Still as popular as ever, photomontage is initially one of the easiest techniques to learn. But achieving photorealistic results can be a challenge. In this tutorial, Mike Harrison shows you how, by blending a number of photos together. This kind of work always has a surreal edge, but with the images you’ll use, the environment and composition, you’ll endeavour to be quite subtle, too, which should add an extra intriguing quality to the piece.

The specific techniques you’ll learn will be how to specify a light source and apply realistic lighting and shadows to the objects, and how to use subtle effects like colour treatment, texture and adjustment layers to give a certain mood to the final image.

Step 1 The first step when starting an image-heavy piece like this is to collate a variety of stock imagery that you want to use. Don’t worry about being exact in your choice of shots as there’s nothing stopping you, subsequently, adding or leaving out images. A website such as fotolia.com has plenty of images of animals, while for free images of birds, specifically, try sxc.hu.