How to Create a Combo Photo

Laurel & Hardy, Mac & Cheese, Tom & Jerry – there are so many famous combos it goes to show that mashing two subjects together can create some amazing outcomes. But is that true in photography? Let’s look at combo photos!

OH YES (otherwise we wouldn’t have written this guide). Therefore, can we proudly introduce you to our wonderful iPhotography members – combo photos! Combo photos are a growing trend blending humour and intrigue for entertainment or discussion. There is one very prominent artist, Stephen McMennamy (@combophoto) behind this online movement who has inspired this article.

Let’s give you a few examples of his work:

Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy combo photos
Copyright Stephen McMennamy
Copyright Stephen McMennamy
Copyright Stephen McMennamy
Copyright Stephen McMennamy

Copyright Stephen McMennamy

Creating Combos

There is a decent amount of planning that goes into good combo photos.

It’s not just a case of whacking two slightly similar pictures together. It involves research, but before that you need an idea to go forward with.

We’ve got a few loose topics you could use as springboards for your own combo photos.

Top Tip – Have a look on Pinterest, we’ve dedicated a whole board to combo photos so you’ll have tonnes of inspiration!

Shapes

Look for two objects that could create each half of a shape.

Half a Lemon and Lime for example. 

Textures

Try replacing one part of a two textured object for a different feel.

Maybe something like spaghetti instead of the ends of a paint brush?

Limbs

What about swapping out dangling appendages for limbs from different creatures.

Be as innovative as you want!

Interaction

Have a go at adding in a reciprocal photo.

Make it look like the two shots you are combining interact in some way.

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Shooting Tips

It’s up to you if you want to make your life easier and shoot two new shots to combine together. That would be the simplest way.

But if you like a challenge, like us, then dig through your archives and see if you’ve got two shots already you could mash up, or one that’s screaming out for a partner.

Here are our best tips to shooting for perfect combo photos:

Keep your original picture close as a reference for shooting the other half

Consider the angle of how the first shot was taken to help you line up the second

Don’t worry if you can’t crop it in camera perfectly. We can edit it afterwards

Match up the backgrounds as best as possible. Try to make the effect seamless

Match up the exposures as well. You don’t want to end up with one half too dark

Once you’ve got your two shots then it’s time to blend them together to finish off this combo effect. You can do it in Photoshop, but for a break from the norm we’re going to use our Pixlr editor. You can find free access to it on the iPhotography dashboard.

It’s probably best to open up a new document and work from scratch. Make sure the orientation matches the way you took your photos.

Editing Tips

Firstly, drag one of your shots on to the document. Use the marquee tool to trim the parts you don’t want on the final combo.

Secondly, with the initial picture in place, bring in your other shot and start to line it up. Find the crossover line for where one picture transcends into the other. The trick is to make sure the width of these parts match, or at least look consistent.

You may find there are patches of white background peeking through due to your trimming in the earlier stages – don’t worry. Simply use the crop tool so you’re only left with the final design.

combo photos
combo photos

Finally, you may need/want to make a few other little tweaks to the colour and exposure.

Use the exposure or curves in the adjustment drop down menu to get the two shots looking similar.

And when you’re happy, flatten the whole document and save. Simples.

Of course, there’s one more vital stage – upload it to the gallery!

We’ve got to see your creations; you can’t get this far and not share your hard work.

Because, when done right, combo photos can be really eye catching and makes you look like a proper clever clog!

Summary

What do you think? Are you going to give this idea a shot? Let us know what you thought. We love to hear your feedback it’s a great source of inspiration and motivation for us.

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