Adding layers to Green Screen Photography

Green screen photography can look a little flat. The areas around the feet just never seem to look just right to me. The good news is that there is a easy fix to this problem. I love to add layers or overlays to my photos. I use PhotoKey 8 Pro but know this can also be done in Green Screen Wizard, sorry have not tested other software yet. If your green screen does not support layers this can also be done in post production with programs like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Gimp.

What are layers

Layers are just what they sound like, objects that can be placed in front of or behind the main subject. With green screen photography you will always have at least two layers, the main subject and a background. With some green screen programs you may also add elements in front of and behind the main subject. This is a great way to really tie you main subject into the background. I will use one of my backgrounds to show you how this works.

First Select a Background

I always start with a background then shoot my main subject to match the lighting and angle.

Then photograph the main subject

Use you green screen software to remove the green background.  Resize and reposition the main subject in the middle of the smoke background.  I love smoke because your keying does not need to be perfect.

Adding Layers, layer 1

If your green screen software does not allow you to do layers simply save the file and reopen it in a photo editing program that allows layers, Photoshop, Elements, Gimp, etc,,,

You can not see it very well in this example but you overlay should be transparent in areas to still show the main subject.  With this overlay I resize and reposition it so I get a clear view of the face and hide the feet.  You can see the smoke does not line up at the top, not a problem we will be covering that up soon.

Layer 2

I adding a second layer to add to the effect of my firefighter.  I could have done this with one layer but I wanted the smoke to be cleared around the face.  The white area in the photo below will be transparent.

Finished product

What I love about PhotoKey 8 Pro is that once you create a project in it all you have to do is shoot the next subject.  All the layers will remain in place.  The subject will be resized and placed in the some spot.  Only minor repositioning will need to be done.  I could shoot several people with this background and each one would take less than a minute to edit.

I would love to see the results of how this has worked for and please take a look at my background store

Please post your thoughts and ideas

David