How To Layer Photos In Photoshop

By | 26/10/2022

There are many reasons you lot might want to merge photos in Photoshop. All of us take photos we wish were better. Sometimes it’southward not until later on when we are reviewing our pictures, we notice something we’d not seen earlier. People blinking, animals moving, and traffic passing in the background.

And so permit’s learn how to merge photos in Photoshop and then we can salve some of these photos.
Diptych of two portrait images for merging photos in photoshop

Why Take More Photos Than You lot Think You’ll Demand

I don’t mean you need to gear up your camera to burn continuously at high speed all the time. Photographing wild amounts in rapid bursts is rarely going to produce stellar results.

Think carefully about what you’re photographing. Once you have your lighting and limerick how you lot desire information technology, take multiple images. This is peculiarly important when there is motion in your composition.

Capturing more photos than you think you lot will demand tin assistance in two ways. You are more likely to get a pleasing image. If you still don’t go a unmarried frame yous are happy with, you accept more options to combine and merge photos in Photoshop.

How to Merge Photos in Photoshop

The photos I am using every bit examples in this commodity were fabricated within a few minutes of each other. In one photo, more of my subject is visible, merely she blinked. In the 2d photo, her eyes are open, but I was standing closer to her. Both were made with an 85mm prime lens set at f/ii.

Footstep 1. Choose Two Photos to Merge

Whatever your reason for merging two photos in Photoshop, some photos will merge more easily than others.

  • Choose photos taken with the aforementioned focal length lens. For case, don’t try combining one photo taken with a 24mm lens and some other made with a 50mm lens. The difference in lens perspective will non allow you lot to merge the photos seamlessly.
  • Make certain the lighting in both photos is the same, or very similar. This may non always seem necessary. Just different lighting can cause results to await unnatural.
  • Use two photos of the same resolution.
  • Option photographs that are not too complicated.
  • If you are choosing two photos taken at a unlike time and location, you will need to ensure the white residual in each is as close as possible to the other.

Step 2. Open a Photo

Open the first of your two photos. If your main subject is a different size in each photograph, open the image where your subject is the smallest. This way you tin can resize your second photograph down, rather than upscaling information technology. Sizing downward volition non consequence in noticeable quality loss, whereas scaling up may.

Click the padlock icon on the correct side of the layer in the Layers Menu to unlock the background layer.

Step iii. Open Your Second Photo

And then from your reckoner’southward filing system, click and elevate the second photo on elevation of the first and align them.

At that place will exist an overlaid 10 on the image and a box with transform handles around the edges. This is important if yous need to resize your photo, every bit I do in this example.

Screenshot showing how to merge photos in Photoshop
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Bringing the 2nd prototype into Photoshop in this manner includes it as a Smart Object. Y’all tin can resize this amend.

You will not desire to enlarge either of the photos you lot are merging by more than about 30 pct. If you exercise, the clarity of the enlargement can be noticeably different.

Step 4. Position Your Photos to Lucifer

Set the acme image layer alloy mode to Overlay and so you can encounter the layer underneath as well. This will allow y’all to position the subject in the two images to friction match correctly.

Edit > Free Transform
from the elevation carte ( Ctrl + T). With the Move tool selected, position the top image so the parts of the summit layer which you want to retain look adept.

You may need to use the resize handles to enlarge, shrink or rotate this layer so the two layers match properly.

In my example, I am mostly concerned with the fashion her eyes volition await. I have scaled downwardly my meridian layer and rotated it slightly so her eyes on both layers are aligned.

Screenshot showing how to merge photos in Photoshop
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

If your camera position or bailiwick moves even a footling, y’all may discover it impossible to match the two subjects perfectly.

Once y’all are satisfied you have the top layer positioned well, press Enter. Change the blend mode of your top layer back to Normal.

Step v. Create a Mask and Erase

With your top layer selected, click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add together a layer mask. This creates a mask that you lot tin apply to erase the parts of the pinnacle epitome you practise non want to see.

Select the Castor tool and bank check that the color is set to black and at 100% opacity. Brainstorm painting over the areas you desire to eliminate.

If you make a fault, a quick way to restore the image is to switch the brush color to white and pigment over the same area.

Screenshot showing how to merge two photos in Photoshop - erase
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Start at the parts of the image furthest abroad from the parts you want to go along and motion in towards them. As you lot get closer, you may desire to brand the castor size of your eraser tool smaller and reduce the opacity.

This will mean yous are not erasing entirely with each castor stroke yous make. Working similar this helps create a smoother transition effectually the area you are erasing.

Stride six. Check Your Accuracy

Switching the layer visibility off and on again in the Layers panel volition help you to see if there is more of the image you lot demand to work on.

Create a new layer or a separate layer between your two existing layers. Fill it with a potent color that does not appear in the photos you are working with. This volition bear witness whatever parts of your height layer which are non erased properly.
Screenshot showing how to merge photos in Photoshop

To ensure both layers have the same tone value, y’all may need to lighten or darken the tiptop layer using the Dodge and Burn tools.
I used the Dodge tool slightly around her eyes so that her peel tone matches on both layers.

Step 7. Merge The Ii Layers

If you created an intermediary color layer, delete it. Now merge the two layers by choosing
Layer > Flatten Image
from the top bill of fare. At present you lot take a single merged image that looks better than either of the two of your source images.

Final result of merging photos in Photoshop - female portrait
© Kevin Landwer-Johan


You tin can apply this series of steps to merge photos in Photoshop. In the original prototype, I showed a very mutual reason to blend images together—someone blinked when a photo was taken. This is even more common when photographing more than than i person at a fourth dimension.

Combining images in Photoshop is a common practise among architectural photographers. Beingness able to lite a whole scene evenly and capture it in one frame can be challenging. That’s why knowing how to merge photos in Photoshop can exist such a lifesaver!

Check out our Effortless Editing with Lightroom class to master any edit you may demand!