Creative Compositing: Professional Techniques for Composite Photography, with Joel Grimes

In this part one of a two-part series, Joel takes you behind the scenes and walks you through every aspect of his creative process.

Learn how the top commercial advertising pros create stunning composite portraits, with Joel Grimes and Matt Kloskowski. In this part one of a two-part series, Joel takes you behind the scenes and walks you through every aspect of his creative process. By the end of the class you’ll know exactly how the pros do it, and learn to shoot your portraits with more creativity and confidence than ever before!

Get instant access to this course & more

Buy Now $49.95
  • You will receive unlimited access to stream this class with the option to download an HD 720p .mp4 file. To access purchased courses, login and go to your "Account Management" page. Internet connection required for streaming video (broadband recommended). File Size: 728.2 MB
Rent Now $6.99
  • Rent this course and watch it as often as you like for three full days (72 hours), from the time of purchase. To access rented courses, login and go to your Account Management page. Internet connection required for streaming video (broadband recommended).

Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 01:58)

Joel and Matt provide an overview of the class and all of the elements that will go into the final composite.

Lesson 2: Why Composite? (Duration 04:48)

Discover the benefits of shooting for a composite instead of shooting the final image on location.

Lesson 3: The Lighting Setup (Duration 10:47)

The lighting you use on your subject has to work with the background in the final composite. Joel explains how his 3-light studio setup gives him the best results when it is time to put it all together.

Lesson 4: Soccer Player Shoot (Duration 07:46)

This is a creative process and the photographer is in the driver's seat. Go in the direction that feels right for you and fits within your bigger vision for the final composite.

Lesson 5: Shoot with Output in Mind (Duration 07:59)

Keep your final output orientation in mind and shoot as many different angles on the subject as you can to give you more options that can work with the background.

Lesson 6: Capturing Action (Duration 09:43)

Learn the technical details for how to freeze motion with studio strobes.

Lesson 7: Shooting the Ball (Duration 05:45)

Joel provides a few tips for how to shoot a multiple-person composite as he prepares for shooting the soccer ball that will go into the final composite.

Lesson 8: Why HDR for Backgrounds? (Duration 03:06)

With the studio portion of the shoot completed, Matt and Joel head out to the soccer field where Joel explains his rationale for shooting high dynamic range backgrounds.

Lesson 9: Covering All the Angles (Duration 06:07)

Joel races the rain as he captures multiple HDR backgrounds from different angles that he'll be able to choose from later in post production. Check out the second class in the series to see how it is all put together.

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. Great Course, really enjoyed listening to Joel's process of shooting for composites. Thank you Matt & Joel! Can;t wait to see his process in Photoshop!

  2. Great course. This really opened my eyes to some new ideas for my sports photography and portrait sessions. Joel Grimes is a great instructor and I love his work. Thanks

  3. Well, maybe I missed something, but where are the composites? Will we get to see them together?? Thanks!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED WHAT I SAW!! I've always followed Joel Grimes... He has a great technique! Everyone tries this technique, each a little differently, but Joel must REALLY know what he's doing, since his come out the BEST!

  4. Great class, cannot wait to see the next one... I think that it works really well to have an "interviewer" (Matt) that can ask some of the questions that we as learners need to know. Helps keeps it "stream-lined" in to the learning process when you watch the other courses on kelbytraining (I have watched most of Matt's lessons, most important to me the lightroom ones, now when he is there I get some of the same "idea's/angels" that I was taught in the other classes and that really made it much better for me. Thanks for an amazing site, it's really made me being apple to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer. Peter Baekgaard

  5. Loved it, I really enjoyed it, very informative. He is so experienced, sometimes he would talk over my head,the little things you might assume your audience knows the meaning of an item or term. Thank you.

  6. Joel, what would be your choice for a cheap 3-light kit be for a beginner? any brands you know are good that are not too expensive? would you recommend ebay?

  7. Excellent course and it is good to have interviewed an expert in his domain. However, with such a good presentation I was ready to watch the post-production work, which would bring all the teaching points together. Could you develop a Part 2?

  8. Good course overall, would have loved to hear his input on what the optimum exposure for backgrounds when doing composites. I would guess that making it perfectly white would effect the exposure, and that is why it's a grey in this tutorial.

  9. I've watched this series of courses by Joel Grimes 3 times. He is the best instructor on your site as his work is brilliant, his techniques are fresh, his attitude is friendly and his enthusiasm is infectious. I await more stuff from Joel with much anticipation. ---- No, I'd keep it between us

  10. Great training video! All concepts clearly explained. One note on the multiple exposures, I use the Magic Lantern software on my Canon and I can get the nine bracketed exposures with one click of the shutter. It has been very dependable for me. Thanks, Rich Tanton

Submit a Comment