This Digital Artist Photoshops Subjects Into Entirely Different Backdrops for Surreal Photo Series

This Digital Artist Photoshops Subjects Into Entirely Different Backdrops for Surreal Photo Series

For the past few days, the work of Russian Retoucher Max Asabin has been circulating the Internet. Much attention is turning to the talented artist, who possesses the ability to merge several photographs in order to create a dramatic scene. See more of his work and gain an insight into his work process here.

You may have seen the above image splashed across your social media feeds this week. They’re the work of Max Asabin, who is a hobbyist when it comes to retouching, and are created by fusing several images together in Photoshop.

The process consists of blending in pieces of each and every picture required, before matching the lighting so that everything looks natural. His work consists mostly of portraits, making it even more impressive that they can pass as one legitimate photograph.

Although many are quite “digital” in feel, it’s remarkable how Asabin can salvage an over or underexposed portrait and turn it into what looks like a movie poster.

Check out this collection of before-and-after images of Asabin’s work, as well as GIFs giving more insight into how the images are created.

You can find Asabin on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Deviant Art.

All images used with permission.

[via PetaPixel]

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Anonymous's picture

Some kid used a few of my landscape photos to try this and it really pissed me off but kudos to him for technically proficiency. I think we'll see a lot more of this in the Wedding/Engagement space in the coming years as tech becomes more available and easier to use.

Leigh Smith's picture

1: the tech will never easier to use. That's like sayin you'll be able to play the piano like Mozart when the piano gets easier to use.
2: Wedding photogs don't have the time for this sort of thing. These are one offs.

Anonymous's picture

You're right, technology hasn't made photography any easier in recent years... *EYE ROLL*

You're joking, right? Wedding photogs don't have time for comp work? I can list Wedding photogs off the top of my head that do great comps, massive panoramic stitches and thats not even my genre.

Code Trick's picture

I think you are a little bit late to tech advances. In the close future (100-150 years) there will be chips implantation that will make you play like Mozart. Right now they are working in controlling a machine arm with your brain impulse only for veterans that had lost both upper limbs.

Anton Blinkenberg Zeuthen's picture

I don't believe that time-constraint will hold off wedding photogs from doing this.. I do however think that no respectable wedding photographer would do this, because what would be the point? Wedding photography is about catching the day as it happens, and maybe adding a gelled flash or two in a few photos to make the sky look even more amazing. But placing the couple in a totally surreal world or setting just seems tacky. This might be done for fun for a single photo on request from the couple, or be really poor wedding photogs that do it because they can't compose a great photo without the help from photoshop :)
I do love the outcome of the photos in this article, but never introduce it into a genre where photojournalism is the key element.
Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous's picture

No respectable photographer would do this, you're right, but the bored soccer moms shooting Weddings for $800 will love this kinda bullshit.

Will Pursell's picture

I want to know how he does the lighting. Super realistic looking!

Anonymous's picture

Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

Travis Zielinski's picture

Far from it. This type of works takes a lot of time.

Anonymous's picture

Have any of you actually USED photoshop before? Jesus Christ.

Code Trick's picture

yes a lot and is not like 1,2,3 like you said

Anonymous's picture

If any of these photos took more than an hour I'd be shocked.

Travis Zielinski's picture

I am a full time retoucher. I live in photoshop and you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous's picture

If you do that full time and can't make a composite in 60 minutes you suck at your job.

Travis Zielinski's picture

After looking at your work survey says you are just an internet troll.

Code Trick's picture


Anonymous's picture

Because I disagree with you, I'm a troll. Got it. Have fun huddled behind your macbook in your moms basement making photos that look like I accidentally hit the HDR button on my iPhone..

As long as my clients like my photos I could give two fucks if you do.

Travis Zielinski's picture

Clearly you don't care, enjoy getting that wad of panties out of your ass.

Anonymous's picture

I was pretty dead set on proving you wrong until I realized I'm arguing with a grown man who photographs action figures.

Do your thing bro. Have fun.

Travis Zielinski's picture

Bam! I win.

I was an Army photojournalist long before the toys came along.

Anonymous's picture

Just what we need, more military propaganda.

I'm not waiting for you to show me respect and I hope you're not waiting for it.

Graham Taylor's picture

Greg, you're getting hammered in this argument. Let it go!

Travis Zielinski's picture

To earn respect you must serve a purpose, something like a C-Stand would earn my respect before you would. A C-stand serves its purpose well. You are just here to stir shit up and after looking at some of your 300 comments on Fstoppers I am sticking with the fact you are an internet troll.

jeff hanson's picture

IM SO ANGRY I WANT TO CHIME IN!!!!!! travis, your work looks great! i wish i had to passion/time for composites. i love browsing through your portrait work as well. keep up the good work.

Travis Zielinski's picture

Thanks a lot Jeff! I appreciate that.

Anonymous's picture

Go do something productive.

Code Trick's picture

maybe to do this photo yes , less than an hour but learning how to do it...days

Anonymous's picture

Thats what we're talking about. THESE PHOTOS.

Peter Brody's picture

Most of it looks fake, like poor CGI. I hope this isn't the future of photography.

La Li's picture

Seem Annie Leibovitz's recent is the present.

Carsten Schlipf's picture

Fake is the new real. Real the new fake.
Let's call this alternative reality.

Peter Brody's picture

No, I'll stick to what I know is real. The Western world is upside down enough as it is.

David Wilder's picture

He does a great job of blending the overall tone, highlights and contrast. Also he does a good job and putting flare where it should be to make sure the images blend together. I can barely composite images so I applaud the guy for doing this well.

Code Trick's picture

People that trash a work like this even if it is not art or the proper way to do lets say a wedding are envious or they can not do it themselves or are afraid that their job are at risk.
people like you who probably are an excellent photographer and still are humble enough to say that this kind of skill are great and the guy did a good job deserve a lot of respect .

Stefano Chiarelli's picture

Absolutely great job from a technical point of view, however sometimes for the lighting, sometimes for the context/subject some pictures looks like fake.

Code Trick's picture

I agree , but also sometimes we make good photos some time we dont.

M C's picture

Then that's not a great job from a technical point of view if it looks fake

Mick Ryan's picture

Jack were you drunk when you wrote this? It's great Photoshop work but it's not surreal by any stretch of any imagination or definition. It's just snapshots wth the background changed. But it's still snapshots.

Josiah Moore's picture

The pics are cool. Nothing really special though, as most of us on Fstoppers do comp work already. Wondering what the appeal is with this for a dedicated article?

Josean Rosario's picture

Amazing work and I aspire to do more work like this it actually has inspired me to create some stuff

Fritz Asuro's picture

I remember a discussion with a fellow photographer about manipulation of photos - if it's photography or not. And I told him that, technically, it's not BUT with today's digital age - it's the final output that matters most.

Kudos to the guy. Really impressive work!

Bill Peppas's picture

If this was really special, I would consider dropping all my photography equipment and start shooting with a Nokia 3310.

Sandrigo Zoilo's picture

Cool work, i like the somehow surreal look of the pictures, and it's not that "easy" some comments here try to say. I tried some composite work in my recent personal project too, using CC licensed Flickr shots as backgrounds, it's a hell of fun. I (and my "models") like the outcome very much, but it takes me very very long to achieve the look i want while doing composites. Especially stray hairs are a huge PITA to deal with (and yes, i watched hours of youtube tutorials for this purpose :P). Most of my composites took me between 2 and 5 hours (Time distribution: Hair cutout> finding the perfect background in Flickr>doing the actual composite):D

M C's picture

This is just...why is this an article? Composition is a pretty basic skill and people have been changing the backgrounds on pictures forever. These aren't even very good.

davidlovephotog's picture

I make a living doing composites for people that can't afford to hire a stunt crew to hang off buildings or refused to be set on fire. Mostly cosplayers but some business work. Regardless if you took a pic of a butterfly and called it done or built the idea you had in your head from individual images you take, in the end it's still a finished image that people will look at and either thumb up or thumb down.

Unless you post images right out of your camera, then you've done something to alter them. So it's stupid for some to knock someone's work just because it doesn't match your beliefs behind the lens.