How to Add Yourself to a Vacation Photograph

It’s a problem everyone has faced: the fear of handing over your expensive camera to someone else on a family vacation.  How to solve this travel conundrum? Add yourself to the photo after using Photoshop. Here’s the step-by-step:

    1. Start with the base photo. 
    2. Find an element to add to the image.   Make a large selection and copy it.
    3. Tab back to the base image and paste it in.
    4. Move the new image onto the base image, lowering the opacity to get an idea of where the image should be.  Then bring the opacity back to 100%.
    5. Resize the image if necessary.
    6. Add a layer mask.   Then get rid of the background in pasted element.  Zoom in tight and erase until only the person is left.
    7. When masking or getting rid of a portion of the layer, match the texture or hardness of the brush and the hardness of the edge.
    8. Once the rough mask is created by knocking out the background, fine tune the mask to really blend the two elements together.
    9. Select a new brush, maybe one with a feathered edge, to match the shadow detail.  Flip the foreground and background colors, going back and forth to blend the two elements together.
    10. To add a shadow, create a new layer, select a paintbrush, and paint the shadow in with a darker color.   Pick up shadow tones from the image, then vary the opacity.

Pro tip: The easiest way to tell an image has been manipulated is by paying attention to the shadows. Be very aware of shadows and highlights.  

Watch the video below to see it in action.