Match lighting, shadows, perspective, scale, and framing in a composite.

Image showing a village collaged onto an open book book on a ledge overlooking a snowy landscape

Create anything you can imagine by combining photos, graphics, and text into a digital composite. Here are some pointers for choosing elements for a successful creative composite.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

Direction of light and shadow

Make sure the direction of light on individual elements of a composite matches up. An obvious disparity in light sources or shadows is a giveaway that an image has been pieced together.

Side by side images of a man by a tree with light direction indicated with icons and arrows

Quality of light

Choose images for a composite in which the quality of light is similar. Avoid combining elements photographed in different lighting conditions, like cool versus warm light or harsh versus soft light.

Two similar collages of a stack of books with a ladder, a woman, and a coffee cup illustrating matching light quality

Perspective and scale

Combine images that were photographed or created from the same point of view, so that their perspectives are the same. Use images that are similar in scale, so you don’t have to do lots of resizing in post-production.

Two similar collages of a person and a magical mushroom illustrating proper scale

Composition and framing

Composition is important to the success of a composite, as it is for any piece of art. Think about position and framing of the elements in your composite. Plan where to put each element so the viewer’s eye is drawn through the image to a focal point. Consider which elements will blend well with others. And if you’re planning to add text or graphics to the composite, leave sufficient copy space for those items. 

Image of a backpacker on a snowy mountainscape with the word "believe" over the photo

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