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Lumia Voices
August 20, 2015

How to create super surreal photos on your Lumia

Remember Pritesh Patel and his amazingly surreal smartphone photos? Of course you do. Well, he’s back with some top tips that’ll tell you exactly how to create your own super surreal photos on your Lumia.

Pritesh Patel 3

We recently featured Pritesh Patel and his 7 amazingly surreal smartphone photos, which awed and inspired you just as much as they did us. In fact, many of you asked for a “How to” so that you can learn how to create your own surreal photos with your Lumia. Guess what: he delivered. Pritesh has put together an in-depth tutorial that tells you everything you need to know about his editing process. Read on and soon you’ll be creating surreal photos that turn your crazy, creative ideas into reality. Now, over to the man himself.

Creativity is the transformation of a unique idea into a reality. According to me, turning the craziest and weirdest idea into a photograph is creativity. A good thing about photography is that it’s simpler than videography. We just have to deal with capturing a single frame. Sound too easy? Well, to be honest, it’s easier than you think but before you embark on your journey of turning extraordinary ideas into photos, there’s one piece of equipment that’s just as necessary as a unique idea: a tripod!

The photos I do are never a single shot. They are the combination of multiple shots, which is why they are so catchy. These multiple shots must be taken from the exact same place, and that’s where the Tripod comes in handy. Shots can be taken handheld also, but it’s recommended to get a sturdy tripod so that we can hit something called ‘Accuracy and Precision’.

Now, the concept is to take two photos from the exact same place. The first photo must be a subjective photo which involves a human or whatever attraction you choose. The second photo should be a background shot.

The above theoretical knowledge may be a bit bouncy, so let’s take a look at some examples of my photos. I’ll be giving detailed explanations for one of my shots and a “How to” for double exposure shots as well.

Starting with one of my most popular shots, A Step in my Frame:

Pritesh Patel 7
This photo is a combination of two pictures. Take a look at both the subjective and background shots below.

Pritesh Patel subjective and background

Now that you know the two types of photos you need, let’s jump into the editing process. To edit you’ll need Photoshop. Just kidding! Windows Phone Store has blessed us with an amazing app called Fantasia Painter that is capable of functioning like Photoshop. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved in editing.

Step 1: Select your images

After clicking both subjective and background shots, open up the subjective shot in Fantasia Painter, then click on ‘Effects’.

Pritesh Patel step 1

Find the ‘Clone, Merge image’ effect, click that, choose ‘Open or take photo’ and select the background image.

Step 2: Align your images

Now in this step, all you need to do is align both images with respect to size, zooming both images to a specific proportion. Take 100% for example. Next, set target on the ‘To’ section (the subjective image). I have set the target at the corner of the wall. Then set the target exactly on the same place in the ‘From’ section (the background image). Once done, it’ll look like this.

Pritesh Patel screenshot 2

Now you can zoom out the ‘To’ section (however, be careful not to move targets or even touch the ‘From’ section or else you’ll have to start over again).

Step 3: Remove areas to create that surreal look

In this step, click on options and set the brush size, opacity and hardness. I suggest using 60-70% of brush hardness and opacity. Set brush size as per the requirement.

Click on clone tab and start brushing on the areas to be removed. Zoom in or zoom out the subjective image to cover all areas precisely. You might need to boost up hardness and opacity while brushing critical areas. Once done, it’ll look somewhat like this.

Pritesh Patel screenshot 3

Step 4: Blend your image

After Step 3, one can easily make out the difference due to change in ambient light conditions between capturing two shots. Now it’s time to blend the image perfectly.

Set brush hardness and opacity to a lower value, say 15-20%, and brush size as per the requirement.

Select clone and gently brush out the areas of ‘differences’. Now it’ll look like this.

Pritesh Patel screenshot 4

Click back and tap ‘Keep changes’ and voila! You are done!

Step 5: Make your image pop

Adjust brightness, contrast and so on to pop your image.

I think you’ve probably got it by now, but let’s see a few more examples just to be sure.

Lean and Align:

lean align

Again, the same concept with two photos. The originals will give you an idea of how to do it.

Lean align, subjective and background

Global Warming

global warming

Blend of two pictures, but here the background image is replaced by another subjective shot. Have a look at the originals.

Global warming, subjective and background


Double exposure shot


This photo is also a combination of two pictures. Here the concept is simple. An app called InstaBlender works best for me and will work best for you too. You can select any two pictures, but the main pic has to be a silhouette (not necessarily, though) and the second can be a normal clouds shot.

For this image I took the first shot on full zoom and the second one with complete zoom out.

Experiment and let the ideas flow freely and you too can create masterpieces!

Big thanks to Pritesh for taking the time to create this helpful tutorial, and we hope he has inspired you to start putting your creativity to the test. Let us know in the comments below what you think, and we can’t wait to see your own surreal smartphone photos. With such great guidance from Pritesh, we know they’ll be fantastic.