How to Create a Broken Lake Photo in Photoshop

For his personal photo project, Impact, photographer Erik Johansson came up with the unique idea of photographing a lake as if it was breaking up like a mirror. The end result would be a composite image containing real and artificial elements with a whole lot of editing work involved. Here’s what he did:

Johansson bought 17 square meters of mirror for this project, then shattered them to pieces in order to produce the broken effect. He hauled a small boat along with the pieces of mirror to the site of a stone-pit. He also brought along his model for the shoot.

advanced photo editing ideas

Shot on a Hasselblad H5D-40, the shoot itself was simple. He laid down the mirrors around the boat with the model posing on the boat with an oar.

shattered lake photos

This gave Johansson the foundation on which he could start putting things together to create the final image.

The real work was done during post-processing. This is how things progressed:

the broken lake

An image from the shoot before post-processing

Erik Johansson photos

Erik Johansson, broken lake

Adding in the sky and lake

creative photoshop layering

Final Image

No doubt a considerable amount of time and energy was invested in the development of this fantastical piece of art—Johansson used 196 layers to create the final image!

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