This is the initial pose, set, and lighting. In many ways it is my favourite composition, as the lighting interaction on the models gives the Dinosaurs a sense of being part of the actual photograph.
There was just one tiny problem. Due to the composition of the photograph (I didn't frame it at the time with two Spinosaurs in mind) the Spinosaurs hide in the background. Notice how they and their fins remain out of the blue sky. When this picture is shrunk to the rough size it will be in the magazine you can't make them out easily.
In a large format, this is my favourite version. However as it'll be small in the magazine I needed to rework the whole piece!
The solution was "easy". I simply reversed the photograph plate, keeping the Dinos in exactly the same spot.
This wasn't actually easy, as I had to reset all the lighting. This caused all sorts of problems. The opposite angle of the lights hide all my models mechanics. From the new angle it exposed all of them! So after an hour of minor tweaking and test rendering, we finally hit this version.
Again invoking a sense of photo integration (though not as well as the top one).
Leaving me with one last, but actually easy to fix, problem. In a smaller scale the previous picture leaves the Dinosaurs visible, but devoid of detail. In order to bring them out of the background entirely for the magazine I've cranked up the lighting values to twice the natural level.
I don't like it. Especially in the larger scale. However its all about keeping options open, especially for the magazine.