Baking Snow Angel | Christmas Card Portrait | Parker CO Photographer
Over the years I have tried to create some unique images for our personal Christmas photos, mostly in an attempt to be a little more creative and put my Photoshop skills to the test. One year our daughter was reading a "magic" book as Santa and his sleigh passed outside in the night sky (view the image here). Another year our daughter was tapped up to "a wall" while my husband and I enjoyed a quiet glass of wine (view the image here). This past Christmas I decided to create the bakery snow angel portrait I had considered for several years and I think it turned out pretty well. So how was it done? Keep reading!
To create this image essentially you just need two photos that you can merge in Photoshop using layers (you definitely need some Photoshop skills to accomplish this). The first photo will be of your background baking scene and the second photo of your child, children, or whomever you want in the image.
You can search Internet sites like Etsy to find lots of digital backgrounds and the bakery snow angel concept is one of them. While it is basically some version of the left image above, there are of course variations in colors and baking tools used so you can find one that suits your taste (see what I did there!). Despite there being quite a few available for purchase, in the end I decided based on many of the final images I saw, that they never quite looked right... the outline just didn't quite match the body size without some distortion. So I decided to create the entire image myself including the background image.
The first image I took was the one of our daughter... making an actual snow angel in flour (I purchased a 5lb bag). Luckily I had the space in our home to do this with relatively little mess and the high ceiling needed to get up on a ladder so I could easily capture her entire body in the image. I had to put our dog outside while the flour was on the floor because let's face it... that would have been a nightmare. Then, I had our daughter carefully lay in the flour and make her angel. I threw a bit of extra flour on her for "good measure" (okay, okay... because it added to my fun), climbed the ladder and took starting shooting. Angle is important on this and it is a bit difficult to capture the shot straight on unless you are laying on some scaffolding overhead. I was fresh out of scaffolding so I held my camera out as far as I could for this shot. It took several attempts to get just the right shot. Now if you don't have the space or just want to avoid this process for a variety of reasons, I highly recommend purchasing one that has already been created.
The second image I took was just a capture of some coordinating baking elements I either already had in our kitchen or found in a trip to Target. The only cupcakes I could find with the red and white colors were miniature ones and while I think bigger cupcakes would have been great in this scene (I could have enlarged some them in Photoshop) I didn't think it was worth the trouble. After all, the small cupcakes are about the size of her head. I carefully laid the elements out how I wanted them and filled in with more flour where needed. Then I captured this shot from pretty close in so that the elements would be pretty big in the background image without having to crop it too much.
After cleaning everything up, I uploaded my images, selected my final two, did a little bit of editing on them to ensure the lighting still looked even, then put both photos in separate layers in Photoshop. Then I positioned and sized the image of our daughter so that she fit in between the elements. Now the key to merging two photos together is blending... whether you are swapping heads in family photos when the toddler made a face in what was an otherwise perfect image of a family of 12... or this type of shot. For this image I erased most of the image around our the snow angel outline being very careful to use a light opacity in the brushstrokes of my eraser. It's a bit tedious but totally worth it, especially when it's just one image you need to create.
Finally, I added some fun text to the image to make it our own personal Christmas card that you see at the top of this post. Relatively simple, lots of fun to create, and a treasured photo I will add to her annual photo album.
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