September 21, 2017

Speaking at Austin PPA or How I Met Catwoman

Imagination. Captured.

I spoke to the Austin Professional Photographers Association last Monday – teaching a composite class all day, then speaking about PPA Print Competition that evening.

For the day long class, I walked several students through how I create my Imagination pieces from the inspiration, photographing the subject, and then using Corel PaintShop Pro to put it all together. Most of the students were using Photoshop, but as I regularly tell people – there is a solid alternative in PaintShop Pro.

Our model for the class was a beautiful young woman named Jennifer, who is a HUGE fan of Julie Newmar’s Catwoman – and brought in her cosplay (costume play) that was inspired by her role. I ran the students through three different concepts, with three different poses for each.

For the first image, I had the model in a standing pose and showed the students how to take a cement wall picture (that I shot in Brownwood, Texas years ago), place a painted Batman logo on it using blending modes, then with some creative masking add scratch marks in the concrete using bevel tools.

The next images were more complicated, involving more elements and some directional light. I purchased this stock photo from

(123rf logo left on this version on purpose – click the image to find it on 123rf).

I added in my own sky and placed this image of our model on top of the gargoyle:

After adding in a hand drawn Bat-signal and some finishing touches in Nik Color Efx, we finished with this image:

Lastly, I wanted to show some strategies for drawing in your own shadows and giving the illusion of wind, so I used a New York City skyline image (reversed to make it look more like Gotham) from, built a rooftop from the same cement wall from the first image, and then these images from the model to capture her and her blowing scarf:

I put it all together and had this finished image…

If you’d like to see more like this or even more detailed behind the scenes videos in the future, stay tuned to this blog – or follow me @txheadshots on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube – new things are posted and announced there.

Also, please check out my upcoming Beautiful Monsters project – I plan to launch the Kickstarter very soon!