How to Create a Photo Montage

Used by permission from Kevin Meredith/lomokev
Used by permission from Kevin Meredith/lomokev | Source

"Photomontage is the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining two or more photographs into an illusion of an unreal subject. Sometimes the resulting composite image is photographed so that a final image may appear as a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software. This latter technique is referred to by professionals as "compositing", and in casual usage is often called, "photoshopping", due to a particular software often used.[1] A composite of related photographs to extend a view of a single scene or subject would not be labeled as a montage."Wikipedia

Doing a photo-montage is a photographic project which is not that hard to accomplish plus it can be a lot of fun. There are two basic ways to do the montage; first you can do it the old fashioned way and cut separate photographs which you then stick on top of other photographs are retake one final photograph of the entire set up.

This is the fun part as you can get creative with it and it takes on the appeal of an arts & crafts project.

The other way is to do it digitally with most any digital editing program. Easier and the results are crisper but besides knowing how to do it well and having the software it requires some computer skills and know how.

A third less used technique is to print several negatives onto one single piece of photographic paper, but you need a complete darkroom to do this. However for black and whites it can be even easier since a B&W darkroom is rather cheap to make and simple to use.

CC BY-SA 2.5
CC BY-SA 2.5 | Source

Although you can go in many ways and use many subjects, one of the simplest is to take photographs of people.

The idea is to take several photographs of the same person wearing different pieces of attire.

Afterwards you can cut the photographs along the line where one outfit starts and ends. Do this with all the individual photographs; you are using the portions of the photographs that show each outfit;shoes,shirt/blouse,skirt,etc.

Then to complete the project stick different cut out pieces of each outfit onto one main image and take a photograph of this main image. The results will be to show one person wearing what appears to be a mismatched outfit.

Note it is easier to have the person pose in the exact same pose for each shot as this makes it easier to cut each outfit piece.


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The photo gear should be the same as any that you would use to do portraits if you will be doing people portraits and the same gear that you would use for other subjects is the same that you would use for this project.

Whether you do the montages the old fashion way of cutting and taping or the new digital technique, the final photo montages should be a pleasant combination of many images.

It does not really matter if you do something like a collage as this is similar to photo montage, but try to maintain the theme of just creating images that do not exist in the real world but presents your viewers with an image worth looking at and talking about.

Your finished photo montages can be submitted to photography related publications as well as to other commercial entities like greeting cards, posters general publications that deal with various subjects and they can also be used in some advertising campaigns like fashion related ones. Everything is depending on the product and the purpose for the use of the images.

Depending on your intentions you may want to approach doing this project with the commercial purpose in mind.

But the photos should still be done with all the care and utilization of your knowledge and skills as what you would do with any other photographic endeavor. Your reputation depends on the skills and attention to details that you use regardless of the purpose for taking any photograph.

CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Keep in mid that even if you choose to do the project the old fashion way you can still add some digital touches like adding a touch of color or manipulating the colors later although the final image will have to be taken digitally.

Doing some minor tweaking to the final digital image serves to sharpen any edges among other things yet you still retain the overall original idea.

The end result is what counts and your creativity is what will determine if your photos are appreciated by an audience or looked ta as if they were just a bunch of photos haphazardly thrown in together.

As you become more experienced in this technique you can really get creative like some artists that have become specialists and do really fantastic "out of this world" scenes.

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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