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5 Steps to Make a Flat Background Look Realistic

If you can create convincing composites in post-productions, the range of final images you can create from a single shoot increases exponentially. In this tutorial, find out how to put your subject on a background and have it look realistic.

Adobe Photoshop — or really any photo editing tool — can be intimidating at first. You know that what can be achieved is borderline limitless, but also the learning curve is incredibly steep in the beginning. It's all too easy to make your edits look unconvincing, low quality, and amateurish.

In this video, Unmesh Dinda creates a composite of a subject and a background, and makes it look as realistic as possible, which is the very essence of compositing. While I tend not to do too much in the way of composite images, I have had to do several over the years and I find that the success of the final image hinges on one particular attention to detail. That detail is light. It's essential you look at not only the direction of the light, but also the harshness of it, and even the temperature in some cases. If the light doesn't make sense, your composite will look like a composite, and that's not what you want. A good composite is a bit like good sales; if you can tell you're being sold too, it's not good sales.

What is the telltale sign for you that an image isn't real and is a composite? Is there something you find most photographers overlook?

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