Mixing Photography and 17th Century Paintings

photo edit incorporating animals from 17th century painters

Carrying on my series about the editing process behind some of my images I’m delving into mixing photography and paintings today with the inclusion of some 17th century artwork.  It isn’t quite as simple as taking the creatures you want to include and sticking them together in Photoshop.

Colour & Brightness

One of the most important elements in making any composit look right is making sure that the colours in the image match.  Take an element that has a yellow base and expect it to blend nicely with an image that has a blue base, perhaps photographed in cold light, and you have little chance of a succesful composit.  The image below also shows how the fruit and monkey stand out when the brightness does not match up.

image illustration poor colour match

Poor colour match with the monkey and fruit at the front of the image.  Saturation is too strong and the element is also also too bright.



image adjusted for bad light and colour match

Image adjusted to bring colour and brightness into line with th background image


Typically I combine only images that I have photographed myself and take pride in the fact that every element in my work is my own.  This image, inspired by Miss Aniela’s work combining photography and paintings, is a rare exception.  Below are the two beautiful paintings that I borrowed the animals from.


The Menagerie by Melchior d'Hondecoeter

painted around 1690 by Melchior d’Hondecoeter


painting by Adriaen Van Utrecht 1644

painted by Adriaen Van Utrecht in 1644


One of the other essential elements in a good composited image is the correct placement of the shadows and light.  The light in the final image must appear to be from the same location in the picture.  Often this won’t be the case from the source files when combining elements from different images.

before and after colour work in photoshop

before (left) and after colour and shadow work


The difference is quite subtle in this example but the monkey is duller on the right in the ‘after’ shot, more in keeping with the other animals added to the image.  On the right you can see that the feet look more like they belong and less like they are floating thanks to the addition of a shadow beneath them.  There are some other shadow additions and the monkey’s face is slightly lightened as the light in the new image comes from the right.

Below I’ve added a photoshop speededit of the addition of the characters to the image.  This part of the image took approximately 8 hours to create which I’ve managed to squash into 5.

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I am currently building up my online shop – many of my images are now available as fine art prints…

Wall Art by Kirsteen Titchener

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