Fantasy Images

For expectant parents, a sonogram provides an exciting opportunity to "preview" the baby in the womb. Through the technological advances that digital imaging offers, photographers can now help clients to preserve the magical feeling that comes from catching a glimpse of the baby in the uterus. You can use the process outlined below to create a composite portrait that super-

Baby Belly PhotographyWww Baby Womb 2months

portrait that's highly desirable to your clients. atin9 them involves imPortin9 the newborn

... _ n . .. . ,,,,,, baby's photo into Photoshop and working a little

Photographing the Belly. When photographing the mother s belly, be portrait that's highly desirable to your clients. atin9 them involves imPortin9 the newborn

... _ n . .. . ,,,,,, baby's photo into Photoshop and working a little

Photographing the Belly. When photographing the mother s belly, be sure to capture it at its widest point. Depending upon how the mother is carrying, this usually is from the front, but in the case of the twins, the best angle may be from the side. The lighting should illuminate the main portion of the belly but should not be so intense that detail is lost in the highlights.

Creating this "twins in the womb" portrait was fairly easy. We started with a portrait that allowed for an unobstructed view of the shape of the tummy and then created a portrait of the twins nestled closely as they would have been in the uterus. To ensure the best-possible effect when creating an image like this, you will want to capture the pregnancy at the latest date possible so the tummy size appears appropriate for a full-term baby (or babies). The timing can be tricky: in this case, the session was held four weeks before the due date, since twins traditionally come early. As it turned out, this mother went into labor immediately after the session.

It is important to hold the texture of the skin, as this will add to the realistic feel of the image. Lighting from the side of the subject and using a lighting ratio of 3:1 or greater will help you sculpt the subject's figure and enhance the feeling of dimension in the image.

When creating an image to be used in a composite like this, take care that the mom's hands and any props do not cut into the view of the tummy. This will facilitate compositing the images in Photoshop. There is one notable exception to this rule: it can be a good idea to cover the belly with a sheer, almost transparent fabric. The fabric layer adds to the natural transition between the belly and the baby. Without the fabric, it can be difficult to achieve a smooth transition, and the image may end up looking too contrived.

Photographing the Baby. The second component of the fantasy image is the newborn portrait. Portraits of babies who arc six days to three weeks old seem to work best. At this age, the babies can be easily brought into the studio. Also, by this time, the mom and baby will have an established and ef-

Pictures Babys Mommys Tummy

Though steeping babies usually appear more realistic when digitally imposed on the mommy's tummy, there are times when an expression works perfectly with the mood of the image. Here, the baby's expression works well with the older siblings' expressions. Additionally, the little hands of the baby, positioned close to the face, harmonize with the hands of the mom and siblings.

Though steeping babies usually appear more realistic when digitally imposed on the mommy's tummy, there are times when an expression works perfectly with the mood of the image. Here, the baby's expression works well with the older siblings' expressions. Additionally, the little hands of the baby, positioned close to the face, harmonize with the hands of the mom and siblings.

fcctive feeding pattern; this can help ensure the baby is calm, and sleepy, for the image. A sleeping baby appears more like a baby in the womb.

The fabrics used in the pregnancy session will help you determine which fabrics to photograph the infant against. Try to photograph the baby against a fabric that matches the mother's skin tone as closely as possible for easier blending once the images are combined.

The easiest way to photograph the baby is to place the background fabric over the mother, then place the newborn in her arms. Have the mother curl the baby into a tight little ball, simulating the way the baby would appear in the womb. Take several images from various angles. If possible, ensure that the quality and direction of the light used in the pregnancy portrait is re created in the image of the baby. If this is not possible, you may be able to flip the image in Photoshop or do a little image editing to ensure the two im ages are better matched.

In the following sections, we will review the specific strategies used to create composites.

Baby Makes Three

The portrait of the father and mother was captured at the client's home approximately one month before the baby was born. The image of the newborn was captured about ten days after birth. To create the newborn's portrait, we draped the mother in fabric and placed the baby in her arms.

1. Both images were opened in Photoshop.

2. A duplicate layer (Laycr>Duplicate I^iyer) was created, and some minor retouching was done.

3. The varied skin tones of these three subjects made the image a good candidate for a color to black & white conversion. To accomplish this, the image was flattened (Layer>Flatten Image), then the Kubota Artistic Actions Vol. Two New B&W action was selected in the Actions palette, and the effect was applied by hitting the Play button.

4. The image of the baby was flattened and resized to suit the size of the mom's stomach. The portrait was dragged above the layer containing the pregnancy portrait. Next, the Eraser tool, set to various opacities, was used to erase the fabric the baby was photographed upon. The baby was moved into the desired position on the belly. Note how well the position of the baby complements the position of the father's face and expression.

5. The background layer was renamed Layer 0 to unlock it so that the layer with the baby could be dragged below the pregnancy portrait layer. A layer mask was created on the pregnancy portrait layer, and with the Brush tool set to black and with an opacity of 73%, the baby was revealed. (Hint: Take care to reveal only what is needed to tell the story of the image.)

6. Finally, the image was flattened (Layer>Flatten Image), then the Kubota Artistic Actions Vol. Two F^dge Burner action was selected in the Actions palette, and the effect was applied by hitting the Play button.

Left—This screen shot shows the two images that will be composited and finessed to create the fantasy image. Right—This screen shot shows the image of the baby positioned on the mother's tummy.
Left—A layer mask was created, and the Brush tool, set to black and an opacity setting of 73%, was used to reveal the image of the baby. Right—Adding a vignette with the Edge Burner action was the final step required in producing this fantasy portrait.
Composite Photography Fantasy

Facing page—The final composite image. Top-First, both images were opened in Photoshop. Bottom—The image of the twins was dragged onto the photo of the mom, and the babies were positioned on their mom's tummy.

Twins

The maternity portrait showcased in this section was captured late in the pregnancy. Given the size of the mom's belly from carrying twins, it was necessary to cover her tummy with fabric. After investigating several positions, she was photographed from above with light coming from a window directly in front of her.

The twins were photographed in their home less than three weeks after they were born. Some babies can become very fussy during the session. Having their mother hold them can be a problem, as they may want to nurse if they sense that Mom is nearby. Faced with this situation during this session, we had their grandmother sit down near a large window in the home and covered her with a white backdrop. When the babies were asleep, they were positioned very close together and photographed on grandma's lap.

Both images were imported into Photoshop, and the following steps were taken to produce the composite fantasy image.

1. Both images were opened in Photoshop.

2. The image of the babies was cropped, dragged over the pregnancy portrait, and positioned on the mother's belly. The edges of the fabric around the

Facing page—The final composite image. Top-First, both images were opened in Photoshop. Bottom—The image of the twins was dragged onto the photo of the mom, and the babies were positioned on their mom's tummy.

Top—This screen shot shows the appearance of the Layers palette, illustrating the steps applied in step 3. Bottom—(Left) This screen shot shows the Protect Highlights and Protect Shadows values selected in the filter's Advanced palette. (Right) This screen shot shows the Grain, Brightness, Smear, and color values assigned in the filter's Basic palette to create the final filter effect.

babies was erased using different opacity settings to create a realistic tran sition from the fabric under the babies to the mother's skin.

3. The layers were renamed, and the layer containing the image of the babies was dragged below the pregnancy portrait layer. A layer mask was applied, and the Eraser tool, set to various opacity settings, was used to reveal the image of the twins and to blend the areas where the two images met to create a realistic transition.

4. Next, the image was darkened slightly in Levels, and hot spots were re touched with the Clone tool.

5. The Monday Morning filter was opened. In the Advanced palette, Protect Highlights was set to 100% and Protect Shadows was set to about 50%. In the Basic palette, the slider settings for this filter were Grain = 0%, Bright ness = 30%, Smear = 38% (this falls within the highlighted area of the slider, indicating the range of values that will produce the best effects for the selected image), and Color = 100%. With these settings in place, clicking OK applied the filter.

6. Next, the image was flattened (Layer>Flatten Image). To finish the portrait, Kubota Artistic Actions Vol. Two Edge Burner action was used. To apply the effect, we simply selected the action in the Actions palette and hit Play.

Top—This screen shot shows the appearance of the Layers palette, illustrating the steps applied in step 3. Bottom—(Left) This screen shot shows the Protect Highlights and Protect Shadows values selected in the filter's Advanced palette. (Right) This screen shot shows the Grain, Brightness, Smear, and color values assigned in the filter's Basic palette to create the final filter effect.

Toddler Playing With Genitals

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