THE phrase 'the camera never lies' was probably coined before the advent of Photoshop and the evolution of high-tech trickery.

Even the sharpest of eyes these days can fail to detect a composite photograph, and one Bicester-based business is among those that have perfected the skill.

Design agency MicroGraphix offers services including branding, photography, video production, graphic design and website design, helping business to build their image online.

Eye-catching composite images of motorbikes and cars decorate the office of the agency's director Mike Linzey, who said merging photographs can have an 'incredibly powerful' effect.

He said: "Composite photography enables designers to produce compelling visual content that portrays brands and their values effectively.

"They are made up of two or more photographs which are combined to create one final image."

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One image created by the studio, advertising motorbike brand Triumph, shows the shiny bikes in the foreground and an impressive backdrop of clouds and snow-capped peaks.

The photo was not captured amid the mountain landscape, but was merged seamlessly in the studio using a new photo of the bikes and a stock image of the scenery.

Mr Linzey said: "Triumph is a good example of how useful composite photography is.

“To promote the Triumph Tiger accessory range, we took photos of the motorbikes and combined them with some stunning stock landscape images.

"The results were fantastic, it showed two beautiful bikes in front of snow-capped mountains, and Triumph did not have the large cost of filming on location."

Composite imagery is used every day in adverts, websites, magazines and social media, created using software that allows photo layering and clever editing.

The technique, when not used transparently, has attracted some controversy.

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Nikon Singapore had to retract a winning entry from an amateur photography competition in 2016, after it was exposed as a fake.

An image looking along rungs of a ladder had perfectly framed a plane as it passed overhead, but eagle-eyed social media users spotted pixelating around the aircraft.

The photographer eventually admitted that it had been added in using a photo-editing app, contrary to his story about how it was a 'lucky' shot, and issued a public apology.

However, composites can be a powerful creative tool when used for marketing rather than to purposefully mislead.

They combine the best lighting and angles to create stunning pictures that would often be technically impossible to capture by just pointing and clicking a camera.

Mr Linzey explained: "Marketers understand brands' visual assets are important in helping ensure potential customers form a positive first impression and engage with their products or services.

"Photography forms a key part of this, and it is important that every aspect of a photograph is as perfect as possible, reflects the brand and encourages the target market to engage."

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At MicroGraphix the design team has used composite photography to help clients in sectors including automotive, furniture and consumer goods.

Mr Linzey added: "In the furniture and consumer electronics industries, for example, products are presented in a lifestyle environment that is likely to appeal to the consumer.

"This is where composite photography is remarkable.

"Finding the ideal setting to dress a room to market a range of bedroom furniture, for example, can be a challenge."

He said it would also cost a lot of time and money to take the furniture to a location and dress the room, often in a tight space.

Mr Linzey added: "Composite photography enables us to take photographs of the furniture and then add it to images of a room.

"It provides greater control and enables us to produce exceptional results in a more time and cost-efficient way.

"We have recently completed a seat catalogue for Status Seating in which we created images of the products in various office locations."

MicroGraphix have also produced composite photography for companies including Hitachi and CP Electronics.

As well as teaming up with major brands including Brita and Severn Trent, it has also worked with many companies in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.

The business has been running for more than 20 years, currently working from Bicester's Rowood Estate in Murdock Road.

It consists of a tight-knit team including graphic designers, photographers, web developers and web designers.