Article By Jimmy McIntyre

Most people get into luminosity masking after using HDR for a while. They become a little tired of the lower quality image produced in general tonemapping. Then they hear the term ‘luminosity masks’ and their mind starts whirring.

We all know that luminosity masks can be a little bit tricky at first. We have a lot to learn and we also need to develop a new way of looking at our exposures. Some beginners to LMs find them particularly challenging because they lack experience in Photoshop. It’s a massive challenge going from little-to-no knowledge of Photoshop, to mastering luminosity masks. This will, for the most part, lead to frustration.

If you’re new to Photoshop, play around with the program. Experiment with it. Watch lots of tutorials. Find a way to enjoy it. After a while you’ll find that this masking-thing is actually quite easy, and you’ll forget why you found layers a challenge. When you’re at that level, it’s time to return to luminosity masks.

Most of my YouTube tutorials assume that my subscribers already have a good knowledge of luminosity masking. Since that is not always the case, I created this beginner’s guide. This is not as thorough as the information taught in the Art of Photography Course, or Exposure Blend Like an Expert, but it is still a huge step forward for those wanting to learn luminosity masking.

If you want to follow along, you can download my JPEGs here:

Here is a video showing you what masking is:

And here is one showing you why luminosity masking is superior to HDR: