Take one alluring fashion image – and add to its mystery using some clever photomontage techniques. In this tutorial, up-and-coming creative Bram Vanhaeren shows how you can transform fashion photography into edgy, enigmatic illustrations in just a few steps.

You’ll create and layer textures, vector elements and little doodles to draw the viewer’s attention and keep them noticing little details. Bram shows how to use the Warp tool to seamlessly blend elements, and to sample parts of your model’s clothing. 

You’ll liven up your image’s subtle colour palette with dynamic flashes. The effect is on-trend but distinctive – and the techniques you’ll learn can be used for other photomontages. 

The model shot was created by Katanaz-Stock and can be downloaded for free from DeviantArt at bit.ly/ckWqaQ. The paper texture is by bashcorpo and can be downloaded for free from DeviantArt at bit.ly/cSqR43.

Step 1 Choose a background and a model. I like to use a paper texture as a background as it gives you a lot of options to work with. Look out for fashion-related models, as they tend to have good poses with lots of attitude.


Step 2 Desaturate some parts of the model. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast and set both Brightness and Contrast to +25. Duplicate the model layer (Cmd/Ctrl + J) and desaturate the duplicate (Cmd/Ctrl + U). With the Lasso tool set to a 100px feather, make a selection around the model’s shoulder and delete this part from the desaturated layer.


Step 3 Create some 3D shapes. Using the Polygonal Lasso tool and a soft round brush set to 20% opacity, create an abstract octagonal selection, and fill it. In a new layer, add depth with light and shadows.