Experimenting with creative photography with creative composites and scanography

Creative composite

Creative photography is a way to add a unique flair to creative photography. This is my first time experimenting with creative photography, and I can’t lie I was quite excited. I decided to experiment with two specific types of creative photography: creative composites and scanography.

If you don’t know what a creative composite is, it is when a photographer takes two or more photos and combines them into one image. I do not have much experience with creative photography, let alone creating creative composites but I knew I wanted to do something that would capture other people’s attention.

Right now, Avatar: The Last Airbender is extremely popular with the show finally coming to Netflix and with the live-action series on the horizon. As I was thinking of ideas I began to think of a conversation my husband and I had where we talked about if we could bend elements which element we would want to bend. I know I would want to be a fire bender nut my husband on the other hand is all about water bending. So I decided to make that dream a reality, kind of.

I had my husband dress in water tribe colors with a blue sweater and brown pants. We drove to a location that allowed us easy access to the river water.

I chose our location where the river was very shallow and had several skipping rocks. I felt this made the perfect setting to do some water bending.

First I positioned my husband where I wanted him and then I set up my tripod. I decided to use my tripod I wanted to take two photos in the location and wanted them to be as similar as possible and didn’t want to move in between takes.

Once my gear was set up I posed my husband into a water bending pose. To do this I researched the different poses the show used for water bending and how the water worked. I wanted my image to be as accurate as possible with how the water moved. We decided to go with a pose that mirrored the water whip.

Because we were below the horizon line, it got a lot darker than I had anticipated, so I decided to try and bracket the photo of my husband to try and get the colors in the sky.




I combined the images in Adobe Lightroom to get an evenly exposed image. You can see the result below.


Once the images were combined I put the photo into photoshop where I lessened the shadows, increased the contrast, and edited out some imperfections.

Combining the elements of creative photography

To get the water image, I brought a small trash can and dipped it into the river. I had my husband stand a little ways away from where he originally stood and throw the water into the air. I had a high shutter speed to freeze the water.

This created the effect as if the water was moving in the direction that it was being “bent.”


In post, I brightened the water to match the brightened photo of my husband posing.

experimenting with creative photography: bringing it all together

Now that I had the photo of the pose and of the water. The real work began in compositing them!

First, I created an outline around the water and erased the background. I tried to keep as many stray water droplets as possible because this is what would sell the idea that the water was actually in the air. I used the transform tool to move and scale the water to where it would be in between my husband’s arms. I lessened the opacity of the water with the eraser tool to help his clothes and body appear as if they were behind the water.

Using the paintbrush tool,  I added light orange and blue tones to the water to help it appear more natural in its surroundings since I moved it a little.

Here is the final product:


Experimenting with creative photography through Scanography

I continued experimenting with creative photography by acquainting myself with scanography. Scanography is a type of photography that involves taking images with a printer scanner.

A Journey Of Sorts

If you haven’t tried scanography before, it’s definitely an interesting process of trial and error.

I tried several ideas until I got the one that worked. I knew I wanted to do something with paint so I spent hours placing paint trying to get bubbles to look good for it to only look like a smudgy mess on the scanner.

I finally got the effect with the texture that I was looking for. I placed vegetable oil on glass and mixed the paint in the oil and then sprayed water to give it a bubbly effect.


Adding depth with creative photography

There is a reason why this blog post called experimenting with creative photography because it is all an experiment! In my previous attempts with scanography, I noticed that objects that weren’t directly pressed on the glass tended to be out of focus. I decided to use this to my advantage. I took some flowers and placed them directly onto the scanner glass and placed the painted glass panel on the top of the flowers, pressing them into the glass. I then scanned the image and below is the final product.


I had such a great time experimenting with creative photography and I learned so much in the process. Experimenting with creative photography was so fun and I cannot wait to try more creative composites and scanography.

Learn More

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