Hands-on Photo Tip: Single Exposure Blending

Single Exposure Blending - How to Get the Most out of Your RAW Images - Example ImageIn this Hands-on Photo Tip, I will show you how to develop two separate versions of a single RAW image file and blend them together in Photoshop. One version is optimized for the highlights and the other one is optimized for the shadows.

Often you have a single exposure where the sky is too bright while the foreground is too dark. Your camera was basically able to capture the entire dynamic range, but tuning both the highlights and the shadows at the same time to make a good overall exposure can be difficult. Whatever you do to one part of the image also affects the other parts.

In this tip, we will tackle this problem by applying Adobe Camera Raw twice to the same RAW exposure. In this way, you can work on the different regions of your image separately which gives you much more flexibility for optimizing the overall photo.

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17 replies
  1. Ed
    Ed says:

    Thank you for the fantastic post. I wish I had discovered your site earlier, I’ve learned so much just in this past month. This has to be the most beautiful and best laid out site I’ve ever been to. Your photos are fantastic.

  2. Walter
    Walter says:

    You can do that inside PS with only one exposure, you just need to click right in the layer and select “New smart object via copy”, but it is a great tip! Cheers

  3. Harry
    Harry says:

    Hallo Klaus,

    mir gefällt dieser Tipp auch sehr gut. Und wie immer auch gut und nachvollziehbar erklärt. Wie alle Deine Tutorials.

    Anerkennende Grüße, Harry.

  4. Yoram Livne
    Yoram Livne says:

    This is the first time I watched your video and I must say I’m impressed from the subject and the way the solution explained in a simple and clear

  5. Guillermo Turner Stephens
    Guillermo Turner Stephens says:

    Really good tutorial,Thank you. I would love some tips on getting a really good selection,(fine tuning). I sometimes find it difficult to select an aerial on top of a building or some trees on a mountain top on the horizon. when replacing a sky.


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