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Photo Fun: Clones (aka, an Army of Me) – Episode 1

Posted by Matt on July 26th, 2008 filed in Digital Photography Hints & Tips, Photo Inspiration, Photo Manipulation

Army of Me

Digital cameras have many advantages over film cameras, and one of those is how much fun you can have trying things out in a way that doesn’t cost you anything other than time. Today we look at something you can do to create cool, interesting and fun photos using just yourself, a camera that allows you to manually set aperture and exposure, a tripod and a remote shutter release (or just your camera’s built in timer) – oh, and Photoshop: creating photos that have you in multiple times. It’s like having your own frikkin’ army of clones! Mwuh hah ha!

This article is broken down into two parts. In this article we talk about how to take the photos you need to make your ‘clone’ picture. In the next part we talk about how to stitch the different photos together in Photoshop.

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How to Take Photos with The Same Person in Many Times

Step 1: Choose the Photo you Want to Make

First up you need to choose what photo you’re going to do. Here are some ideas; making a crowd of just you, having a conversation with yourself, falling in love with the most beautiful person in the world – you, showing off every piece of clothing in your wardrobe and just sitting around in front of the telly. And of course it doesn’t need to be just you in the photo. Get some friends together and have them cloned in the photo too while you art direct. The location you choose doesn’t have to be complicated or big, it just needs to have space in for you to place the camera a bit away from where you’re sitting with a wide enough angle lens to get everything in.

Step 2: Set up the camera

The Location
The location – before a friend’s wedding

Having come up with your idea the next step is to set up your camera. With the camera not on the tripod, move around and work out your ideal shot. Think about light sources carefully, as having consistent, subtle lighting makes this so much easier as extreme light sources (such as in-shot lamps, flash) will make make the fake aspect of this photo show up. Don’t over think it, as this is supposed to be fun! Once you’ve chosen your angle, set up the camera on the tripod with the remote shutter release attached if you have one. Take a test shot with the camera, making sure it has a deep depth of field (high aperture number) so that everything in your shot is in focus. From this, check that the photo is well exposed and, if you can, use the manual settings on your camera (normally called ‘M’) to fix the aperture and exposure – this is very important! If you can’t set your camera’s aperture and exposure then every photo may be a different brightness and that makes it very hard to stitch them all together later – not impossible, just not easy and it makes the photo look less ‘real’. Even with a fixed exposure you’ll have to deal with changes in light if you use a natural light source.

Step 3: Take the photos

Now for the fun part – taking the photos. Put yourself in the right position – sitting or standing or whatever you want to do. Remember, if you’re shooting with a long depth of fields then the exposure will likely be longer – so you will need to stay still while the photo is taken. Ready? Now press the remote shutter release. That’s one photo done. At this point it is very tempting to go look at the photo to check it’s alright but don’t do this! Even though your camera is on a tripod, slight pressure from your hand as you check the photo will slightly adjust the framing and this will be very obvious when you put the photos together.

The First Me
The first me!

One down, some to go. You can a take a few shots in the same position if you want. Try different expressions and think about how the first you will interact with the rest. A more complicated trick is to try and make a conversation between two or more yous. This will require your acting/mime skills to come out but it can be a lot of fun. Once your happy that you have the shot, move to the next position. Careful you don’t knock any of the scenery, or that you’re not sitting in a position that was already occupied by the first you. Ready? Now take the next photo.

The second me
The next me

Simple. Now we have two seats filled. This continues on until you have all of the ‘yous’ in the positions you want. First time you do this it’s probably worth sticking to just a couple of different positions – as the more you add the much greater the time it takes to make the finished photo. Once you’re finished you can download all the photos to your computer ready for the next stage – combining the multiple pictures of you with Photoshop!

2 Responses to “Photo Fun: Clones (aka, an Army of Me) – Episode 1”

  1. Digital Photography Hints & Tips » Photo Fun: Clones (aka, an Army of Me) - Episode 2 Says:

    […] « Photo Fun: Clones (aka, an Army of Me) – Episode 1 […]

  2. ashleyy Says:

    this is very helpful :).

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