Selfie #2: The Red Right Hand Project

I while back I started a selfie project, opening with a plain vanilla headshot. But my main goal in doing selfies is to exercise my creative muscles and develop my post processing skills using Brooke Shaden, Glynn Dewis, and Aaron Nace among others as my inspiration.

I wanted to produce something for Halloween so as I sat in my bedroom thinking of a theme, i looked up the TV screen and what immediately popped in my head was “Poltergeist“. The original idea was to have my head sticking out of the TV but that quickly changed as I went along.

First I shot my plate (IMAGE 1), which is just the TV with the screen static. After viewing the plate, I decided it would be more scarier if a hand stuck out of the screen grabbing my face.


So I took one photo where I have my left elbow pressed against the screen and hand grabbing my face (IMAGE 2), and finally, one with my arms down and head looking straight up (IMAGE 3, not shown). All in all I had three main images to work with.



STEP 1: Using IMAGE 1 as my base layer, I placed IMAGE 2 on top and masked out my upper arm. Then I placed IMAGE 3 in between IMAGES 1 and 2.  Then I continued to mask out IMAGE 1 to reveal a little bit of the neck and the shirt parts on IMAGE 3.


STEP 2: Then I cleaned out and resized the arm.


STEP 3: I colored the arm and stretched and warped the index finger and thumb, creating the beginnings of the sinister red “left” hand.


STEP 4: I then created a hole, concealing the area where I cut the arm. I added a redder tint to intensify the mood.


STEP 5: I browsed my collection of texture files and found a photo of a wall I took during a weekend vacation at Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania. And since this is starting to appear like the arm-from-hell, I thought adding smoke would enhance the effect. I googled “smoke brushes” and found a free set that I liked on called Real Smoke by photoshoptutorials.


STEP 6: I rotated the stucco photo so that the shadows cast by the texture matched the lighting from the TV screen. Then I played with the smoke brushes.


STEP 7: The arm edges were still smooth contrasting sharply with the texture so I simply cloned some parts in the middle to add the bumps eliminating the straight edges. The easiest part was flipping the final image horizontally so I can appropriately give it the title: The Red Right Hand.


The finishing touches were done in Lightroom where I desaturated it a bit because it got “too red”, making it more cartoonish. I then cropped it to taste.

I love doing these creative projects. It’s a bit time consuming but very rewarding. If you have a creative portrait brewing in your head, let me help you with the planning and execution. We are only limited by the extent of our imagination.

Thanks for stopping by.

PointShoot Photography specializes in custom portraiture but also dabbles in other photographic subjects, serving Stevensville, MD (21666) and cities in Queen Anne’s and neighboring counties, including Annapolis, Severna Park, Crofton, Bowie and Upper Marlboro.


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