Home Photography Ideas: Capture David Hockney-Worthy Montage Portraits

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Watch the video: Home Photography Ideas – David Hockney Portrait Montages

In the 1980s, artist David Hockney began assembling Polaroids into collages that showed a subject from multiple angles. Hockney’s “Joiners” captured the public imagination and made him a household name.

Since then, the technique has been imitated a lot, to the point of becoming almost an old hat. There’s even an online app called Hockneyizer, which will do all the work for you, but that’s about as far away from the original spirit of the idea as possible!

If you experiment with this technique, however, you will find that it still contains life – in the unusual perspective it creates and the amazing effect it has on an everyday scene.

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(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

To begin with, we take a series of portraits taken from different angles, some cropped and some looser. Variety is a good thing here, as subtle differences between the frames will help distinguish them. And then from there we have two options.

We can either organize our collage in Photoshop, putting the images together and then adding shadows to simulate real photographs, or instead we can take the old-fashioned approach by printing the photos and physically arranging them at the same time. hand.

We’ll explain both methods here, and you’ll be able to see the differences in each approach and what gives your preferred results …

How to photograph your “carpenters”

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

01 Camera settings
These are usually our original exposure settings for outdoor portraits: manual mode, shutter speed 1/250 sec, aperture f / 4, Auto ISO. This way the shutter speed will be fast enough to freeze the action and the large aperture will blur the background.

02 Move
Take a series of facial shots; you will need at least 20. Move slightly
as you shoot to capture different angles. Try to add variety with your focal point; maybe focus on the nearest eye in one image and the farthest eye in the next.

03 Subject movement
In addition to moving your camera’s position, have your subject move between images. Shoot them directly, try to capture their profile, or position them at 45 degrees. For a strong shape to your collage, keep the neckline off the clothes.

04 White wall
You can try the technique on any scene, but if you want to create the kind of strong head shape shown in our example, a simple clean background will work best because it helps define the shape of the face. We used a plain white exterior wall here.

05 Soft light
We shot our series of portraits outdoors on a cloudy day. Being soft and diffused, this type of light is flattering for portraits and perfect for the Joiner technique, as it means the light remains even and consistent across the different frames.

06 Zoom lens
You’ll want to vary the crops as you shoot, with tight frames on different parts of the face and others farther away. A zoom lens will help you shoot this way. At longer focal lengths, hold the camera while shooting to avoid shaking.

Method 1: digital collage by David Hockney

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

01 Convert all images to mono

In Adobe Bridge, right click on an image and “Open in Camera Raw”, then convert it to mono. Click on Done. Right-click the image, choose Develop Settings> Copy Settings. Select the other files, right-click, and select Develop Settings> Paste Settings.

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

02 Copy and paste

Open an image, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select a part, then Ctrl + C to copy. Go to File> New and create a new A3 document with a white background. Paste in the selection. In the Layers panel, right-click the layer and select Convert to Smart Object.

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

03 Resize and position

Select the Move tool, check Show transform controls and Automatically select layer in its options. Move the part roughly into position and click on the corner of the box if you need to resize (hold down Shift). Open another image, select a part, paste it and position it again.

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

04 Create shadows

Finally, we will add shadows. Double click on any layer to open the layer styles box. Highlight Drop Shadow, then adjust the settings to change the size and position of the shadow. Once done, hold Alt and drag the drop shadow effect from one layer to another to copy it.

Method 2: The old-fashioned approach

(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

01 Make impressions

We used a consumer printer to make our set of 6×4 prints – some vertical, some horizontal – and then laid them out on a white table. Like in Photoshop, you can play around with the positions and move the prints up or down, but it feels more authentic to do it by hand, and the results are more random.

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(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

02 Set up a copy table

For even illumination, place two lamps of equal wattage on either side of the artwork at a 45-degree angle. Set up a tripod directly above the prints and tilt your camera down. Some tripods allow the center column to be reversed so that the camera is facing down, which can help.

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(Image credit: James Paterson / Digital Camera World)

03 shoot the footprints

Check for hot spots and reflections on the prints and adjust the position of the lights if necessary. Make sure that the tripod legs do not cast shadows on the print. Set your camera to aperture priority at f / 8, at its ISO base, then take your photo. You can now correct any color cast or convert to mono in Photoshop.

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