Quick Composites From Photo to Finish, with Calvin Hollywood

Join Calvin Hollywood, German photographer known the world over for his stunning portraits, as he takes you from the studio to the desktop and shows you, step by step, how to create a realistic composited image that tells a story in less time than you think.

Putting a photo of your subject on a different background (compositing) does not have to be painstaking work, nor does it require any expensive plugins or additional filters. Join Calvin Hollywood, German photographer known the world over for his stunning portraits, as he takes you from the studio to the desktop and shows you, step by step, how to create a realistic composited image that tells a story in less time than you think.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 02:35)

Calvin introduces himself and talks about what he will be covering in the course

Lesson 2: Studio Overview (Duration 04:27)

Calvin explains his studio set up, the reasons behind background choices and prop placement, and the importance of having a team.

Lesson 3: Styling for Compositing (Duration 03:12)

Details matter when it comes to compositing - especially when you're telling a story. Making the clothes, hair and makeup match the final vision.

Lesson 4: Camera Settings (Duration 05:37)

Calvin shares his camera settings and white balance to achieve the depth of field and look he's going after. Plus, find out why tethered shooting is important in composite shots.

Lesson 5: Every Picture Tells a Story (Duration 07:36)

The story Calvin created for his portrait unfolds as he shoots to capture both the vision and the details of his story via technique and art direction.

Lesson 6: Finishing the Shoot (Duration 05:18)

You are in the studio, you got the shot, but why not take advantage of the situation to fire off some different shots to experiment with later?

Lesson 7: Textures (Duration 04:33)

You do not necessarily need the whole scene. Calvin explores the space around the studio to find textures for his composited background and to add to his personal library for a multitude of uses.

Lesson 8: Raw Conversion (Duration 04:24)

Calvin takes you through his Raw Conversion process. Your process may vary but here is what works for him in order to create his composite.

Lesson 9: Converting for Details (Duration 06:12)

Remember the importance of details from he shoot? Calvin converts his photo to bring out the most in his picture.

Lesson 10: Getting Freaky with the Details (Duration 07:31)

If the importance of details has not hit home yet, Calvin drives it there with his freaky amazing detail (FAD) technique.

Lesson 11: Quick Retouch (Duration 03:59)

Since it is not a beauty shot, a quick retouch with the healing brush is pretty much all you need.

Lesson 12: Adding the Background (Duration 06:34)

The reason behind Calvins choice of background during the shoot comes to light as he begins to build his composited shot without losing his original shadows.

Lesson 13: A Wall Becomes a Floor (Duration 06:43)

Using a wall texture from lesson 7, Calvin shows exactly how textures can become whatever to need them to become.

Lesson 14: Shine a Light (Duration 04:13)

Calvin shares the simplest aspect of his workflow that affects 99% of all his work - vignettes.

Lesson 15: Color Manipulation (Duration 08:09)

Experimenting with gradients, contrast and selective color to set the tone of the picture.

Lesson 16: Textures Revisited (Duration 04:41)

Calvin adds an amazing light-and-shadows effect to the composited photo with a picture of a grate from his textures library.

Lesson 17: Artistic Touches (Duration 05:14)

The artistry of Calvins workflow emerges as he adds his finishing touches freestyle, encouraging you to do the same in your projects.

Lesson 18: Recap (Duration 04:27)

Calvin goes over the entire lesson and gives a quick recap that will have you clicking on your own composites while muttering, Before. After. Before. After. in no time.

Meet Your Instructor: Calvin Hollywood

Calvin Hollywood is a digital artist, photographer, Photoshop trainer and author from Germany. He's a photography based artist who focuses on getting the perfect shot with Photoshop. In addition, he…


  1. The most wonderful tutorial I have ever done, Calvin has so much insight about composition, design and photograpy I am just bown away, No worries about posting my feedback. Pat Robards Australia

  2. This was an excellent course! To be honest, my interest is still life but the techniques taught in this course were wonderfully generalisable. I also learned a few miscellaneous photoshop tips that will be useful in a host of different situations. The only suggestion is that it would be helpful to know which version of photoshop was being used. It may be the case that some steps and techniques are redundant with the advent of CS6 and better raw conversion.

  3. Absolutely totally inspiring. I have a number photo shots that I have been working with, but after this course I will go back and redo all of them. I love Calvin's way of working/instructing on two levels at the same time. He both adds hi level skill techniques at the same time as he repeats basic steps. Thanks to this it is impossible to get lost when following step by step. Now, step 1: applying my new knowledge on old shots. Then step 2: Follow all the other courses done by Calvin. That's all from Sweden for now..

  4. Loved this course. Calvin is great and has a terrific ability to explain these techniques. I enjoyed his sense of humour and enthusiasm. Very friendly style. His knowledge is amazing!

  5. hi Calvin, you are a great photographer. On top of that you have an outstanding knowledge of the Photoshop features. Thank you for teaching me which ones are important and which ones not. It must have been hard work to get this far. Your language and grammar is perfect, don't worry. Love Tuva, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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