Just like the matrix 

We have all seen in the movie the Matrix where Agent Smith replicates himself ending up with hundreds if not thousands of himself in the one scene. 

Having studied both graphic design and photography and having a passion in each area, to bring them together as one is something I can’t get enough of. Since first discovering Adobe Photoshop 3(yes, version 3, the year was 1995) I was hooked. I remember being in work experience at a Graphic design office for two weeks and created the big red lotto ball from scratch. We have come a long way in the software in the last 21 years and I have not looked back in my love for photo manipulation and creation. 

About 10 years ago I was watching the matrix and thought to myself that I could do that, I know… I’ll have me playing poker against myself so created my first shot. 

thats me, everyone of those people is me 🙂

I took away a lot of lessons from this, I had no tutorials or help in what to think of, how to do it or what to consider. 

To do this shot properly and really make an impact you need to really plan and also take more shots than are needed, better to have too many that not enough. In the shot above I had a lot of luck but if shooting out doors you need to be quick, you need to be quick because the light is always changing and if light is cast differently across you this will stand out when you start bringing it all together. 

The examples I will be showing here are all examples without a huge amount of planning into the shot and were done on the fly because I want to focus more on the process of editing rather than shooting. The best impact I think can be made is if you can change your clothes and look as it makes people look twice but sometimes shooting in a park is not the best location to be changing in and out of clothes…..

To place this in contrast to one that is shot inside where you can take your time due to light not changing too much I did one recently in my lounge room. 

what to do on a rainy day.

Equipment you will need to do this

  • Camera with a remote or self timer
  • Tripod
  • Photoshop (or other software that can work in layers)
  • Sense of humour and adventure 🙂

The great thing with this example is I made a mistake….. I took one shot that couldn’t be used because I didn’t plan this, I thought last minute to do so I could run through this tutorial. 

End result

The shoot itself took me about 60 seconds, I didn’t check my positions, the lighting or have a theme on this one. 


Starting this in Lightroom as shown above I have six shots I am wanting the use here, whilst I could have done more work on the photos including the blowouts in the background I just chose to quickly bring some clarity and tone in to the photo. Through Lightroom you can match exposure or settings across multiple shots. Once that was applied I export the photos I need to a folder on my desktop. Whilst what I am showing you may not be the quickest way or there could be better ways this is the way I started and have stuck to in doing these shots. 

From my desktop I highlight all the newly exported photos and right click > open in > photoshop. 

You will see all the tabs running across the top of the window representing each shot. From here is where you use the most valuable thing (in my opinion) that photoshop offers and that is layers. 

Photoshop layers are like sheets of stacked acetate. You can see through transparent areas of a layer to the layers below. You move a layer to position the content on the layer, like sliding a sheet of acetate in a stack. You can also change the opacity of a layer to make content partially transparent. 

Down in the bottom right you will need to select a new layer, once this is done you will select one of the shots from the tabs above and using the rectangle selected tool click drag and select the full frame of the shot, copy and go back to your main window. Select the new layer as your working layer (this is represented by it being highlighted) and past your copied photo into that layer. Repeat this step for every shot. 

Notice that each layer is a different shot. You will also notice that the base picture or background is locked, this will limit what you can do with that so now select the background layer, right click and duplicate layer. Notice the eye ball on the left of each layer? If you click on it this will cause that layer to be hidden or seen. The last area of importance on this pane is the opacity slider up the top right, we are going to use this to see through the layers so we can work on it. 

Now….. click the eye ball on all of them except the background copy and the one above it. 

Select layer one and drop the opacity till you can see both images. 

Keeping layer one highlighted as the working layer select the eraser tool from the far left tools pane and on the image of the subject that sits on the lower layer start to erase the person, this is actually erasing the area on the layer above allowing what’s under it to be seen. Once done bring the opacity up to 100%. 

Now select the background copy layer and control click layer one (this will highlight both of them). At the lop of the screen on the horizontal menu options select “layer” and “merge visible layers”. This will join those two as one and give you your new background or base layer. 

Repeat this process for every shot. 

Once you have done that you will finally be left with the finished product. 

Don’t be afraid to mix it up or try interacting in shots with yourself or even having a disagreemtnor fight with yourself as I did in this one –

Check out more on Instagram 

I have now changed my user name from foto.holic to followthephotographer to align with this blog. Enjoy!!! 


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