Photography Tutorials

Quick Photoshop Secrets 3: Easy Exposure Blending

Easy Exposure Blending Photoshop Secret

Quick Photoshop Secrets 3: Easy Exposure Blending Technique in CC

In the third episode of our Photoshop Secrets tutorials, we look at a very easy method for blending exposures in Photoshop, thus avoiding HDR programs which may leave us with less natural imagery.

The process we look at in the video is masking selections using the Color Range tool, and we look at two different ways to make this work for our exposure blending needs. As always, I hope you enjoy the video.

What does exposure blending give us?

In one word, Balance. Often it’s very hard to get a good balance of exposure without having areas of your image underexposed or overexposed. By blending images from different exposures, we can bring a healthy balance and add a lovely soft tone to the finished photo. Unlike in HDR processing, which will often add surreality and can ruin a good image. Exposure blending is a much better option, which brings a natural feel to your images which is much more pleasing to the eye.

Step by Step Guide: Exposure Blending using the Colour Range tool.

1. With two exposure layers stacked. Go to Select>Colour Range.

Select Colour Range in Photoshop

2. In our example, we want to effect highlights. So in the ‘Select’ field, we have selected Highlights. Depending on what you are wanting to blend you might need to choose a different option. There is nothing wrong with cycling through the options to see what they offer.

adjust highlights in photoshop

3. Adjust the Range and Fuzziness if needed to make your selection.

range an fuzziness

4. To see your selection more clearly select Grayscale in the ‘selection preview’ field. Remember whatever appears closest to white is what you will be selecting and will be affected most.

Grayscale photos

5. Once you’re happy with your selection press OK.

make selection in photoshop

6. With your selection highlighted with marching ants add a mask to the layer that you want to blend from.

Add a layer mask for exposure blending

7. If you blend needs to be more subtle you can reduce the opacity to reduce the effect.

blend layer opacity

Let’s take a look at the before and after Exposure Blending.

before exposure blending

After exposure blending

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Quick Photoshop Secrets 3: Easy Exposure Blending
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