I've got a website/e-store/tutorial site you've got to checkout. It's Woody Walters DigitalPhoto Candy site. Today's image is a first attempt to do something similar to what woody does so masterfully. He's out of Cedar Falls, Iowa, so I'd don't think my emulation of his (and many others) technique here in Connecticut will do him harm. If you don't know how to make brushes. If you don't have a folder full of smoke images. If you don't shoot clouds every time the sky is full of big puffy, well lit clouds. If you've never done on OOB (Out Of the Box) image (my first was about ten years ago). Well, head on over to Woody's website. He has brushes for sale. He has backgrounds and textures and masks and all manner of things for sales. His site could be your one stop shopping experience for setting up your own "Senior Portrait" digital studio. He should create a franchise situation out of his talent. Today's image, being a first attempt, meant I had to either create or gather up the components to be able take a shot at trying it myself. To find out about the components, where I got them and how i used them, hit the "read More".
The person is the goalie for the local high school JV soccer team. For the background I went to my "blurry images" keyword in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (LR4). Some people trash any blurry images. If a shot is just slightly out of focus I'll get rid of those too. But, if it's really out of focus (to the point of being just tones) I'll tag it, keyword it as "blurry" and keep it. Ya never know when you might need it. I've used some of my blurry image shots on all manner of projects. You can get these images in a couple of ways. One is when your camera searches for focus, just gives up and fires the shutter. Another would be to put the camera in Manual Focus and deliberately throw the scene out of focus. So, the background is easy.
"Everybody" (okay, not everybody) should take a shot at shooting smoke. You can shoot cigarette smoke (I don't recommend it). You can try incense (a better alternative). What you really need is a controlled setup. The camera on a tripod, a black backdrop, multiple flashes, and something to get the incense stick up to where the smoke is at a comfortable height. You don't want to have to be a contortionist to be able to check to see if your camera is actually pointing at the smoke. Make shooting smoke a fun experiment, not something where the thought of doing it again makes you cringe. Next, do a Google search on how to turn something (anything) into a brush. It's actually easy and you can make all manner of brushes.
"Everybody" (and this time I mean everybody) should shoot clouds for clouds sake. You don't even have to have your "fancy" camera with you. Shoot them with the camera in your cell phone (today's Point N Shoot camera). Whatever camera you have with you. I don't separate them out into a separate folder when I import them into LR4. I just keyword them with the word "clouds". Whenever I need a cloud I go to my keyword list and tap "clouds". That way I have them all. Clouds can be used for all sorts of things. Got a good shot with a bad sky? Grab a nice looking clouds and pop it in. Need flames? Make a Brush out of a big fluffy cloud, make you foreground color a shade of yellow and the background color a shade of red and poof, instant flames.
Lightening? You can try going out and shooting lightening. Good luck. You may have enough lightening shot saved in about ten years to have a small selection. Again, make a "lightening" brush (make a lot of lightening brushes). Take a look at weather.com or National Geographic's website. Both "always" have shots of extreme weather. Look at their shots of lightening and draw your own lightening. (Don't cop copyrighted shots. Just check out what lightening looks like in nature and make your own.)
The "other" big thing is to put "everything" on its own Layer (or on several individual Layers). All the lightening in a succession of Layers. You may want to put all Layers of a single theme (all lightening, all splatters, all clouds, etc.) in Groups (CTRL G). If you want to do anything to "all" the lightening, do it to the Group. If you want to do something to one stroke of lightening, Open the Group and work on a individual Layer. Make things as easy as possible on yourself. And have fun.