Faking Realism

I’ve been exploring a few different approaches to photography lately.

Why? Because everything I shoot looks like this:

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Compositionally sound. It shows of the model (in this case a P-51B Mustang) quite well, with even lighting that reveals copious amounts of detail.

But nobody would ever confuse it for real life since Mustangs don’t star in Apple commercials.

Over on the FSM forums, a post about realistic photography got me thinking. Shooting outside against a natural backdrop isn’t really feasible for me. Not in a subdivision, and with kids who are awake during daylight hours.

No, if I want a kit to look like the real thing in its environment, I’m going to have to fake it. I have all kinds of ideas for using forced perspective (you know, the reason all those crazy sidewalk chalk sketches are so spectacular?), but for these tests, I’ve just been experimenting with dropping in some elements to see what I could get.

First, I took a picture of the P-51B sitting on a Model-Scene grass mat against a blue poster background.

Next I cropped and messed with settings.

Then I busted out Photoshop, and added a tree line to the mix.

Okay, so maybe it’s not 100% convincing, but it’s a start, and pretty awesome to achieve on maybe 20 minutes of work.

Inspired by the fact that this level of Photoshop manipulation is possible, I went back, added a different tree line, as well as a sky and several filter and settings changes. The results approach some of the ambience we get from surviving WWII photography.

I still have a ways to go, and still want to experiment a lot with forced perspective, but I’m thrilled at this new weapon in my photographic arsenal!

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