From a simple sketch comes a surreal idea

The merits of Photoshop. Some people hate it and some love it, but – I agree with the latter view. While it can produce some horrible results in the wrong hands, it’s an incredibly powerful tool for creating images that you can’t make with your camera alone. I like to think of my manipulations as surrealistic with a touch of humour. I only make use of my own images, not those from stock libraries.


Before I even pick up a camera and start taking pictures, I like to make a sketch of the idea I want to create. In this case, I envisaged a shot of a girl blowing bubble gum that becomes so big that she starts to float off the ground.

To achieve this look, I needed to shoot a series of three images that I could then merge together – the background, the bubble gum and the girl. I decided to photograph the background first, because this would determine the lighting on both the bubble gum and the model.

I shot my background during the golden hour, when the sun was really low and there were lots of shadows being cast. I took multiple images of the same scene that I then merged later in Photoshop. When shooting for composites, it’s very important to keep certain things in mind when shooting pictures for a background. For example, where is the main light source? What is the position/angle of the camera? What are the settings of the camera? I like to make a note of these points so that when I’m back in the studio shooting the model, I can set and position my camera accordingly.

I wanted a blonde model because it seemed to fit the mood I was aiming for. I also bought some bubble gum to blow some nice bubbles, which is more difficult than it seems. All these things should be shot with the same light, from the same angle and with the same settings.

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