In the first of a new series on the art of image manipulation, B+W Photographer of the Year 2012, Clayton Bastiani, reveals a simple technique he uses to create multiple layer images with atmosphere and mood.

love making photographs as much as I love taking them. Photographers have been at it for a very long time — read Colin Harding’s feature (B+W issue 150) on Oscar Rejlander’s The Two Ways of Life, created in 1857 and a fantastic example of combination printing.

Over the coming months I aim to introduce you to some very simple methods of photo-manipulation and photo creation. I hope to inspire you to question this fantastic medium and see what can be achieved beyond a traditional capture technique.

I usually work with Photoshop CS6, but for the purpose of this series I have chosen to use Photoshop Elements 11 (editing in Expert mode) to prove that you do not need the most expensive software to create this kind of work. This is not a definitive guide as there are many ways to do things. They are, however, easy to apply and offer a great introduction to further learning.

It is important to start gathering source material, so take photos of everything and anything that might be useful in the future (clouds, textures, birds, ladders…whatever takes your fancy) and file them away in folders on your hard drives.

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