I normally prefer to get the right shot in-camera the first time. However, there are times when a shoot requires to take many pictures and combine them into one. When you don't have the time or the means to create the perfect shot in one picture, compositing is the solution.
We were commissioned to shoot for a pharmaceutical company that specialized in animal medication. They were releasing a new drug that helped with anxiety in animals. So, we needed to show dogs in situations that normally might upset them but were subdued by this new solution. The art director had sent me comps to show her thoughts and what she was envisioning. After reviewing and discussing how we would go about this shoot, we started to produce it with the help of an amazing producer. We settled on our locations, models, stylist, etc. We even had a police escort to deal with bystanders and other law enforcement issues.
In our first location, we had construction workers all around the site. We couldn't direct them or place them where we needed. So, we shot several images of them around the site. We got them lifting equipment, moving around the building, taking breaks, etc. The only thing we added was a model on the jack hammer. We also had issues with the dog and his expressions. So, we shot several shots to get the desired look. We also did the same with our model. After acquiring all the assets. We made notes for our retoucher, who we found in London (England has amazing retouchers!!). After a couple of rounds of edits (which included a new sky, new trees, deleting other buildings, etc), we finally got the look we needed.
This was one of those projects that takes a lot of pre-production and patience. Although, I believe all good shoots no matter how small are successful from good pre-pro.