Stacking Images For a Long Exposure 

Stacking Images For a Long Exposure

In a previous article, we wrote about timelapse photography and how it can be used to capture a single and perfectly balanced image. Taking multiple images of the same scene as it unfolds ensures you capture many variations as the lighting and colours change. From this collection, you can scroll through them to find the image you want to work with. Another option is to use a lot of images from the collection to make one image by stacking images for a long exposure effect in photoshop. 

In this tutorial, Ivan uses 70+ images to stack in photoshop to make multiple photos look like a long exposure. This technique is one that we use often. Not necessarily to create a long exposure, but it can also be used to reduce noise and to enhance detail.

Image stacking for long exposure photography Tutorial in Lightroom and Photoshop


Making a Long Exposure From More Than One Image

Using this technique to create an image similar to long exposure is really quite clever. By combining the layers this way you automatically achieve four things.

  1. Amazing noise removal across the whole image.
  2. A softening of tones.
  3. Sharper detail on static objects.
  4. Enhanced smoothening of anything that is moving in the frames.

One thing to remember. Ivan used over 70 frames to create his final image. The more frames you use the longer the effect of the exposure. Or you could use longer exposures and fewer frames.  Getting the balance right can be difficult and time-consuming as the process of loading all of these frames into photoshop take time, then converting them to a smart object takes time, finally stacking them takes time. If the balance is wrong, you’ll have to start over.

One big problem you have from stacking images for a long exposure is if you have an object that you don’t want to move between frames and it does move. Using the Mean stack mode measures the tones of pixels on every layer, averages them out and shows the average pixel. In this example, I feel like that fisherman completely spoils the image. I would have spent some time removing him completely as he just looks like a blurry mess.


How to Stack Multiple Images to Make A Long Exposure Effect

1. Select the top layer then hold down the Shift key and click on the bottom layer to select all of the layers.

2. Right-click on one of the selected layers and choose Convert to Smart Object.

3. Now go to the Layer menu, scroll down the list until you get to Smart Objects and hover over it.

4. A new sub-menu will appear and near the bottom, you will find Stack Modes, when you hover over this you will see the different stack modes available.

5. To create a long exposure effect select the Mean option to stack your images.

Stacking Images For a Long Exposure

Thank you for reading our stacking images for a long exposure article.


Other Articles That Might Interest You

A Beginner’s Guide to Focus Stacking

Reduce Noise By Averaging Many Photos – The Median Stacking Mode

How To Simulate A Long Exposure In Photoshop

How to Create a Long Exposure Look Using Photoshop

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