How I made We Pave your way

I created this image for the new website of Dutch insurance broker Gebr. Sluyter. This image, that is titled “We Pave Your Way”, was also published on How I made We Pave your way:

Other tutorials in this serie

Step 1: Sketching the idea

I usually first sketch the idea I have in mind for an image

When I have a new idea in mind for an image, then I usually first make a sketch of it. For most of my sketches I normally use a simple pen and paper. But this was for a client, so I had to made a more detailled sketch, so I could present it to my client for approval.

Step 2: Photographing the elements

The moment that I received approval to make this image, I started planning the photoshoot of the different elements. First I went to the Maasvlakte 2 to see if I could find a road that I could photograph from the right angle I had in mind. Well, that was the easy part…

It was a very hot day when I shot this image

I used this image as a starting point. So now I had to remove a piece of road in front of the image. That wasn’t to difficult at all. Simply went to a forest where I come very often and I photographed a big field of grass at the same angle. A little of Photoshop magic and I had this:

I also added some clouds for the drama!

Step 3: The roll

When I had to make the roll, I thought first that I had to do alot of Photoshop. The local store had a roll of foam, but instead of that I bought I roll of wallpaper. I was just passing by the wallpaper shelf when my eye caught this piece of wallpaper.

This roll of wallpaper had a texture that really went well with the texture of the road. I photographed it in my studio in the right angle, with the right lighting I had in mind.

Before I started photographing the roll of wallpaper, I first draw a sketch in photoshop, so I knew how it would look.

Step 4: The truck

Now I build the basic scene, it was time to photograph the truck. I drove the whole Randstad to find a point where I could photograph a truck from the right angle in the right position. Guess what? I didn’t succeed. It was a drag to find a proper place and finally I gave up and thought I wasn’t going to finish this image at all. So, at that time I started a new image for this serie. But after a while I found out that I still wanted to finish this image.

My conclusion was that there was no quick posibility to photograph a truck from the right angle. I have enough contacts that can provide me a truck, and I could rent a big studio to drive on in, but still I decided to do something else…

Example: this truck wasn’t photographed from the right perspective. I could not use this…

I like to keep it as simple as possible. So I came up with the idea to buy a miniature. And to get the coloring as good as I can get it, I created the whole scene in miniature.

Yes, this is all in my studio on a table.

A Miniature scenery

Why did I created this scene this way? First of all: I wanted to have as much of control of lighting that I could get. Because I had more images that I was working on at that moment, I wanted to buy more time. If I rented a truck and a big studio, then I only had one change to get it right. Yet I wanted more control, because I wasn’t sure of it would work. So, this gave me more options and more time. Second: I thought it would be great if I could make a miniature world, so I would just need one good shot and have the whole image perfect, without needing much Photoshop.

So, I got into creating miniature scenes. 🙂 And thus I bought stuff to create things like miniature trees, just to make the scene look as real as I could get it.

With ironwire I crafted a tree. With latex I could make tree look more real. With paint and other material I finished the tree. I used pv foam to create a rocky scene.

Learning curve

Now I look back to this moment as a learning curve. It was huge fun to do, and when I have more time, I will certainly make better trees. It does take a lot of time to make. So this time I chose to use the Photoshop scene that I created before.

All that work wasn’t for nothing, because it made it a lot easier to photograph the truck with the correct coloring, angle etc. It was pretty simple to implement the truck within the scene in Photoshop. Only difficulty was cutting out the truck.

The truck when it still was in the store

After photographing the truck in my studio, it was all about Photoshop. Spending hours cutting out the truck, playing with the lighting (daylight, sunset, or blue hour etc). In the end I decided to have a lighting in the image that corresponds with the moments after blue hour.

Step 5: Photographing the hand

Yes, I did put on my best suit 😉 The idea behind it was that as an insurance broker “we pave your way“. Make it easier to do your job. That is why I put on my suit for the hand. Now that I knew how the lighting had to be for the hand, it was pretty easy to photograph the hand in my studio (with the scenery and the same setup of my camera and lighting).

Diving in Photoshop I added the hand, the shadow of the hand on the roll of wallpaper and the shadow on the grass.

That wasn’t the finishing touch though…

Step 6: adding my signature

Almost in every image that I make, I usually want to have my signature within. In this case I thought it would be funny and necessary to add myself to the picture as a truckdriver. Offcourse with my serious look 😉

I choose to do this pose, so it appears I am looking at the roll of road below and before the truck.

Step 7: Composite all photo’s together

Now all the photo’s where made it was time to dug into Photoshop and start compositing. I added shadows and light, I added color grading and many other things to give it this mood in the image.

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