Compositing Images Onto TV Screens and Other Displays in Photoshop Without Looking Fake

Have you ever photographed a scene with a monitor, smartphone, or television in it and needed to swap in a better looking display image? Commercial photographers run into this all the time. Here’s how to make your composites look realistic.

In this video from Tony Roslund, he shares his best tips for getting real-looking results while compositing graphics onto computer monitors and TV displays for his commercial shoots. Oftentimes while photographing architecture or real estate, there’s bound to be some kind of screen eventually making its way into one of your photos. The way you handle them while on location and in post-processing is going to set yourself up for success when delivering images to the client.

Roslund’s method is based on both being smart about how the scene is photographed in the first place as well as the subtle adjustments needed in postproduction to really sell the look of it. One problem area for many composites are the small steps still needed after dropping an image into place. They don’t take much time or skill to do, but make a huge difference as this quick tutorial shows.

Check out the full video above for all of Roslund’s tricks for realistic display composites. What are your own methods that you’ve used before? Share them in the comments below.

Log in or register to post comments

9 Comments

Eric Raeber's picture

I am not sure how much the swearing helps in getting the message through. Now if I was to add an image onto a black monitor, I would definitely try the "Screen" blending mode in Photoshop: not only does the name seem adequate for the task, but it will preserve the specular highlights picked up in the original file.

Content starts at 2:13

Johnny Rico's picture

Usually have client put the screen up as the want, then hit it with black foamcore for it's own plate, adjusting exposure as necessary. It looks real because it is real.

Tony Roslund's picture

That’s a good way to do it when possible and time permits. But not always the case. In this example, there was nobody available to put up a screen. I think this method probably allows more control since you’d be compositing anyway.

Tony Roslund's picture

.

Linda Quackenboss's picture

thank you. some good points in here about the pen tool feathering, fill black before layering the image and using glare to your advantage. i realize this is an architectural image which i love shooting too and one suggestion when you're including people in the image is not to crop them at the joints. (maybe his shoes were really ugly.)

Tony Roslund's picture

Haha It's not cropped at the joints. You're only seeing part of the image in the video (I'm zoomed in).

Linda Quackenboss's picture

Excellent!

Nolan Henley's picture

I recommend making your images smart objects, once you have them in place with adjustments made, you have the flexibility to change the image if needed without having to do the work to fit it to the screen again.