How to make a “small dog in big world” photo. Part 1 – collecting photos.

The key to a goodlooking montage is goodlooking photos (at least the part you want to use). But not only that, photos that fit together!

If they don’t fit, you will end upp with a montage that looks like a kindergarden-project. Maybe that’s what you’re after. I’m not.

So – what do you need to think about?

Mainly four things:

  • Light
  • Colour
  • Perspective
  • Depht of field


Let’s start with light.

The light has to be consistant in all parts of the montage. Equally strong and from the same direction. Cloudu weather is perfect – no hard shadows and the light is so soft it could be from anywhere. You can add light later, if you want to.

In my photo, there is sunlight, so I had to be extra vareful. All three photos are taken within ten minutes of time, and from the same direction (important!). That way the shadows are the same all over.

What do I mean, “colour”?

Again with the light. Have you noticed that early mornings and sunset evening has warmer and more yellow light? And that the colour of light is more blue in the shade? Even if the light comes from the same direction, all parts need the same temperature as well. If you use a sky from sunset and a field from mid-day, you have to warm uo the field to make it look “right”.

Perspective – what’s your viewpoint?

It will look very strange if the dog is seen from below and the branch from above – it will look wrong. If you do get it to blend together, it will end up looking like M C Escher made an image of a dog…Think about your end-photo, and adjust your perspective and angle accordingly.

Depht of field.

I covered depht of field and aperture in top five tips for beautiful portraits

Why is it imortant to keep in mind when you think about doing a montage? Because your DOF must look right. You need to follow the rules of how a camera works, the photo must be sharp where the focus would be, and blurry in front and behind. You can’t mix that as you like and only look at the motives you want to puzzle together.

Unless you are doing an art-piece – if you are you can do what you like because it doesn’t have to look “real” anyway. (If you mess up – call it “art” and get away with it…;) )

Are you still stuck in “automode”? No fret! Download my cheatsheet with my camerasettings for different situations. Perfect to use as a “starting point”!


Coming up: Part 2, make your selection and layer up!