Color, Light, Perspective
These are the three major variables that go into creating a composite. To create a believable end result, the color, light, and perspective has to match as much as possible between the images you’re compositing.
In this image by Dean Richter, he’s pretty much nailed all three. But some of the color in the sunset isn’t present in the surfer’s wetsuit. It may not be strikingly apparent at first, but by creating a Color Fill layer and setting the blend mode to “Hue“, we can see that the sunset is much more saturated than the wetsuit.
Fixing the Problem
Now that the Color Fill layer has showed us what needs adjusting, it’s up to us to fix it! By sampling color from the sky with the brush tool and painting onto a new layer set to Soft Light, we can bring the appropriate colors into the areas they need to be. It’s not a huge difference, but it does help to tie the image together.
Some of the color we painted has spilled onto the rest of the image. No problem, just group the layers together and create a layer mask. We can then paint on the mask, letting us control where the color is visible.