Creative Compositing: Professional Techniques for Composite Photography By Matt Kloskowski and Joel Grimes

57 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

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!

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Joel and Matt provide an overview of the class and all of the elements that will go into the final composite.
Discover the benefits of shooting for a composite instead of shooting the final image on location.
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.
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.
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.
Learn the technical details for how to freeze motion with studio strobes.
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.
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.
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.
Profile photo of Matt Kloskowski

Meet your instructors

Matt Kloskowski


Matt is the Vice President of Photography for onOne Software and a Tampa-based photographer. He's a best selling author of over 20 books and teaches Lightroom and Photoshop at seminars and conferences around the world....

Matt's Courses

Profile photo of 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 portraits has earned him the attention from many of the nation's finest Advertising Agencies and Art Buyers. Due to his strong fine art background...

Joel's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Terry Terry

    Great Course

  2. Profile photo of tantonr tantonr

    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.


    Rich Tanton —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of mfkeefe mfkeefe

    Would have been nice to see the final results? Is there a followup video?

    1. Profile photo of Melissa Melissa

      Yes, Joel finishes up everything in Part 2:

  4. Profile photo of davestarrett davestarrett

    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

  5. Profile photo of Thierry Thierry

    So inspiring, awesome class —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of martinbackhauss martinbackhauss

    one of the best instructors here on KBT!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of waltersedward waltersedward

    Excellent and informative. I learned a lot.

    Ed Walters —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of johnnydgood johnnydgood

    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. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Steve Steve

    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? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Sheila Huston Sheila Huston

    Love, Love your work! I wonder though went lens you used for the soccer player? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of JBryant JBryant

    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? —- Yes, please post my feedback

    1. Profile photo of Luke Luke

      JBryant, just curious what set of lights you ended up going with, and how you like them? I am not sure if you get a message when someone replies, but let me know if you see this.

    2. Profile photo of Luke Luke

      JBryant, just curious what set of lights you ended up going with, and how you like them? I am not sure if you get a message when someone replies, but let me know if you see this.

  12. Profile photo of Bryon Wiley Bryon Wiley

    Love it….!

  13. Profile photo of buck2wheat3 buck2wheat3

    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.

  14. Profile photo of Sebasj Sebasj

    Excellent session, pretty clear. Would have been interesting to have a quick look ar the final result.

  15. Profile photo of Baekgaard Baekgaard

    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

  16. Profile photo of 773121 773121

    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!

  17. Profile photo of Shooz Shooz

    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

  18. Profile photo of Bertopics Bertopics

    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!

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