These sick children thought it was just a simple  Santa Photo…  But it turned into something magical thanks toPhotoshop and this digital artist

It’s Christmas… Silent Night echoes through the shopping centres, there’s a Santa Claus on every corner. Celebrations fill the air. It’s a time for family, love and joy. At least for many of us… Not so for those unfortunate families who have loved ones living out their days in the confines of a hospital ward.

Watch the speed edit from the 2017 image of Alisha who is featured at the start of our video.

In this tutorial I wanted to share with you how we created this series. 30 Photos, 30 Composites, 30 Deliveries in one day.

In 2017 we tripled our efforts and visited hospitals around Australia with our Christmas Wish Project. In 2018 we will be going global, and providing you with all you need to run your very own Christmas Wish Project in your local area.

To sign up for 2018 and to find out more visit:

It was a team effort, after months of planning, but there is nothing stopping you from doing this in your corner of the world, and we will be here to help.


Resources used include:

PixelSquid – 3D elements

Image Manipulation Store

Throughout the video I do refer to some methods that are covered in more detail in the following tutorials:

Adding Atmosphere – Smoke Dust and Mist

Colour Lookup Tables – LUTS

Painting with Light



Winter Wonderland Brush Set


Excerpt from the Exclusive F-Stoppers Article in 2016:

The Christmas Wish Project that has now gone viral and this incredible photography and Photoshop work is being showcased across the world, bringing joy and imagination to her audience. Karen Alsop, the photographer behind the project, was kind enough to exclusively share the behind the scenes of her project.

We caught up with Karen to find out the Photography back story of just how she managed to photograph and composite 30 photographs of children with Santa into 30 scenes in one day.

Alsop came up with the concept a couple of Christmases ago actually, she set up a Christmas photo booth with a green screen and Christmas scenes. Each image was carefully chosen, so that the lighting quality, direction and perspective would match from scene to scene.

I set this Christmas Photo Booth up at a Carols Event of 8000. I gathered a team of helpers, animals, Santa, and an Elf and photographed children during the event. I composited them in on the spot and had prints ready within the hour.

Though this initial project wasn’t a (total) success, it was a great learning experience and it prompted the idea for doing something similar for sick children in hospital. I wanted to give them a way to escape the hospital into a magical Christmas wonderland, at least in a creative sense.

Alsop claims her success in this project was in the preparation. Each scene was created from composing multiple photographs along with stock images; the background scenes were crafted over a few months. To test and prepare the photo setup, she brought in Santa and a young girl, Phoebe, in the Story Art studio and captured them with the same lighting that was planned to be used at the hospital.


Part of the preparation process also included simplifying the Photoshop file, and grouping the layers into foreground and background. In the foreground Alsop added lighting effects, color toning, and some atmospheric subtleties (smoke, dust, etc.) that would bring the whole scene together. She also created a group layer designated for the subjects to be placed into; the subject’s group had a clipping masked to it (color toning to match the setting and shading).


Karen Alsop

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