How to do a Digital Blending and Remove Elements with Photoshop

In this article we talk about how to do a double exposure and how to remove undesirable elements with Photoshop.

Bonjour bonjour everybody! Today I am going to show you a more complex method, how to do a double exposure, I am also going to show you how to remove undesirable objects out of your photos. So we have a lot to cover so let’s get started!

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I am going to work with a photo that one of my friends took during Paris in spring; the idea was to get the frame into the frame meaning the Eiffel Tower framed with the buildings. But with your eyes you can see that but the camera will only exposure either for the Eiffel Tower or the building but not both in the same time:

In this situation you have a few option, HDR or digital blending. I decided to do some digital blending.

On the photo exposed for the Eiffel Tower his settings was; 1/25th of a second, f/8.0 and ISO 100. And for the building exposure he was at 1/6th of a second, f/8.0 and ISO 100. He used a 24 mm lens. The second photo has a longer exposure so it is a bit brighter than the other one.

Honestly you could just use the photo with the building underexposed and retouch it but you will get a less natural look than with the digital blending. So first I am going to retouch the photo exposed for the Eiffel Tower and I don’t care about the rest.

Step 1. Basic retouching. I bring the highlights to -100 and the shadows to +100 as usual. (You can get a more complete statement on why I do this in almost all my photographs by reading this how to article here.) I am going to adjust the white balance, I select daylight and I add a lot of magenta (Tint +76). It is a bit dark so I am going to boost the exposure (+0,65):

Step 2. Make the photo pop. To make the colors more interesting, I boost the clarity to +39 and the Vibrance to +31. And that just gives justice to this amazing sky with the nice clouds:

Step 3. Sharpening. This was shot with a D800 a really good camera so there is not a lot of noise but I am going to set the Noise reduction to 8 and the Sharpening to 88. To make sure that the sky doesn’t get sharpen I press the alt key and move the slider of the Masking up to when the sky is pitch black (80) which means that it will not get sharpen:

Step 4. Lens correction. I enable the profile correction and then I press the Upright function, I click on auto and it makes a huge difference, all the buildings are now straight:

Then I take the other photo and synchronize it with the first photo we retouched. On the second photo the exposure it too bright so I bring it down to -1,00 and the buildings look good:

Step 5. Edit the photo in Photoshop. Then I select the two photos, right click edit> open as layer in Photoshop:

Now we are in Photoshop and we have the first layer for the sky so I am going to rename it: sky and then we have the second layer for the buildings so I am going to call it buildings. The only problem is that he moved in between the shots so they are not perfectly align. To handle that I am going to select both layers click on Edit> Auto-Align layer:

I just select Auto and press ok. So now they are perfectly align.

Then I am going to create a mask, I press B for brush and I make sure that I am brushing black because my mask is white. I set the opacity at around 100% and I just brush over the buildings to make them properly exposed:

So now we have both exposures together, it really is a great technique to know because it is something that happens very often, when you have two different exposures in one photo.

Let’s press command E to merge the two layers into one.

To remove undesirable elements and to make the photo more dynamic I am going to crop the photo:

Now it is better but I still have a huge sign in the middle of my photo, which is very distracting. To get rid of this ugly sign I am going to use different techniques, first I am going to copy one of the window and paste it over the sign. For that I press P for the pen tool, I do a rough selection of the window, then I right click and select make a selection:

I am going to do a 10 Feather radius selection because now the selection is not very clean, it is more feather. Then I press command G which is going to create is own layer with the selection. It is all blurry around the selection:

Then I take the selection and drag it over the window that is covered by the sign. I press command T to make the window bigger because with the perspective the window selected was smaller:

To make sure that window is align with the other one you can press the command key and move only one corner.

What I usually do when I remove stuff like that I ask someone else to see if they can see something was taken out and where and if they don’t see it, that means that I did a good job.

So to remove the other part of the sign I press command S for the stamp tool. You can use the alt and control key to make you tool bigger or smaller. I take the right corner of the window and I copy it over the sign, I click and drag so then I can just brush over the wall to make it appear:

I make sure that my opacity is at 100%. Then if you think there is some funny stuff you can just copy another part of the photo and paste it on there.

To finish to completely remove the sign I copy some part of the lower window and I paste it over the sign. If you want to undo something just press command Z:

If you are having difficulty the simple way is to take the pen tool select a big part like the wall for example and then right click, select make a selection, do a 10 Feather radius selection, press command G which is going to create is own layer with the selection make sure that you are on the right layer not on the selection layer and to put the layer on top and then you press V for the move tool and drag and drop it where you need it.

If you press alt when you have the move tool it is going to copy it so I can just put the copy on top.

To be completely done with this sign I use the stamp tool again and I copy one of the thing on the barrier and I just keep brushing until there is nothing:

I would advise you to merge everything into layer so it makes it easier when you want to do a new selection and you are sure that you are not selecting the wrong layer.

I would spend more time on it to make it perfect but you got the concept on how it works and how you can remove undesirable elements of your photo.

So here you go, we don’t have a sign in the middle anymore!

Let’s double process the photo now that we have a correct exposed photo and a sign free photo!

Step 6. Double processing basic retouch. I open up the shadows to +23 and bring down the highlight to -46 I am not going all the way to keep a natural look not too HDR.

I boost the Vibrance to +25 to make the photo pop and I also boost a little bit the exposure +0,05 to brighten the overall photo:

Step 7. Create light. I really like this photo with Paris by night ambiance so to emphasize it I am going to light up the city light with a brush! For that I am going to boost the exposure to 1,66, I am going to minus the clarity to -100 and set the Temp at 69 and the Tint at 74. Then I just brush inside the city light:

Then to make it more real I am going to take a new brush I am just going to boost the exposure to the maximum at 1,38 so it gives the illusion of the bulb:

So here it is guys, Paris by night:

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that you are going to use those cool tools to make your photos look amazing!

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