Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merging two images for greater impact

I'm a firm believer that extra images (seconds) from a photo shoot should be saved. For a while at least or until you know you will never need them. The reason I stand on this is that seconds have proven to be invaluable on many circumstances in my past. Often it's a client preferring one of my seconds rather than the image I picked. The other common circumstance is the need to use some element from one of my seconds to fix an issue with the principal shot.

Just recently I found myself in a situation where I couldn't decide which of two images was the keeper and which was the second. In the end I decided they would both be my seconds. Here's what I mean.

A recent visit from my grandson, Evan, required me to pull out my camera, of course. Our local fire department had just driven by, handing out candies and popcorn balls to the neighborhood kids. Evan was halfheartedly munching on one of them and during a lull in the day's activities I caught a tender moment between Evan and my wife on our front porch. I took two shots before Evan got his second wind and went off to another activity. Looking at the two images I saw potential in them but did not liked either of them on their own.

Overall they are not great images. Their worth is a personal one, capturing grandmother and grandson sharing a quiet moment. Between the two images I liked the expression on Evan in one frame and the expression on my wife in the other. If only they were both in the same frame.

Fortunately, with the magic of image editing and luck that the two frames had been taken within seconds of each other, it made it easier to merge the two shots. The only viable solution to salvaging this shot.

How it was done


The two images were opened as layers and auto aligned in Photoshop (see first image at top). A layer mask on the top image makes quick work of changing my wife's expression from the first to the second image, altering the entire mood of the scene.


While in this instance it was a relatively easy modification the same principal can be applied to any number of situations. The key was in seeing that the two images would have greater impact when merged. For me, the ability to see both images side by side in Lightroom is what allowed me to previsualize the final result.

I hope you enjoyed this quick little tip. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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