Portrait Head-swap! Using Photoshop to blend two images.

I think this is probably the first technical post I have made about my work and process. I just wanted to put out a piece that shows a not so uncommon photoshop job I would do on a  family portrait.

A quick background to the image, it was a summer evening shoot just outside Malmesbury. The shoot took in various locations along a river walk including this one in the long meadow grass. A mixture of the beautiful available evening light and my trusted Elincrom Quadra’s, I shot about 15 images in this location, my typical method is to fire 3 similar frames before I either re-frame, re-focus, or move around my subjects. This gives me amongst other things the opportunity to make a better image in post production if something does not quite work out – as happened in this instance, the boys were great in one image, Mum and Dad in another.

The final Image is above, but lets start with the original image:Head-swap original image

As you can see there is an obvious problem with Mum and Dad in the image, I love the fact they are laughing but for this brief we need to see their eyes, fortunately I have an image from just a few moments later that’ll help me out.

Head-Swap image 2

I don’t need all of this image, just Mums head and Dad’s eyes, and thats all I used. The images are similar but not identical so I made two selections so I could them move scale and rotate them individually to get them positioned onto the bodies from the main image. Head swap selections

The selections are very rough as I blend the images with layer masks, as you can see below, only what is needed to make the images fit is left visible, and these are carefully blended with a soft brush along the natural lines of the image.

Head swap masked

And here is the final image, subtle enough that with out the break down images between if would be difficult to tell this was not a single shot. I like the result, the client loved the result and has it hanging in their home right now! Happy client, happy photographer!

Head swap final image

For those interested, technical information: Canon Eos 5dmk3, EF 24-70 f2.8 @ 50mm, 1/200 sec at f8.0, Elincrom Quadra Ranger single head in Portalite octo box.