Composite Photographer Joel Grimes Explains HDR Portraits

Composite Photographer Joel Grimes Explains HDR Portraits

Joel Grimes is a commercial advertising photographer who is most known for his composite portraits. In his recent interview with [Framed], Joel discusses how he got started with his career, how he uses 16bit HDR images in his workflow, does a full photoshoot, and even shows off his musical talents. The video is long so take your time watching it because he gives a lot of useful tips. I'm trying to persuade Sean Armenta to create an Fstoppers Post Production Tutorial on this type of composite editing so if you have questions leave them in the comments below.

Patrick Hall's picture

Patrick Hall is a founder of and a photographer based out of Charleston, South Carolina.

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 Greetings from Down Under :)

I would PAY for a tutorial on composites like this.  Thanks for putting up such a great video. 

 Go to his website, he has tutorials for sale that explain all of this...

I have been a fan of Joel since I first took up photography ... that bar none was THE best introspective look at the what makes Joel Grimes and a photographer 'work'. !!!

One of the best posts you've had on FS so far! Damn that was inspiering!

Right!? Loved it.

Joel is also a very down to earth friendly guy. He came to Phoenix this year and had a commercial shoot at a casino and I was lucky enough to drag his equipment around for the day. It was a very educational experience and I hope to get to one of his workshops soon.

Being color blind is sort of like having a built in cross-proccessing filter in your brain...

Dean Collins was color blind as well.

I've learnt more from Sean's 5 minute vids regarding beauty and fashion than anything else on the web to be honest. Although not everyones cup of tea most of his techniques can easily be translated to other styles of photography. I like him because he's direct and to the point with what seems carefully storyboarded and scripted vids without minutes of useless BS. Although granted they're not for the absolute beginner. My photoshop skill have now exceeded any level i thought i might be able to reach thanks to him. Kudos Sean

I'm just not into the whole HDR thing..... yet.  Although this is a very interesting take on it.

wow...that flipped a switch for me. i wish i had a mentor like mr grimes. thanks for posting patrick!

Patrick hats off to you for posting this greatness, to be honest when I saw that it was a 47 minute video I thought, I cant give 47 minutes of my life away, lol. But I have to say I'm glad and a little better off for doing so. Joel really inspires the creative side, and not to hold on to so much of the technical aspects, though they are important. Creativity should rule the day.

Ha yeah 45 mins is nothing if it can take you somewhere new creatively. Never undersell the value of education from solid teachers

Great and informative article.  I love Joel's look.  Must use a lot of dodging/burning.  I'd be happy to do it 1/4 as well as that.

Great post...been a huge fan of his work for a while...great to get the chance to meet the man behind in the images and see how he works...thanks guys...

Joel just mailed me and gave me the most mind blowing compliment about my humble work.
Need to go lie down!

This is great stuff. And He's looks like a great person:)
I never tried to make composites, but this video is making me to want so:)

Bit long winded, (could have lived without the first 15 minutes) but good stuff on the whole.

Awesome video, well put together, and Joel seems like another amazing guy.  I'm noticing a trend with great photographers being classy humans!

I was in need of the advice and encouragement that Joel Grimes gave near the end of this video. I've gone through a slump of wondering why my business isn't thriving as much as it can or should and he hit me on the head with good medicine. I can loose my passion for creating if I focus too much on whether I'm making enough or any money off photography. It is so true. I have to do this thing I love no matter what. No matter what. 

Og what a coincidence! Watched this video the day it was released, and that was what inspired me to the photo I posted in the Fstoppers Facebook group 2 days ago :D 
His work is amazing and Joel seems to be such a nice person and both FramedShow and Joel Grimes deserves to be shown to the world :) 

Great photographer BUT do we really need the life story of the makeup lady? 

This is great! "A technical instrument can never make a creative decision." Love that.

i love this, and tbh id love to do a cross between his work and drew gardners with my equestrian work, so any tutorials that come up are a huge welcomed learning curve!

Great information, but ADHD's can sit for 47 minutes.  I found myself skipping ahead with most of this video.  I don't care that he plays guitar, I just want point-form learning material.  Thanks for the post, Patrick.  Great info.

Great video! but i have a question for all the photoshop users... i use Photomatix for HDR.. what is the option he refers when he talks about the moving object (as the tree) during a bracketing?
thanks for the info and thanks for the post!!! :-)

I've the same question as Fabio... what photoshop operation allows to combine multiple images and find the still parts or such... the tree as the primary example. Plz plz... :)

I couldn't agree more with the other posts.. 47 min.!? Aint gonna happen, but..... well worth every second. Grimes is an level, non-egotistical, average Joe with fame and genius tucked in his belt. Beautiful work with incredible insight. Well Done!

Great video. I see he's using Einstein lights. What adapters is he using for the other softboxes?

Alien Bee's, Paul C. Buff products, if I am not mistaken use the Balcar standard.  

thats what i'm talkin about Fstoppers!!!! ..... very very inspiring!!!!  [not saying nothing else is.... the whole site is inspiring, really...i mean..... why would I visit 3-4-7 times a day unless I was getting immensely stimulated by the creative energy that exudes from these pages]

Liked the video.  Would have loved to see him put a model in the warehouse HDR shot he did.

Off topic but the Framed girl was super cute.

I like Joel's whole series on Framed  (Lit UP). I like Joel's easy going and humble manner, despite his accomplishments, and his simple presentation of information. That being said, using HDR for a studio portrait is a bit like buying pants 4 sizes too large because you have a really long belt. 

give me more of this! :)

Great Film, very enjoyable

Wow, what a great video! I love how down to earth he is, realistic but hope-giving. A video on the post-production would be awesome as well. 
My question is: how is he able to extract the models from the white background when the edges are blown white because of the wrap of the rimlights? And what software is he using for the HDR selection between the still or moving parts of the tree and traffic?

If you're part of Kelby Training Joel Grimes has a series on there all about his post processing. :)

love the Paul C. Buff wireless transmitter. :D

Old video, but always good to watch. Framed Network also features him in a (shorter) video series called "Lit Up" where he discussed other lighting setups he's used.

Hi, Where's this video ? I can't find it on this page.. :(