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Apart from perspective the major key to blending
two images together is light, the direction,
quality and colour of the light all are big
factors in whether a combined image is
believable. How many times have you seen a
frontally or side lit landscape combined with a
sunset? Usually with the sun in shot. Never on
this earth is that going to be believable. This
is where you need to consider which part needs
to be shot first, if the background is real and
naturally lit, shoot that first and note the
position of the sun, then shoot the other shot
(s) to match, ideally outside in approximately
the same sort of daylight.

Now I normally work with miniature backgrounds
and shoot them after the foreground shot has
been taken. I use a mixture of light sources
from normal studio flashes (a big softbox
overhead makes great daylight) to theatre
spotlights, grain of wheat bulbs for small in
shot lights and domestic (mostly MR16) fittings.
IKEA used to make a wonderful 50watt MR16
profile spot with iris, knives, gobos and
filters which was perfect for miniature work,
they sold them off very cheap recently and I
bought quite a few! I use a disco hazer and low
fogger to provide atmosphere and light beams.
When I did the first few images they were shot
on film, scanned and then Photoshopped. I spent
a long time getting the lighting and exposure
balance right in camera, often mixing tungsten
and flash sources, ending up making multiple
exposures with different filters on the same bit
of film, using Polaroids as a proofing tool.
With a digital camera firmly locked off on a
camera stand and controlled from a laptop I now
shoot one light at a time shooting several
exposures of each set-up either presetting the
lights or moving a single light around as
needed. The multiple exposures of each light
position are run through a program called Photo
Acute which reduces noise and increases
resolution from multiple exposures, it also can
focus stack which is something I want to try in
the future. By shooting this way and then making
the image up using each light/light position as
a different layer in Photoshop (using either
screen or lighten blending mode) allows me to
exactly control direction and how much light
there is on any part of the image, even by using
masks getting light to stop or fade off half way
across the image!