Movie Poster Photography: "Self/Less"

I just finished this new photography and Photoshop project of mine: a movie poster remake of the movie, “Self/Less” with Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley. When I tell folks what type of professional photography that I enjoy most, I often mention that it’s the type of commercial photography that you would see on a movie poster, or a book cover. So, again, here is yet another movie poster recreation of mine.

This year, I want to crank out at least one creative photo project a month. I want to both try things that I’ve seen online—like this movie poster—and come up with new concepts on my own. I saw the movie poster for “Self/Less”, and thought it looked like a fun creative challenge.

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (with text).

My Approach

First I had to find something to remake the ‘head’ wrapped in plastic. I quickly realized that doing that as a self-portrait was not easy, and not the best idea. So, I bought a mannequin head, and used that (much easier). I then wanted the right trench coat, so I found a cheap one online that fit the look I was going for, but it took a bit of time to get it delivered. Then, I just sat up a mirror in front of the camera, and set it to take multiple shots. After about 50 or so shots, I finally got one that I liked.

Then, that ‘dispersion’ affect was one I’ve seen for a long time, and wanted to try sometime, and this was the perfect project for it. I cut up small pieces of black cinefoil, took pictures of them w/ my iPhone, and created eight different Photoshop brushes to use in the image. It worked out rather well—a fun technique.

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (without text).

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (without text).

More Photography Projects Like This

I really enjoy doing this creative photo composites, and photo manipulations. They really push me to problem solve to figure out how to best shoot it, and how best to approach the Photoshop work so that it looks as realistic as possible. I definitely plan on doing more photo projects like this for myself, and really hope to be able to work with more clients on projects like this.

Movie Poster Photography: "Cold Souls" Parody

I really hope you enjoy this new photography and Photoshop project of mine: a movie poster parody. When I explain to people what type of professional photography that I enjoy most, I often mention that it’s the type of commercial photography that you would see on a movie poster, or a book cover. So, I just had to recreate a movie poster.

I’ve been so busy with my day job, that I haven’t been putting much time in, or pushing myself creatively. So, this year, I really want to try and crank out at least one creative photo project a month. I want to both try things that I’ve seen online—like this movie poster—and come up with new concepts on my own. I saw the movie poster for “Cold Souls” with Paul Giamatti, and thought it looked like a fun creative challenge, so I took my own spin on it. Yes, I know that I spelled it “Cold Soles”, I just didn’t want to copy it exactly, out respect.

Movie poster photography. A “Cold Souls” movie poster parody.

My Approach

Can you say tripod and remote trigger? It’s so much easier to be just behind the camera, than to be both behind and in front of the camera. Focus is harder, lighting is harder, and it just takes a lot longer. Nonetheless I pulled it off: grabbing images of myself, and a few images of a bowl that I used in my composite as the inside of the heads to give it a more realistic look.

I shot the portraits with a blue-green background, but wound up doing full cut-outs of the headshots, so I’m not sure if it helped me that much to color light my backdrop, but I don’t think it hurt. And, it probably helped me blend it in better to my final background.

Movie poster photography. A “Cold Souls” movie poster parody (without text).

More Photography Projects Like This

I really enjoy doing this creative photo composites, and photo manipulations. They really push me to problem solve to figure out how to best shoot it, and how best to approach the Photoshop work so that it looks as realistic as possible. I definitely plan on doing more photo projects like this for myself, and really hope to be able to work with more clients on projects like this.

Mountain Bike Stuntman, Jeff Lenosky

Last weekend I had a chance to work with Jeff Lenosky, an American world class professional Freeride and Trials Mountain Bicycle Rider.

Jeff Lenosky jumping his mountain bike over some brave little fans.

I connected with Jeff on Facebook, in hopes of catching up with him for his show here in Indianapolis at Bicycle Garage Indy, and making some great images of him doing his amazing stunts.  It was an absolute blast getting to know Jeff, and working with him.  I shot five of his six shows, and by the fifth one I was starting to dial it in, and get myself positioned in better and better spots to get some good shots.  I even wiggled my Jeep into a spot behind his stunt obstacles and trailers to get an elevated shooting perspective.  I wanted to be able to get Jeff some great photos that he can use with his sponsors (e.g., Giant Bicycles, Vittoria, and Ergon Bike).  All in all, it was a really good shoot.  Next time I want to focus a little more on some of his key sponsors and get some detail shots of their products.      

Photo Composite & Manipulation - Boy on Rhino

I just created a new photo composite.  I spent some time over the Christmas & New Year holidays practicing and working on my Photoshop compositing and photo manipulation techniques.  I grabbed multiple images that I had taken, and slowly started putting them together.  For the background I used an image of Multnomah Falls, in Oregon, that I captured when I was there.  I used an image of my nephew to add a human element--plus, he's just plain cute.  I composited in images of a rhinoceros, an elephant, and a bird that I had taken at the Indianapolis Zoo.  The Parthenon was taken in Nashville Tennessee.  The bridge was from Meadow Park Lake in Crossville, TN.  The steps and doors were taken here in Indianapolis, but the alligator was not--it was from our trip to New Orleans.  There's a few other pieces from here and there, but all of them were captured by me.  

Photo manipulation & composite of a boy on rhinoceros near a waterfall

Photo manipulation & composite of a boy on rhinoceros near a waterfall

Advertising Photography Mt Dew Cliff Climber On Spec

I had an idea/concept for a guy hanging from a cliff, that ultimately morphed into Mt Dew (on spec) advertisement photography shoot.  All of the elements of this composite image were captured by me:  I scouted and captured the cliff in Shades State Park in Indiana; the bear was captured at the Indianapolis Zoo; I used my roof, and a vine cut from my back yard to get the perspective, angle, and lighting right for the climber; and snapped the Mt Dew shot as well.  I pulled it altogether in Photoshop:  matching color, saturation, luminosity, and adding some light streaks to bring the final image together.  

Mt Dew Cliff Climber concept composite components, and final image.

Photo Composite of Downtown Indianapolis, IN

I had the idea to create a photo composite of some of the marquee buildings in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Downtown Indianapolis Indiana

In order for the final image to work, I knew that I needed to do two things:  1) capture the images at about the same time of day, and 2) to capture the images from approximately the vantage point.  Therefore, I hustled downtown one morning, and intentionally captured the images from a south-facing vantage point.  I also captured some images of the bricks, sky, canal, and street that I knew I would need to use to pull the various components together.  In hindsight I would have paid a lot more attention to the edges of my components, and to where I would cut them off and make the transition.  That said, I pulled them all into Photoshop and cut out each component, and then warped them a bit to give a more whimsical look, and then added a sun flare to add some drama.  

Photo Composite & Manipulation: Lion on Jeep

I was anxious to make a new composite image, and do a little photo manipulation in Photoshop.  I like to continually push myself to learn more about my craft, so that I will be better prepared to apply these skills to commercial and advertising photography assignments.  I looked through the images that I had, and pulled out a lion (shot at the Indianapolis Zoo); an image from the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO; a shot of a dry lake bed from Grey, TN; and a Jeep (Willys, I believe) from the War Bird Expo, here in Indianapolis.  Here are the elements I used, and the results are below that.

Photo Composite Elements:  Lion; Jeep Willys; Garden of the Gods; & dry lake bed.

Photo Composite Elements:  Lion; Jeep Willys; Garden of the Gods; & dry lake bed.

I had a few key challenges:  lighting, perspective, and some missing lion parts.  I had to take the dry lake bed, retouch it, then duplicate it multiple times so that I could squish it into a perspective that would match the Jeep.  

The light direction on the Jeep was the primary lighting perspective that I had to work with (light from the left and behind).  This wasn't the lighting that was on the lion, so I had to do a bit of shading to make it look similar.  The lighting on the Garden of the Gods was usable, once I flipped it over.  

The lions right paw was chopped off in the image, so I had to duplicate her left paw, and make a right paw out of it.  

Shading had to be considered.  I had to shade the Jeep where the lion sat, and copy over the shadow of the Jeep from the concrete to the dry lake bed.  

I pulled it altogether, balancing out color, hue, saturation, and luminosity.  I added in a sun haze from upper left, and added lights on the Jeep to try and help bring more harmony to the composite image.  All in all, I think the image came together quite well.  Had I shot the images with this particular end in mind, I would have shot them differently, but given what I had, it worked out.  

Photo Composite:  Lion on Jeep (final image)

Photo Composite:  Lion on Jeep (final image)