Step 1: Idea (message, composition)
You decided that you want to make a photomanipulation. But what to make? There are so many photomanipulations already out there and mostly with the same theme. So you decide you don't just want to stick a pretty girl onto a beautiful background. No you want to be original and have your manipulation portray a message everyone can relate to.
Think of things that are important to you, that lay close to your heart. They can be emotions (love, hate, sadness, anger) or experiences, hobbies (art, sports etc), things you are struggling with. Or they can be global themes like (beauty, money, economy, eating disorders, war, relationships etc.)
Of course if you choose to portray something as love there are many ways to do so. Do you want it to be a surreal depiction of love, or dark, fantasy, sci-fi, conceptual, humourous... your choice will of course decide the whole 'feel' of the image.
So choose wisely as they say.
Now that you have your theme you nee