All the photos and processing by me, no stock
A few days ago, I found an article mentioning "Pet Rocks', and describing them as normal stones that people would buy in the 70's to pretend they have a pet, in a humorous way. Prior to that reading, I had no idea about what 'Pet Rocks' were, and I had to ask the great Internet for some more enlightenment. Needless to say the answer left me doubtful, to say the least. However, it looked like a good occasion to create a funny image. Since I don't know where to buy LSD these days, I went back to the good old brainstorming method, and tried to imagine various situations involving pets. After a few different sketches, I decided to go with those 2 persons, walking their respective pets, in a scene including an undergoing rock love affair
At first, I spent a whole afternoon walking in the woods, and took about 500 photos of different paths. Some were nice, with the sun filtering through the leaves, but despite my efforts to make this background work with the scene, the composition wasn't so good, and all the results were rather disappointing. So in a desperate attempt at creating something, I brought my camera at work, and took advantage of my lunch break to quickly reach Berton Street in Paris and photograph it. The street is actually quite narrow, paved, and has nice lamps, so it looked like a nice background possibility. However, it was a cloudy day, with a very flat and diffused light: in order to add visual interested I converted the scene to that foggy night look. This permitted me to turn the street lamps on in post-processing, resulting in a much more dramatic lighting of the characters. I believe this is the first time the main light of my background photo is virtual: it was interesting to achieve.
While I was processing the background, my wife was working on the pets. She created the eyes out of cardboard pieces, and glued them to the rocks. The rocks themselves were originally relatively flat, so I deformed the texture in post, to emulate their roundness. We also decided to dress in a way that would match the mood of this old Paris street, like in an old novel. I took the photos at home, using a lighting setup designed to match the virtual lighting of the street. I inserted all the characters in the scene, and created the various necessary shadows (woman on street, man on street, rocks on street, leashes on street, leash and collars on pets). Finally, I gave one of my cats an opportunity to make a little cameo appearance on the roofs