Replicating a book cover

I was invited to participate in a blog tour for a pattern designer, and at first I was at a loss for what to create.  It is a lot of traditional clothing, and some cute animal based add ons.  Were I to have younger children, I would have gone all out.  I have tweens, though.

I decided to make a cloak, as cosplay is my bag.  I kept it fairly simple, though sewing on the leather was more time consuming than I anticipated.

The book cover I wanted to recreate was this one, which is one of my girls favorite book characters.

I made the cloak, and then came picture time.  I grabbed some daggers off our wall, and we went to work it!

I have a Savage white paper backdrop I can set up in my basement on a portable backdrop stand.  The basement has orange walls.  Not really one wall in my house is neutral, so I don’t have a lot of options.  I usually have to do a bit of color correcting every time I use it.

I used my external flash and my Nikon D300S.  I got a new one for my birthday in December, and I am still trying to figure out how to get it to work correctly.  This was the original photo. I have gotten better at the settings lately, but sometimes it just doesn’t work well.

I cut her out of the backdrop in Photoshop.  There is some real detail work in getting her out of the back ground.  I use the background eraser and then do the rest with a small eraser brush with feathered edges.

Once she was on a separate layer, I did some touch up work, and turned her skin to black and white to match the book cover.  There was some burning and dodging for shadows and light.   I added the dodging to the back of her hood, as if the light were hitting it.  In composites, you really need to look at the lighting and how it would affect your subject.

Next, I started to build the background.

I grabbed the background color off of the above photo, and set that as a background behind her.

Then, it was adding the details with different brushes.  This encompassed using these brushes:

Brush credit:

I switched my brush colors from white to various shades of blue, green and purple.  I tried to use a different layer for each type of brush I was using, so I could change the opacity or delete things, if needed.

In the end, it was a pretty good approximation of the cover.

This was a fun composite to do, and the girl really liked it.  If you like composite photography, I would suggest joining this Facebook Group run by Tara Lescher.  There are great tips and she has some tutorials that are free and some to purchase if this area interests you.