Photoshop Blog

March 14, 2013 /Photoshop /

Photography Prodigy Blurs Reality and Imagination: A Conversation with Taylor McCormick

In only two years, Taylor McCormick has transformed herself from a budding photographer into a one-of-a-kind artist.  Through an involved and self-driven process McCormick matured from a high-school student with a camera and an imagination into a gallery-sponsored artist, traveling to Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles for her work. Her journey can be described by the same word used to describe most of her published images: dreamlike.

"Sleeping Beauty" by Taylor McCormick

Taylor’s breakout photography caught my attention with its originality and cultivated process. McCormick is a young woman talented beyond her years, whose portfolio illustrates a combination of both tenacity and creativity.

I recently had the chance to talk to Taylor about her breakout photography career and found her story to be an example of what young photographers can achieve with the right tools and vision.

At age 17, after a few years of shooting photos, McCormick began using Photoshop CS5 to create artwork out of the images she shot on her camera. She had no formal training in Photoshop, and learned the software through YouTube training videos and relentless trial and error. Her goal was to work on an image for a week, creating and learning as she made each photo increasingly more detailed and complex.

“By forcing myself to create one elaborate image each week; I give myself a week to work on it,” says McCormick. “I sleep on it and then I go back to it after sleeping.”

To pursue her passion, McCormick began attending Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she is currently a freshman. As part of her education, she attended a demonstration of Photoshop CS6 and upgraded her personal workflow to include the new program.
In her personal time, McCormick studies the work of photographers she admires, and integrates their methods into her own. For example, Brooke Shaden inspired her to shoot photos with a Nikon D80 and later a D800.

Inspired by the Brenizer method, McCormick often uses three to nine original photos for each image she creates. She often shoots several versions of a scene to combine shots into a base, and then adds individual malleable elements as layers on top.

During shoots, McCormick often takes photos of everyday objects like clouds or skies to build her own personal stock image library for later projects. Once the images are uploaded, she completes her post-processing in Photoshop, using features like layer masks, selective color, puppet warp, layer warp, content-aware fill and adjustment layers to fine-tune her creations.

"3.52" (left) and "4.52" (right) by Taylor McCormick

Two years of intense work hasn’t slowed down McCormick. In fact, her ability and ambition continue to grow faster than her process can accommodate. She currently has work backed up so much that a photo shot today wouldn’t enter processing for several months.

Even after all that work, some projects are learning experiences and nothing else. “For every image that’s uploaded, 20 never make it,” McCormick says.

While she’s unsure of what the future will hold for her photography, Taylor loves the creative challenge and plans to keep pushing her limits to make new art. “I can’t really see myself doing anything else,” she says.

To see more of Taylor’s photography, visit her Flickr page and follow her on Instagram.

"Self-Portrait" (left) and "White Smoke" (right) by Taylor McCormick


Join the discussion

  • By Nathaniel James - 1:30 PM on March 14, 2013  

    This is awesome work. I had seen some of this work before and didn’t know who created it but each time I saw these images, it just inspired me to work harder. Thanks and good job Taylor!

    • By katie jenkins - 1:21 AM on March 16, 2013  


      • By katie jenkins - 1:22 AM on March 16, 2013  

        not very good

        • By anna s - 8:13 PM on March 16, 2013  

          ahahahah what are you even saying

      • By Whitney - 9:43 PM on March 17, 2013  

        Jealous much?? I think so. If you knew anything about photography, you would see this young lady is very talented. I have been studying photography for the last year and a half… She clearly is inspired by Masters of the art. Good job, Taylor! It’s expected to have people be jealous of your accomplishments, just don’t let their sour attitude bring you down!

  • By billystudd - 3:40 AM on March 15, 2013  

    your photos really says something

  • By Jacob - 4:20 AM on March 15, 2013  

    Very good photo 🙂 Idea for the photo with cup and clouds is amazing 🙂

  • By Daniel thomassin - 4:52 AM on March 15, 2013  

    Vous avez un grand talent et un avenir prometteur !


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  • By Elsa - 4:10 AM on March 19, 2013  

    Amazing work! I will have to check more about the artist! Thanks for the article!

  • By Angela Hudson - 12:45 AM on March 20, 2013  

    I was wonder to see this photography! what an idea 🙂
    its looks like she is slowly flying in her dream!

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    Looks very ‘Rosie Hardy’

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  • By emmanuel fremin - 6:15 PM on March 25, 2013  

    Taylor just signed with our NYC gallery, she will be part of the Affordable Art Fair NY and Vision of the world exhibit in Chelsea.

    • By Bill Knudson - 9:56 PM on January 10, 2015  

      Hi Emmanuel.

      Is this the direction photography is taking for galleries, using numerous photos and layering them on Photoshop to make a complete image? I have been doing professional photography for over 25 years and am interested in marketing my work to galleries and stock houses who may be able to use work in my photo library.

      Thanks for your input,

      Bill Knudson

  • By R Gene Phelps - 5:28 PM on March 27, 2013  

    Taylor: I am so glad to have stumbled across you and your work. I have tied to be creative just taking photos but it never has been enough. You have shown me that working postshoot gives me the opportunity to fully express my creativity. Thank you!

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