Photographer Dave Cross has been a well-known Photoshop educator since 1990. Today, he just launched a new stock photo service called CompositingStock, which uses a collapsible safety cone in order to help photographers figure out how big subjects should be on backgrounds.
The official 2-pound safety cone costs $30 through the website, and is used by both the stock photographers and the photo buyers. Here’s how the system works.
Everyone who submits a stock background to the service uploads 2 versions of their photo: one standard shot, and one with the safety cone included as a size reference.
Buyers, who are encouraged to have their own cone, then shoot photographs of models standing next to the official cone. This way, both the stock background and the custom full-body portrait both have the same cone in them.
To combine the shots, simply make sure the cones are scaled to be the same size.
“One of the most challenging things to do in compositing is realistically placing into a new background a full-length photo of a person,” says Cross. “With our unique reference system, it’s simple to scale the person to match the correct size of the background, and to determine shadows, reflections etc.”
CompositingStock also offers free compositing tutorials and some sample photos that allow you to try out the cone compositing system. Contributing photographers earn a commission of 40% with the sale of their images.