The secret to successful composite photography - part 1 - part 4 of 1 2 3 4

by George Fairbairn Published 01/10/2014


So what's the cheat you ask? A one-size fits all lighting set-up! By setting up three lights, one light as the key and a rim light either side behind the subject, you will create light on your subject that will fit virtually any lighting scenario. As with any 'cheat' there are pros and cons to using it.

The pros are that you can photograph a lot of different subjects and have a library of images to use in composites at a later date (remembering to shoot them at the same height and perspective as your background images!). The con is that, whilst it fits almost any scene, it's not the 'perfect' lighting unless your background image has a light source that will be directly behind your subject, or you have multiple light sources in the background.


The three light set-up is the perfect 'composite beginner' lighting set-up, however, you will eventually need to match the lighting on your subjects exactly with the lighting in your backgrounds for a more realistic and pleasing result.

As you can see from the amount of planning and detail that goes into creating a good composite image, it's not just editing. You can be the best editor in the world, but if you don't start with technically correct images the end results will never be perfect.

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1st Published 01/10/2014
last update 06/11/2019 11:06:25

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