Last week I got the chance to shoot the amazing HAIM in the Phoenix Park, as they supported The Killers. Due to, well, sheer not-bringing-it-ness, I didn't bring my second camera (I was only there shooting HAIM and Two Door Cinema Club - it seemed unnecessary!). So rocking only one camera meant that I'd the choice of either a 24-70 or a 70-200mm lens. Arriving at the stage a few minutes before they took to the stage, I reckoned the longer lens would suit me best. The 24-70 was too wide and the stage was rather high.
Initially, my choice seemed spot on. I was cracking out shots like the above -and below - with ease, where the 24-70 would have left me banjacksed, scrambling closer to the stage or just sitting there crying (or the more realistic - me changing the lens)
Then the unexpected happened and the lead guitarist and bass player stood about 4 foot apart, climbed over their monitors and leaned into the crowd as they headbanged away. I moved as far as I could back, but I couldn't get the two of them into the frame at 70mm. I wanted this head on - not to the side, so I didn't want to move. I reckoned there wasn't enough time to change lens (this was a spur of the moment thing), so I did what I though was best.
I shot on anyway. I swayed ever so slightly side to side shooting the pair, making sure I'd both in their entireities in at least one shot. However when I got home I really liked some of the 'hair shots' more than the others.
I mean, I wanted this shot to be all hair and guitars. I'd enough of them looking gorgeous and cool. This was just about the hair to me! So first I saw this:
On the left we've Danielle, engulfed in hair mid-solo. However, Este on the right wasn't in as cool a pose as I wanted. I wanted this doo:
Now it's not a hard job to attach the bits of each photo together, the Marquee tool (M) would allow you to select a massive region - and then by copying and pasting onto the other image, you could line everything up. However, in these shots - we're missing both of Este's Bass Guitar head. So I needed to do a bit of reconstruction.
First thing I needed to do was place these two together. I selected the Marquee Tool (M) and drew around Danielle. I copied and pasted her onto the photo above, which produced this:
The lines aren't far off being totally matched up - you can see a slight deviation in the middle at the top where the line 'jaggers' a bit. That's nothing to worry about right now.
Next thing we needed to do was make a bit of space for the head to sit into. Using the trail of CS6 (long story - don't ask) I just cropped a slightly larger are to the right of the frame - like so
Next we needed to find Este's bass guitar head in a relatively similar position. This wasn't hard - there was one shot not far apart from these two that I could use. Having found it I used the Quick Selection Tool (W) to grab it's outline. I copy and pasted that onto the image I already had. I zoomed in and lined them up as best I could. As they weren't exactly the same angle, the strings didn't line up, so I would later erase the neck of the guitar up to the bridge.
I deleted all the background information from around the head and had a nice outline with a bit of space to edit a background into.
I did a quick bit of cloning to the top and right of the picture, using (S). I didn't have to be exact really - once the tones were somewhat similar to their surroundings, I knew I could use the Healing Brush Tool (J) to select the tones needed and polish up the fine details. I also took out the drum beneath Este's legs which were quite distracting and pushed the pair of guitarists ever so slightly closer together (you can see that in the above picture, where I've bumped Danielle on the left a bit closer to the right!). I also got rid of the top pole in the image - it didn't add anything to the frame, unlike the lower which was supporting the flag!
And all that that left me with this!
It's far from my best image, but I'd like to think that the 13 minutes it took me to do all this, I'd saved a decent but massively flawed image and made it into something usable.
It may be a cardinal sin to edit any live images in such a way, and while I wouldn't submit something like this for publication (I wouldn't have the time mostly), I see no issue with doing it for my own Facebook page etc.
Personally, I see no issue with this kind of editing. I'm not making anyone look like they don't, I'm not adding anything that wasn't there - I'm just piecing together the best of what happened in a 4 second time frame, and hiding the bits that are not essential to the image (drumkit, pole etc). What do you think?