How these instagrammers do photography like on the pictures below. Small scattered items (leaves, etc) on the ground. I do think that it was shot as is. If to look better, possible to notice that same items are cloned.

As I understand the process:

1 Take picture of the ground( floor, asphalt, etc.).

2 Bring a lot of leaves(20-30) to home and shoot them on green surface.

3 Add them one by one to a new layer.

4 Copy that layer and create shadows.

Is it the way they did it? It seems takes a lot of time. Is there any possibility that it was done in more time efficient way?

So the main question is how much the scene is real?

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • Why don't you ask the photographer?
    – FreeMan
    Nov 20 '18 at 19:56
  • I did, but when you have +900K followers, it usually normal to not notice a single message.
    – Alex K
    Nov 21 '18 at 12:45

The fastest way is to get the leaves/objects, add them around the object and take the photo. On such way you will not need to carry about the shadows, they will be on the right place and direction. Of course preparation for the shoot is not so fast and easy. Also you do not have much control on the places. But IMO is much faster and natural.

About the leaves/objects think about the possibility they was prepared in advance so after shoot they was loaded and places, replicated on the photo.

And BTW the background for shooting leaves/objects was blue because blue is much rare in autumn colours, compared to green.

  • If look better, it is possible to see the same item in several places. So I can judge that it wasn't a complete composition that was shoot as is.
    – Alex K
    Nov 17 '18 at 7:25
  • @AlexK, for sure some copy/paste process is involved. But for me the base was not empty from leaves. And as I said my answer is about fastest way, not best way. Nov 17 '18 at 7:29
  • Ok, so you think it is the way they done it, right. They were shooting it on the base.
    – Alex K
    Nov 17 '18 at 7:32
  • @AlexK, yes, at least 40% of the leaves/objects was in place when taking the photo. Nov 17 '18 at 7:37
  • Ok, I will try to do that way and give feedback later.
    – Alex K
    Nov 17 '18 at 7:39

I would like to address cat picture specifically. If with other images it is possible to position objects precisely, cat might show character and mess things up.

To go around this, I guess, photographer would take two images, probably using tripod to have same background. First image is the subject (cat), the second one is image of small objects. Then overlay, and mask away pixels where cat should be in Photoshop.

No green screen needed, but some masks and brush work.enter image description here

Also it is important what kind of medium is being used. On Instagram, posted images are relatively low-resolution (and viewed on small-ish phone screens), and usually seen for just a few seconds. You can get away with some technical mistakes, masked by bright colours and unusual composition.


As this is a photography forum, go and prepare your leaves. Not only bring them home but probably put some weight to it; a sticky tape and a piece of playdoh so they do not move when you or the subject moves around.

Work indoors, and prepare some direct light to emulate sunlight. Put the strobes pretty far and probably use an orange gel to simulate golden hour.

Quality results need effort.

Of course, you can just prepare a brush on Photoshop that disseminates objects; candies, stars, leaves or cats if you want, the shadows are not big deal... but that is out of the scope of the forum.

  • I am more interested in knowing how those people did it. Your ironical "smart" answer doesn't bring much value to the question.
    – Alex K
    Nov 20 '18 at 4:00
  • 2
    i would say that StackExchange is not a forum Nov 20 '18 at 5:35

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