Green Screen & Custom Compositing
It used to be the photographer's job to capture reality. I now believe it's the photographer's job to capture the image in the client's mind's-eye.
That's what I strive to do . . . to capture the image in the client's mind's-eye. The end result is a purely photographic image, yet quite possibly, one that never existed in reality.
Often it's little things that make the difference, ie treating the background differently than the main subject, adding elements to the shot after the fact, or faithfully reproducing a contrast range that's impossible for film or digital sensors to carry, etc. The possibilities are endless and most images I work on have some degree of enhancement done to help the image match the feel of reality, to sync up with that image in the mind's-eye.
Sometimes it calls for more than routine retouching. Greenscreen and compositing are two methods I employ when necessary to create the desired image to fulfill the client's expectation. Following are two examples:
THE TOWERING OAK. The client needed an image of "the quintessential oak tree" to illustrate the theme of his speech to a corporate audience. His message was, "the company is the tree, you are the branches. Where you are strong, the company is strong, where you are weak, the company is weak". The tree in the client's mind's-eye just did not exist, so I built one from three separate images.
THE SHOT THAT NEVER WAS. This is classic greenscreen. The client needed this group shot of four key people, yet for several reasons, the four people could not be present at the same time. So I shot them one at a time as they were available. To compose the grouping I cut and taped Polaroids together, so at the end I had a pretty good idea of what the group shot was going to look like. On a side note, the setting for the shot was decided after the main group shot was done. My thanks to computer artist Karen Strapp for taking my rough composite and turning it into a work of art!
A parting thought - if you do your job right, the technique does not call attention to itself, and it shouldn't. A successfull image is about the image, not about the technique.