest part of the composition.

Next I pulled up two of my own photographs that I took at a local nature reserve that seemed to be an appropriate fit for the desert background. I extracted the foreground shrubbery in one and the background trees in the other.

I started putting these images together in Photoshop, moving around the layers until I was satisfied with the balance. However, it seemed a little unexciting. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that the woman needed a mascot and that the desert scene suggested some sort of desert animal. The coyote popped immediately into mind. So I started googling coyote images until I found one that would fit the composition.

After putting together the elements, making sure that shadows were all falling in the same direction, I began applying Photoshop filters to give the feel of a painting. There came a moment when I thought, “that’s it; it’s finished”, and I was left with this final composition that I entitled “Desert Muse.”

I hope this little demonstration has been helpful to you as you construct your own compositions.

L.Gloyd (c) 2008

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