Playing With Photo Manipulation

Guest post by Justin McKee

This post is the first in a four-part series about photo manipulation. There are a lot more ways to manipulate photographs than the topics I’m going to write about in this series, but we have to start somewhere.

Most everyone has heard about Adobe Photoshop.

You can color-correct photos, fix skin flaws and change the composition of a photo entirely through photo manipulation.

When I first started out with Photoshop, I didn’t even touch photos. I used the program to paint with a tablet.

A tablet is just a small slate of plastic that comes with a pen. Like a mouse, you can plug it into your computer to control the cursor. The pen is pressure sensitive, so the harder you press, the harder a texture is applied when using the brush tool in Photoshop. It’s fun.

It’s actually really easy to paint in Photoshop once you know your way around the program’s many bells and whistles. I used to draw swords and landscapes.

If you’re bored, head over to my DeviantArt page. I haven’t been there in a while, but I’m just throwing that out there for the curious.

Shameless plug aside …

Photo manipulation is a ton of fun. The photo that goes along with this post is one of the easiest ways to play with photo manipulation.

I simply took three photos using a tripod (keeping that tripod in the same spot for each photo). I then put each image into Photoshop as individual files, color-corrected them all together using the Camera Raw plug-in and then proceeded to paste them all together into one file.

Once they were all together in the same file, I used masks to blend each version of myself into the same photo.

It sounds harder than it really is. It took probably five minutes altogether. Shooting the images actually took the longest — it’s not easy to play table hockey by yourself, OK?

There are a lot of ways to create this kind of composite image and there is a lot of room for creativity.

I only had three of myself in this photo, if I had the patience I could put hundreds of myself into the same image.

Give this type of photo manipulation a try sometime if you’re up for it and have the resources. It’s a good way to flex your creativity.

Next post I’ll cover another photo manipulation technique — Oh, and it involves fire.


Justin McKee is a small-town photographer with big ideas living in Michigan. In addition to portraits, wedding photography and video, he also enjoys wildlife photography. He always seeks to learn more about his craft.

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn’s fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander

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