Assignment #5: Photo Illustration

This week our assignment was to find a news story without a picture, and take a photo for it. This was our opportunity to “create” a photo, much different than our previous “documentary” photo assignments.

I found this story:

Travel Wise: A smorgasbord of tips on holiday travel

Right away I thought, “Santa in an airport!” So I found some Santa figurines packed away in my house with the other Christmas things and figured I could Photoshop them into an airport scene. I was a little intimidated because I only know the very basics of Photoshop, but I tried anyways.

My family tries to find themed Santas from our vacation destinations, so what’s better than a Santa relaxing in a beach chair (from our trip to Hawaii) by the water. Then I decided he would be waiting in line thinking about his relaxing vacation.


This year Sea-Tac Airport has plans for easier travels for commuters during the holiday season. With additional TSA PreCheck fast-screening systems, travelers can expect a faster check in to avoid waiting in lines.


“Casual Santa” stands in the green screen made of paper and tape.

    So I set up a mini green screen in my kitchen with paper and table lights. I needed to make sure I could key out the majority of the   background to make sure I could place Santa in an airport semi realistically looking. I took pictures of each Santa and then went to my computer to start working on the final scene.

First I placed “Vacation Santa” in his beach scene and put that picture aside. I then focused on finding the perfect airport scene.

I decided to go with the waiting in line because I thought it fit well with the article. When I first plopped “Casual Santa” into the picture he was in front of the rope that marks the line. I wanted it to seem like he was in line, so I figured out how to erase the part of him in front of the rope to show the rope. Then I added some luggage beside him to exaggerate the fact that he is going on vacation.


The green screen set up with “Vacation Santa.”

Next I worked on adding the thought bubble.  I wanted it to be big so people could clearly see what he was thinking about. I added the white outline and drop shadow to pull it off of the background and add some dimension.

I think this photo works with the article because the article isn’t super serious, and neither is the picture. It represents what it is like to be in an airport; waiting, waiting, waiting. The article is about strategies to avoid that. So I think seeing Santa waiting in line supplements the story well and in a fun way.