Step 1: Materials
I would suggest a higher end model like a DSLR (I can't recommend one sorry) but if you are pressed for money or just don't want to spend so much I would just select a good camera 4 megapixels or more for example (the one i used is 4.1 megapixels).
You will then want to choose a topic and if you will want to meld two pictures together. For my first picture I chose to use fruit and a wine bottle (painted by my Grandpa). I thought it would be good to replace the dull back wall of my cottage with a view of the lake outside.
If you have chosen to go further than just taking the picture and leaving it as is you will need Photoshop Elements 7. This is what I used to do all of the editing and merging of photos but you dont need to do these things.
Step 2: Preparation
Since I am using fruit I polished them all so that they would look the best for the final picture. If the fruit has blemishes don't worry since you can clean those up in Photoshop if you are using it. If you don't have Photoshop make sure that you face blemishes away from the camera or remove those peticular fruits.
Looking at the first picture you can see all of the fruits I have chosen. Remember that when arranging fruits you should put bigger ones, such as apples, in the back and smaller fruits, like grapes, in the front. It is also a good Idea to put some fruit off to the side to create some sort of balance (even one grape is good enough).
The second picture shows that the grapes I am using are quite dirty and you probably don't want that in your picture. simply polish them with a tissue paper (third picture) and you should be fine.
As you can see in the fifth picture I am using a painted wine bottle to add some height to the focus of my photo. Since it was in good condition i did not need to polish it. If you are using a wine bottle (whether painted or not) be sure to wipe off any dust and dirt so it looks much better in the photo.
You should put your fruit and any other contents of your photo in front of a suitable background if you are not using Photoshop otherwise you can just take the picture anywhere.
Alright now that you have finished preparing the photo's contents go on to the next step.
Step 3: Taking the Picture
Before taking your picture you should consider if you are going to meld two pictures together. If you are make sure you take them both around the same time of day so that you will achieve similar lighting.
Since the two pictures I used were taken around the same time of day the fruit and bottle didn't look too much out of place.
(pictures 1 & 2 make picture 3)
(pictures 1 & 4 make picture 5, I will be teaching you how to make picture 5)
Step 4: Fixing Blemishes
You will be using the clone stamp tool, a quite simple tool that copies the texture from one area and allows you to apply it to another. Just chose the clone stamp tool and zoom in to the grape with a cut on it. Using the tool is easy, just hold down alt and click on part of the grape that is not broken, cut, bruised, etc. Then after doing this just use it like a brush and remove the blemish with the new texture. WARNING: Do not overuse this tool it can screw up your picture if you overdo it, just use it on minor cuts and bruises only.
Step 5: Advanced Editing
It is very simple, all you need to do is get the magic extractor out and color what you want to keep with the foreground color and color what you want removed with the background color. For more simple images you only need to draw a few lines in the background and a few in the foreground but the more detailed the image is the more accurate your lines need to be.
In the end, if you did it right, you will get quite a good amount of what you wanted gone deleted, sometimes what you wanted to keep will get damaged but that is not much of a problem. As you can see in my second picture some of the background survived but it is easily erased. I sued the third picture for the background. Just make a new layer and put it below the current layer.
Making the final photo took some work but it was quite easy. Going to the "Enhance" bar at the top and scrolling down to the "Adjust Lighting" section, you can choose to adjust the brightness and contrast. I easily darkened the back layer by selecting that layer and performing my adjustments. The front layer was much harder. By using the "Quick Selection Tool" I selected the Bottle, and fruit (LEAVE THE SHADOWS OUT). I increased the contrast and brightness on the fruit to draw attention to the focus objects. The reverse was done to the counter.
Step 6: Putting It on the Beach
Step 7: Finished!
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