November 17, 2011
Shoot and Edit: Week 45 – Family…EDIT (Blending Images)
Welcome to the 45th week of Shoot and Edit: Part 2. Click HERE for all the details and upcoming prompts/themes (also including previous editing tutorials). This week’s theme or prompt was to show us one “Family” SOOC shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). Hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide a simple/basic or advanced Photoshop/Photoshop Elements or Lightroom tutorial. You can then try my tutorial on your own photos and link up here – linky will now open EARLY on Thursdays and be open THROUGH SUNDAY. If you’d prefer, can simply share your own edit and show us what you did to achieve the look.

We want this challenge to be a learning experience, so feel free to teach us something new too! Also, it does not matter what editing program you use. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements, Adobe Camera Raw and now Lightroom…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using.

This week, I thought it might be helpful to show you how to blend images. When it comes to family portraits, getting everyone to look the same way is challenging. I normally take multiple shots for that very reason. In the case of my sister and her boyfriend…I was pretty happy with my shot – although I did perform a clean edit. Just mouse over to see my SOOC shot.

Now, in the case of my most recent session with Zander…I wasn’t quite so lucky. Perhaps you remember this shot?
Zan 2 Months WEB-66
Confession…it didn’t start out that way. Here are the originals:
Before Blending
In this case, the images aren’t even exactly alike, but I made it work. Here’s what you need to do…
    • Open both images in Photoshop. 
    • Decide which image will become your final product (in this case, it was the image on the right because I liked the way the parents were looking at Zan – I did not like Zan’s face though). 
    • Go to the image with the face you want. Copy.
    • Go back over to the final product image and paste the other image right on top – it will become a new layer. 
    • Lower the new layer’s opacity until you can see both images. This will become important in the event that you need to align the two images. It will look something like this:
    Halfway Blended
    You’ll notice that my two images aren’t perfectly aligned. Since I was replacing Zan’s face, I pasted the image…lowered the opacity to 40% so I could see the final product image behind the copied image…then moved the copied image up and resized it to fit. Does that make sense? 
    • From this point, add a layer mask to the copied image.
    • Fill your layer mask BLACK.
    • Use a soft white brush at 40% opacity (I suggest that so you can slowly open up the desired face with any harsh erase lines) to paint on the other face. Be sure you’re painting on the layer mask. 
    • One you’re happy with the blend, merge your layers. 
    • Continue with your editing workflow.
    It’s actually quite simple and you can apply this technique to just about any image. I’ve not only done this with family portraits, but also with self-portraits (it’s essentially the same idea as “cloning.”). So, to recap our lesson, today we discussed blending images in Photoshop. Here’s a final look at the before and after. 
    Before and After
    For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past 44 weeks as well as apply today’s lesson or share something you’ve learned recently. I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing your edits. Next week’s theme is “Gratefulness.” Have a great Thursday!
    Good to WOW

    By the way, don’t forget to add your edited photo to our good to WOW {EDIT} Flickr Group (for those of you that prefer to upload and visit that way). When adding your photos to the group pool, be sure to include the Week #, the Theme and EDIT in the description section. You may upload one photo per week. I also want to point out that we are all here to improve our editing skills. When offering constructive criticism (either on Flickr or within blog comment sections), be sure to point out at least one thing you really like about the edit before offering any advice for improvement.