Video tutorial

Video tutorial

MASTER EXPOSURE BLENDING

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Winter reflection

I used this winter reflection photo as an example in a post few days ago, to show how to do HDR/blended panoramas in Photoshop. And since I never posted the finished edit, here it is.

This is a two shot winter panorama each shot from two exposures. I did minimal edits here, mostly just to correct the overexposed areas, correct contrast and add sharpness. That’s it. Recently I try to keep the shots more realistic, and that goes hand in had with doing less in editing.

Winter reflection, Bratislava, Slovakia

And here are few details:

Winter reflection, Bratislava, Slovakia

5 fingers view

In my Top photography spots list for Hallstatt I mention that one should definitively visit also the 5 fingers lookout platform that is on a hill high above Hallstatt. And today, I will share with you another photo I took from there.

This is from last years summer, and while it was a bit hazy and cloudy, the view was spectacular. Too bad the cable cars close quite early (around 5 pm), so it’s not easy to get here for sunset. But I will try one day :)

This is a three shot blend, done in Photoshop.

5 fingers view

Wallpapers

When I first shared the 4K wallpapers page last week, I mentioned that I will update it a bit more from the start as with only few it looks a bit silly. So here I’m doing this, with 4 new wallpapers.

You can get all my wallpapers from there pages:

New 4K wallpapers

The theme for today’s wallpapers is Paris, especially the Eiffel tower. One funny thing about this 4 photos is, that you get sunrise, daytime, sunset and an evening shot. So you got almost the whole day here :) Download them now from the 4K wallpapers page here.

4K wallpapers 3840x2160 Paris
4K wallpapers 3840x2160 Paris
4K wallpapers 3840x2160 Paris
4K wallpapers 3840x2160 Paris

Skylum deal

If you were looking to get Luminar 3 or Aurora HDR, maybe today is the day to do so. Right no until the 18th, Skylum is offering a 20USD off deal. You can get Luminar for 49USD instead of 69USD and a Luminar + Aurora bundle for 119USD instead of 168USD. Head over to the Skylum website for more info here.

Manes Bridge in Prague

Let’s continue with another big panorama today. This one is of the Manes Bridge in Prague, during quite a nice blue hour. It has been a while since I was in Prague so it’s really time again to go back there this year. Maybe once it’s warm again :)

This is a two shot panorama, each shot from three exposures. Blended and combined in Photoshop. You may have noticed by my latest photos, that I have been using only Photoshop. It’s start of the year and as usually I like to evolve my editing skills. And my goal is to have better, cleaner results with less work. That’s why I’m trying to limit the edits on the photos.

Manes Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

And here are few details:

Manes Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

HDR panoramas

I already shown you how to create HDR or blended panoramas (panroamas where you use multiple exposures for each shot) with the help PTgui or with Autopano Giga. But what if you don’t have any of those. So today I will show you how to combine blended exposures into panoramas using just Photoshop.

Btw. if you want to use a HDR software, you can fist merge the exposures into tone-mapped HDRs with the same setting and then do a panorama. Personally I don’t like this approach, as tonemaping can create halos and similar issues, that can prevent a nice panorama blend.

Blended panoramas in Photoshop

When using Photoshop to create blended panoramas, the order of doing it is apposite to the other ones. While before, we would fist create the panorama and then blend the exposures, here we first blend, then create the panorama. This is because if you try to create separate panoramas they will all be different. You can try, that even combining the same images over and over into panoramas, will result in slightly different panoramas. So while programs that support HDR panoramas can work around it, Photoshop can’t.

So as I said, we have to go the other way. First blend images, then combine into panorama. So what do you do?

First load all the images you want to blend into Photoshop. These have to be rasterized, not smart objects. Photoshop can’t use smart objects when creating panoramas. If you did some edits on them before this, make sure that photos with the same exposures have the same edits. So for instance if you darkened the highlights on the darkest exposure in a RAW editor, be sure to do it in every darkest exposure.

Then combine the images into layers, that should be together (grab the layer with the mouse and drag it onto a name of the other opened image, once that shows, hold Shift and let go of the mouse button). You should end up with the number of files open, how many different photos you have for the panorama. In this example, I only used two exposures for every photo, and two photos for the panorama.

Once these are in layers, you have to blend them. You can use different techniques here, but the important thing is you do the same in all the parts. So you blend the first one, and using the same technique you blend the second, and so on. Don’t do any other edits on the photos, no color corrections or anything else. Just the blend. Everything else can be done once you created the panorama.

Now, save all the files. Does not matter where, just save them as PSDs and don’t close them. Once that’s done, choose File/Automate/Photomerge. In the popup window, leave the layout at Auto and then click on Add Open files. This will add all the open files into the Source files list. Click OK afterwards.

Now Photoshop will merge the files into one big panorama. You will loose the layers you had, but since you already done the blend, that should not be a problem.

Now just merge the layers if all looks good, and continue with your edits of the final photo. You don’t need the original files you merged into the panorama anymore.

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