“Steal” Like an Artist – Advertising Photography Composite

I recently did an interesting and fun photo shoot with a friend Mark, who went all out and did anything and everything we needed for the shoot, including: wearing skin tight leggings, donning an itchy hat that was awfully constricting, and getting flashed in the eyes with a super-snooted flash that looked like a cannon aimed at his face. After just a few shots we had the lightning nailed down, but we spent most of the time trying to get the most out of the expression and position. Slowly things got more an more ridiculous. And with this kind of surreal, illustrational, comedic advertising photography, the more over-the-top the better! By the end he was acting and emoting so much that it didn’t even look like Mark anymore, but a caricature of a Parisian artist. Perfect for the vibe in the photo.

There was several hours of photoshop that were put in to make the final image as great as it is here. However, if we hadn’t captured the great expression, with the best kind of lighting, no photoshop could have fixed the photo. It would have been as they say “polishing a turd”.

Still, I thought it would be interesting to document the whole editing process by doing a screencast with Camtasia, which allows you to record video simultaneously with your computer’s camera (my mac’s iSight in this case). You can then edit the video with a lot of interesting effects, like adjusting the clip speed as I did in the first screencast, but also especially in this super-duper sped up version (below). Just for those of you with less patience, who just want to see the whirl of change, and not the actual photoshop techniques.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQjAJ5GtvO4′]

Here’s the whooooole thing.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQW-7u_IGDk’]

I’m very grateful for how well the shoot went. I originally thought of the idea shortly after reading Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I imagined a museum open to the public, where people can bring in canvases or sketchbooks, and freely copy work, in the hopes that their imperfect copies will take on a meaning and life all their own. The book is excellent at discussing the problem of feeling their is nothing original you can still produce in the world. It’s a short read, but very poignant. Thomas wrote a review of it here: Unlock Your Creativity. He highly recommends reading it as well.

This one photograph has now given me the inspiration to start a new series on photos of businesses or products that do not yet exist. More on that soon hopefully.


Any questions, put ’em in the comments below.





  1. Bryan – love the concept. You have executed every stage of this composite very well – I have better appreciation of what these shots require front to back – great job!

  2. Pingback: A Creative Advertising Concept Photo... in a shower - Cooper & O'Hara|Edmonton Commercial Photography - Advertising, Editorial, & Travel

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