We have a myriad of ways to blend six images together in Photoshop, and there are benefits to each of them. In this tutorial we use the automated luminosity mask blending tools to complete the blend. The process of blending images doesn’t vary by the number of images, just the time to do it. Although we focus on automated blending in this tutorial, we have many tutorials showing manual blending of imagel.
Jo Ward has challenged me to blend 6 images together using Luminosity Masks. In this tutorial I use the Auto Blend feature to quickly blend the 6 images, then continue to edit the image to completion.
The first step is to review the images that you have available to you for blending. We are looking at the tones in each of the images to make sure we’re capturing the entire dynamic range. Because this image was shot directly into the sun, we have very hard shadows and extremely bright highlights. In order to deal with the sky and the sun, we will need about three exposures for the sky to look natural. We’ll also need a couple of exposures through the shadows to deals with the dark shadow cast by the sun. I talk through all these images and discuss why I want to use a few of them.
Loading all 6 images into layers in Photoshop I order them from the darkest to the lightest. This is the order required to complete the automated blending process. Once I press on the number of images being blended in the panel, the blending process commences. Then using the level adjustment that is provided at each stage of the blend, I adjust them until the image feels natural. This method of blending is typically best used on static scenes.
Now that the blending is complete, the editing can begin. In the remainder of the tutorial I use curves adjustment layers with luminosity masks to add contrast to the sky and foreground separately. During the contrast adjustments I’m also keeping my eye on the colours, correcting and adjusting them as I go. I then show a technique to dodge with colour, this allows me to brighten the foreground while keeping the colours rich and vibrant. Finally I use the burning tool with a lights luminosity mask to add a painted vignette to the image.