Scrub-a-dub.. FLUB! Photoshop saves the day!
As my third baby boy's first birthday was creeping closer, I knew that I wanted to do a creative photoshoot for him - something that was all about what made him happy. Ever since he was a teeny tiny newborn, he LOVED baths so there was no doubt that the tub would be a perfect idea! Our bathtub inside is nothing special and I hate the lighting in the bathroom, so I hunted down a simple, vintage washing tub and let the planning begin... his older brothers were armed with their bubbles and rubber duckies, and my husband filled the tub with warm water & bubble bath and we headed to the backyard before sunset. We started with some simple shots fully dressed on his white rocking chair from his nursery, and then stripped him down for the tub.
... the older boys started blowing their bubble wands and my husband lowered him into the warm, sudsy bubble bath, and Weston immediately HATED IT!!! We still don't know if the wind was too chilly, or the tub wasn't soft enough or maybe it was just too close to bed time, but our usually giggly, happy babe was not havin' it. At all. We were all totally disappointed since we had pictured him splashing around and smiling ear-to-ear. I snapped away anyway, thinking maybe I'd get one usable shot, and then wrapped him up in a warm towel and called it a night. His brothers couldn't stop talking about how much he HATED it, which was actually kind of funny hearing how blunt and honest 5 and 7 year olds are. "Mom, we thought he'd love it and he just really really HATED our idea. It was so bad." :)
SO, the idea was a total flub, but I still had a tiny bit of hope that I could make something work. I had even themed his birthday party with bubbles & rubber duckies assuming that I'd have a giant photo to enlarge for the center piece.
I sat down at the computer and clicked through the raw images. Not much to work with. Thankfully, immediately before the tub shots, I had gotten some amazing smiling photos of him in the exact same area of the yard, and same lighting conditions. Let the Photoshop magic begin... 3.5 hours of editing later, I had it!!!
Take this face:
...and head-swap it onto this photo:
... and then work some enhancing magic, and get THIS!
Although I was disappointed that Weston didn't love the experience, I was thrilled with the result! My goal is always to catch a real, authentic moment, but when that fails (as we all know that it can; especially with small children), I'm capable of creating the vision anyway.
For my photog friends - keep in mind that head-swapping takes A LOT of practice and patience. The angle and lighting has to be pretty exact in both photos, otherwise the final result will look fake or unnatural. This head-swap and full edit took over 3 hours which is totally crazy but totally worth it for me in the end. I also found some amazing bubble overlays from Summerana.com that really made this pop!