Quick Composites From Photo to Finish By Calvin Hollywood

1 hr 35 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

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.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Calvin introduces himself and talks about what he will be covering in the course
Calvin explains his studio set up, the reasons behind background choices and prop placement, and the importance of having a team.
Details matter when it comes to compositing - especially when you're telling a story. Making the clothes, hair and makeup match the final vision.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Remember the importance of details from he shoot? Calvin converts his photo to bring out the most in his picture.
If the importance of details has not hit home yet, Calvin drives it there with his freaky amazing detail (FAD) technique.
Since it is not a beauty shot, a quick retouch with the healing brush is pretty much all you need.
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.
Using a wall texture from lesson 7, Calvin shows exactly how textures can become whatever to need them to become.
Calvin shares the simplest aspect of his workflow that affects 99% of all his work - vignettes.
Experimenting with gradients, contrast and selective color to set the tone of the picture.
Calvin adds an amazing light-and-shadows effect to the composited photo with a picture of a grate from his textures library.
The artistry of Calvins workflow emerges as he adds his finishing touches freestyle, encouraging you to do the same in your projects.
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.
Profile photo of Calvin Hollywood

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 also serves as an Adobe Promoter and writer for a number of magazines....

Calvin's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of jovelino jovelino

    GREAT, I loved this course
    congratulations Calvin

  2. Profile photo of James James

    What material is the background? Can you use a muslin background?

  3. Profile photo of Lynette Lynette

    I can not get this too work with my Mac and 2014 CC

  4. Profile photo of Gerald Mc Dade Gerald Mc Dade

    First time I have watched a Calvin tutorial, this will not be the last. A great conveyer of photoshop loved all of it.

  5. Profile photo of Bill Dickerson Bill Dickerson

    I can not get this course to work! Help

  6. Profile photo of AdeleF AdeleF

    Mind. blown. Can’t wait to try these techniques out on a recent shoot! GREAT instructor.

  7. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Good course, thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of Dancer with Light Dancer with Light

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Matt Watson Matt Watson

    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! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Jim Metz Jim Metz

    Thank you…You were a great instructor and I learned some really useful techniques and ways to use Photoshop. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of kmannair kmannair

    This is an awesome course! i like all of Calvin’s courses as he explains techniques in a very simple way. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of opiotro opiotro

    Great course!

  13. Profile photo of ljax ljax

    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.. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of Soniaif Soniaif

    Calvin is one of the best instructors I have ever seen!! I love his tutorials! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of drmerlin drmerlin

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of dreamaiden dreamaiden

    This is the second course I’ve taken by Calvin. More helpful than probably anything I’ve ever seen, both of them. Really really great.

  17. Profile photo of ottotekteecher ottotekteecher

    love his techniques. more please!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of marsbar marsbar

    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 —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Absolutely fantastic. Calvin is talented as a photographer, digital artist and instructor.
    And it’s a bonus that he sounds like The Terminator! ;-) —- Yes, please post my feedback

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