Eggz by Marc ManthaDo you ever get an idea to do something creative with your photography skills? You come up with something imaginative and you can kind of visualize it. That just happened to me again. OK then, let’s see what transpires this time.

Hands on practice is always the best teacher and it sticks better. Take chances and have some fun.

Do you have some ideas bubbling?

My project needs the following ingredients:

  • An egg
  • An egg carton
  • Bunch of head shots with a variety of expressions

And the results…

(Click image to enlarge)

Eggz by Marc Mantha

Getting started.

I’m using a tripod and a remote shutter release. In lieu of the remote shutter release, you can use the self timer function common to all digital cameras to take your self portraits. Be sure to set the white balance and use the same setting for all your shots. I used the Custom White Balance setting.

Recipe for photo shooting fun:

NOTE: Everything is shot under the same lighting for visual continuity.

  • Set up the egg carton and take some shots.
  • Chew a piece of gum. Really, I’m not kidding.
  • Put the gum under the base of the egg to hold it upright and take some shots.
  • Now for your acting debut. Take several head shots of yourself or someone with various expressions.

Baking instructions: (Summary editing “outline”)

This is a lot to digest mentally for novices, but even beginning to understand the concepts brings you a step closer.

  • First, the egg carton. Review those photos on your computer and pick the one you like best. I had to straighten mine just a little.
  • Onto the egg heads. I chose the expressions of my head shots and cut out the faces with the polygon lasso and a really soft feathered setting. Then put the faces on the egg and size the faces to fit.
  • Throughout the whole project, you’re being mindful of matching levels and colors so the faces and eggs blend.
  • I duplicate the face layer and apply a strong gaussian blur, then add a layer mask to the top face layer. Using soft edge brush at about 33%, soften the edges and give yourself a smoothing face lift. When done, merge the two face layers. Repeat for each face.
  • All your egg faces are done. You’re going to make it appear as if the egg heads are in the carton. For the front row, cut out (select) and copy the front of the egg carton, then paste into a new layer in the exact position as in the original carton image layer. This layer will be above (in front) of the original carton image and egg heads. When you place the front row of egg heads, it gives the illusion they are sitting in the carton.
  • Place and size the three front row egg heads behind the front cut out of the carton. Add some shadows according to the light you used. You can use the burn tool for shadows and the dodge tool for some gentle highlights.
  • For the second row of egg heads, using the original carton layer again, cut out the second row of carton peeks with any part of the carton you need to be in front of the back row of egg heads and place in your layers order accordingly.
  • Place your final egg heads noting the ones in the second row are just a little softer to simulate depth of focus. Simply apply a light gaussian blur to the second row egg heads.
  • Is it time for coffee?

The most important step: adding shadows

My art training gives me a hand up, but so does your experience in photography and understanding light.

Shadows are the key to adding realism. Not too much or too little. Take a close look at the shadows on both the egg heads and the carton. In the history panel, I add snapshots regularly for benchmarks I can return to when I don’t like how things are going – I don’t have to start from the beginning.

I can give you a good foundation and the confidence to started with PhotoShop and PhotoShop Elements. You just have to get started with a free online course at the HP Learning Center.

PhotoShop versus PhotoShop Elements. What’s the difference?


  • PhotoShop is the professional industry standard on the planet for photography and graphic design.
  • Purchase cost is higher the PhotoShop Elements.

PhotoShop Elements

  • Used to be touted as the scaled down version of PhotoShop but in recent years has become very robust with features and support for RAW files across all major camera manufacturers.
  • A fraction of the price of PhotoShop and geared more specifically to digital photographers.
  • More Auto Fix and Guided features for beginners and novice.
  • Lots of advanced editing features if you want to go deeper.

MAMA Photography

MAMA supports the creative minds of the planet earth. If you come across something interesting and out of the ordinary, or just something that makes you smile, we’d like to know about it.

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