The Much-Asked-For Explanation

I'm so glad you all liked the photo! I decided to let the photo stand alone in that post, but if there were sufficient interest, I would talk a bit more about the process it took to get the final product.

So, I actually hadn't initially been planning to take the picture when I did (Monday night). I was taking a shower and decided, "You know, I really should do that while I have the time." So I got out of the shower, threw on some sweats and a t-shirt, and started setting up the shot I wanted. After about twenty minutes of test shots, adjustments, etc., I came away with an initial shot I was pretty happy with:

As should be pretty clear - since both my arms are visible here - I was using my tripod and remote timer. I left the camera, tripod, and mirror all exactly in place and went to do my hair and make-up. I did full makeup, much heavier than I would ever wear for any normal activity, including false eyelashes, because it never shows up on camera as much as it does in real life, and I really wanted there to be a sharp contrast between the two "me" images. I also borrowed a wig from my beautiful roommate to contrast my hair. I changed my shirt to a contrasting color (white), and returned to my camera set-up. After a few attempts, I got a shot that seemed close enough to the original to work for post-editing:

Now comes the tricky part. Why so tricky? Because the shot doesn't evenly divide into two simple sides, so cutting and pasting was slightly more difficult than it might have been if I could have just cut down the middle. Basically, I free-selected a section of that second photo about like this:

... and pasted it onto the original photo. (Sadly, I didn't keep files at the various stages in between, so you'll have to use your imagination for a bit.) As you can imagine, there were a few places where the paste was startlingly obvious - at my wrist, for example, and at the line of the bed at the top. I used the smudge tool (in Gimp - I don't have Photoshop) to soften those lines a bit. In the end, I was able to come up with this product:

If you look closely, you can probably still see some of the weird lines where I pasted the two images together. It's easier to see in the color version because the lighting is a little bit different based on where I was sitting in each photo. However, I always planned to do the final version in black and white anyway, so once I made that last adjustment, we have the final product:

I would say overall, the whole process took 2-2.5 hours. Yes, upwards of two hours for one photo. However, while I had the camera out and had full makeup and hair done, I did get some other good self-portraits that I'll share soon.

Hope that clears up the mystery shot!


Sarita said… make it look so easy... :)
Anonymous said…
this is really cool - thanks for sharing the process. and i can't see any weird lines - the photoshopping looks great.
Christina said…
thanks so much for sharing your process - so cool! You did a great job!
Maggie said…
You did such an amazing job - that was seriously such a cool shot!
Major Bedhead said…
I don't see any weird lines in either shot. It's very cool.

Have you read The Thirteenth Tale? There's a scene in the book where the narrator "sees" her twin reflected in a window. Your finished shot reminds me of that scene.

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