I'm also fascinated with taking beautiful and meaningful images that I would consider working with for more projects.
Using a photo I took in Berlin, Germany, I made two duplicate layers of the same image, copied the structure after careful selection, and erased the top half of the structure in one layer. Then I pasted the copy onto the second layer to that it is still present when the whole image in first layer is adjusted to seem like a photograph falling. I had to adjust the cut out structure by blurring the edge into the bottom half to seem like one full structure leaving the photo.
I took many photos with different "characters" in different positions while the camera stayed stationary. I then cut out everyone and pasted them in their respective positions, all in one image. Adjustments had to be made to make them seem like everyone's in the same space and time, like matching the lighting on everyone's faces and blurring the edges. I also used paint to copy the shadows a couple of characters made in their original images.
The colors looked bland in the original photo, so I experimented with all the colors and effects on those colors until I found this purple setting that made it feel like nighttime with the brightest moonlight. I then took images of the Earth and galaxy I had for future mobile wallpaper options, cut and pasted them out, and made them mostly transparent to that they felt like they were naturally part of the sky. Finally, I used a lens flare effect to seem like a sunrise.