Fix poorly exposed images and create HDR effects with a quick guide from iCreate Magazine using Adobe Photoshop Elements
Taking perfect photos isn’t always easy, especially when you’re forced to make compromises in situations where there’s no strong natural lighting or other factors you can’t control. In this tutorial, it was impossible to get the correct exposure on the subjects while keeping the background colours vivid and vice versa. Fortunately, Adobe’s brilliant Photoshop Elements 11 comes to the rescue with its Photomerge feature. Photomerge itself actually covers a number of areas, giving you the tools to stitch together images to form a panorama, ensure everyone’s smiling in a family photo or, as we’ll focus on here, take two photos and blend them for a perfectly exposed shot.
Start by heading to File>Open and opening the photos you want to merge in Photoshop Elements. Command+Click on both of them to select them ready for use.
Head to the Enhance heading in the menu bar and then click on Photomerge>Photomerge Exposure to start the process and let Photoshop Elements work its magic.
If you’re happy to let Photoshop Elements do the hard work for you or you simply don’t have too much time, select Simple Blending to jump to the finished result.
For more control over how your finished image looks, you’ll want to switch to the Smart Blending mode to enable the Highlight, Shadows and Saturation sliders.
Use the sliders to control how the two photos you’ve selected are merged by Photoshop Elements, hovering over each of them should give you some pointers.
If you want to get particularly creative with the Photomerge set of tools, or if the sliders aren’t quite cutting it for you, click on the Manual tab to head to Manual mode.
Photoshop Elements should automatically select a source image for you, so drag the other image that you’re using into the final frame on the right of the window.
Use the Pencil tool to highlight the sections of the source image that you’d like to merge into the final image. You can use the slider to adjust the pencil size.
If you find your pencil markings aren’t quite accurate enough, grab the Eraser tool from the app’s sidebar and use it to tidy things up. Results are shown in real-time.
(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)