Dude, Where's My Challenge?
With Dude, Where's My Challenge? for their promotional portrait shot.
The idea behind the shot was to show their craziness in what they get up to for their YouTube channel. Eating lots of crazy foods or 20 year old bottles of fizzy drink, causing each other pain etc haha. You really have to see it, it's so funny. So as they're usually sat at some sort of table for most of their challenges we thought that'd be a good starting point. Each of them are known for certain type of challenges so that also was a good input. Finally we came up with the idea of them doing their crazy bit's sat at the table just like in Da Vinci's The Last Supper.
To get each of them doing their thing perfectly I decided to do a composite. That way I could be sure to concentrate on each subject and give them my full attention as we were shooting.
Lighting wise I opted for a big soft box in the middle and slightly above the camera with a PixaPro Powercore 600 for the main light. I then stuck two gridded soft boxes either side of the table and slightly behind fitted with Nikon SB-900's.
Probably the hardest part of this photo was cleaning it all up. There were gaps in the table (it was the folding kind) I didn't want. Wet patches were we'd moved or spilled some liquids. Just lots to clean up in general. As you can see from the photo below there were also manufacturer badges, handles to be removed etc. All the little distracting things. I wanted it to be one seamless table.
Cutting out was also a lot of fun! Good old pen tool for precision. I selected around the whole image with the feather set to 0.5. Then with the refine edge tool I went around the hairline of each person to get a better cut. Finally with some custom brushes I drew in the areas of the hair that needed it to make the ends more natural.
After colour matching and blending the composite together I ran over it with the dodge & burn tool. 50% grey layer set to Softlight and the D&B tool set to midtones at around 15% exposure. I do this on one layer then sometimes duplicate that layer one I've go over the whole image I'll play with the opacity of the top D&B and mask out where I think the effect it too strong.
All in all it was about 60 odd layers to complete the photo. I've been nice and made you a layer build up so you can see its progression bit by bit:
Anyway here's the final piece also featuring Terrence the Tarantula. Yeah he was real and we took lots of photographs of him to make it look like there was more than one. Another great reason to shoot composite portraits. I didn't really want 5-6 tarantulas on set haha. One was enough to keep an eye on.
We'll that's a wrap. Don't forget to check out the behind the scenes video:
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Keywords: behind, blog, bts, dude wheres my challenge, photographer, photography, pixapro, portrait, scenes, southampton, youtube
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