Charlie Mortel
Mortel Studios, 2006

One unique style of portraiture that Charlie Mortel offers his clients is customized karate montages.

Charlie says, "The portrait montages are integrated into custom designed layouts developed for each occasion. My clients love the creative magazine style presentation of their portraits, along with the speedy turn around time for their orders.

"These are individual orders from families. An original background design is created for each event, and is the same for all the orders. The older karate members are usually instructor's pictures ordered for their academy.

"Using Primatte to create my Karate Academy Student Portraits works wonderfully. Recently, I used Primatte for the Intra-School Tournament pictures. The plugin allowed me to quickly drop the student's photographs into layouts that I created, making the text look as if it were in the background during the original shoot."

Charlie Mortel also creates custom portraits for dance schools and provides more traditional portraiture for families (whew, this guy is busy!). Here's what Charlie says about his work before Primatte:

"Previous to using Primatte, when providing individual portraits to my clients in the studio, the portraits were shot against a white backdrop. The image was then brought into Photoshop and the arduous task of masking the original white backdrop began. During the portrait session, I had to make sure the client didn't let lace or sheer clothing show through to the background.

"Manually masking the portraits became very time consuming and creatively restricting. While researching techniques in masking, I came across Katrin Eismann's book, 'Photoshop Masking & Compositing'. The book outlined techniques on masking areas with lace and hair that showed through to the background.

"The results I was getting were mostly pleasing. But I was still having difficulty keeping hair detail, and there was a large investment in time with each picture I worked on. When the opportunity came to create portraits for karate schools with sixty students, I realized that I would have to find a faster and better masking tool.

"Taking Katrin Eismann's advice, I tried out Digital Anarchy's Photoshop plugin, Primatte. Once I went through the tutorials, I knew the product was for me. Since I was already working with digital backgrounds, Primatte fell into my workflow seamlessly. I now create portraits against a chroma blue screen, confident that my portraits look as if they were shot against a standard backdrop."

More of Charlie Mortel's work can be seen at