Photography Tip: Compositing

I’m not going to walk you through how to use Photoshop to composite images, because there are many many tutorials for that (Lynda.com is a good one), but what I’d like to discuss here is what backgrounds to use for what subjects.  Above is an example.  I had taken the New York cityscape which I then used to composite my jumping dancer shot.  Flying hair is almost impossible to composite so it’s best not to. Here in this image, I attempted to clean up each curl and it just happened to work, but I don’t recommend it.  Best to make sure your model is wearing her hair in a bun or like a ballet dancer, with no hairs sticking out.  That’s really the best.  But a very important point is where you position your model onto the background.  Does the background really enhance the image?  Will the lines of the model get lost in the background?  Dark backgrounds vs light backgrounds: what is best?  For a dark model, a light background will work well.  For a model wearing light colors, a dark background will work well.  It’s an aesthetic thing.  Every photographer sees things differently, so it’s not a slam-dunk.  Have fun experimenting!