Creative Compositing Part 2: Putting it Together in Photoshop, with Joel Grimes

Join legendary commercial advertising photographer Joel Grimes as he shares his best creative Photoshop techniques, tools, and tips and tricks that will teach you how to "sell the fake" and create breathtaking, professional composite portraits.

Master the compositing secrets used in professional commercial advertising. Join legendary commercial advertising photographer Joel Grimes as he shares his best creative Photoshop techniques, tools, and tips and tricks that will teach you how to “sell the fake” and create breathtaking, professional composite portraits.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 01:26)

Join Joel as he recaps the first part of this two-part class where he did all of the shooting, both in studio and on location, to capture the images that will be used in the second part of the class.

Lesson 2: Making the Selects (Duration 04:10)

When making your selects, you are going for the look that works with the project and background. By shooting multiple poses and angles it provides a great resource of photos to chose from.

Lesson 3: Blending the HDR Background (Duration 09:53)

Look over Joel's shoulder as he demonstrates all the settings and choices he makes as he runs the background captures through Photomatix Pro to create the final background image.

Lesson 4: Creating that Grungy Look (Duration 13:52)

Starting with a portrait of Ashley, the soccer player, Joel takes us through his process for getting his signature grungy look.

Lesson 5: Extracting the Subject (Duration 07:49)

Learn how to use the Quick Select and Refine Edge tools in Photoshop CS5 to make the job of extracting the subject from its original background a piece of cake.

Lesson 6: Prepping the Background (Duration 16:47)

Before dropping the subject into the scene, the background image needs to be run through the same grunging process that was done to the subject to help them work together.

Lesson 7: Creating Atmosphere (Duration 16:19)

A big part of "selling the fake" is taking steps to connect the subject to the background by creating and enhancing the atmosphere of the photo.

Lesson 8: Dodge and Burn (Duration 04:46)

Dodging and burning is a great technique for evening out the tones in the model's face and bringing out her beauty.

Lesson 9: Final Retouches (Duration 05:27)

Joel brings the final composite home with a few techniques to retouch the subject and burn in the shadows to add to the sense that she is really standing in the scene.

Meet Your Instructor: Joel Grimes

After receiving a BFA in Photography from the University of Arizona in 1984, Joel began working as a commercial advertising photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. His style of capturing…


  1. This was an excellent course--well organized and well presented. Joel communicates very effectively and does not clutter the important points with a lot of unnecessary chatter and philosophy. His honesty is refreshing, and the techniques in his two compositing courses have applications far beyond just placing a person in an environment. Great work Joel, and thanks very much for sharing.

  2. Joel was effin' brilliant with this two part session patiently walking us through the whole process from capture, both studio and field, to post production techniques. He has motivated me to now attempt a similar shoot and follow-up, which means that I will be revisiting this video frequently. I truly appreciated Joel's casual and straight forward style with emphasis on the K.I.S.S. approach. Question to Joel: I am a retiree and involved with photography solely as an enthused hobbyist. Would you recommend a particular model Wacom tablet over another, keeping in mind that I have a tight budget and that Kelby enterprises has chewed up whatever disposable income I previously had? Thanks a lot ~ Jack

  3. Couldn't find this at first, but once I did.....I LOVED IT!! Great explanations, and little tips along the way. I'll be shooting tomorrow, to try this new (new to me) technique. Always love Joel's work. Thank you!!! Never knew about the refine brush. WOW - was I missing stuff by not knowing this!!!

  4. Holy goodness!!!! Joel is one of the best teachers out there. I really feel like he held nothing back. Simple to understand and follow and he didn't blabber about, went right to the point of what he was doing and why. Please bring him back for another course if possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is simply awesome.

  5. Joel was brilliant and showed a technique I thought was brilliant. The video moved at the exact right pace and the beginning to end coverage was very thorough. Perhaps the best video I have seem here on Kelby.

  6. Good tutorials, I will try it for sure. I am still trying to learn more. Regards to Matt K. I love his tutorials as well. May I assume you are on camera raw and not jpeg? Pleas let me know.

  7. Extremely valuable info. Complex things told simply and honestly. The 14 minute segment "Getting that grungy look" opened up a new world for me. Thanks!

  8. Honestly, I can't put into words how much I have learned. There are so many golden nuggets I've found just in this class. Joel Grimes and I share a similar problem. We don't see color too well. But he's come up with such a brilliant way of maneuvering around it that will increase my workout put so much faster! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  9. Great course , I really learned a lot from this course and I'm excited to go out and try some of the techniques I learned .I liked the fact that Joel was very honest and didn't try to pretend that he had all the answers to every question but that a lot of his work is trial and error and he is still learning too .

  10. Mr. Grimes, is now for me, the best instructor at Kelby Training. He is practical, informative, and well spoken. He would be a photographer and artist that can be very helpful in the real world situation. I give him 5 starts

  11. This is definitely one of my favorite courses at Kelby Training. Joel is an excellent instructor, and he shows us all the steps and "tricks" that he used. He is honest and sincere in his teaching. I will seek out all of his courses at Kelby Training. Time well spent for me, and I will watch it again in the not so distant future to refresh what I have learned.

  12. The subtle little touches are what make this series for me. I'm familiar with most of the Photoshop tools and techniques Joel uses here, but HOW he applies them is just fantastic to watch. Joel's workarounds for his colorblindness are a huge inspiration and I feel a lot more confident with my compositing after seeing him work. THANK YOU for sharing, Joel!

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