Combining Lightroom Rapid Editing & Photoshop Blending With Luminosity Masks

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Today I want to demonstrate a more advanced editing method. Actually, it is a combination of two different techniques: Lightroom Rapid Editing and Photoshop Digital Blending with Luminosity Masks. I only use luminosity masks in extreme cases when I need more control over the blending process.  For example, when I photograph night scenes with the extremely bright spots (post lights).

Normally, I spend a majority of my editing in Lightroom and use Photoshop only for the final touches and the cleaning. In this case, it was different. I spend 10-15 min in Lightroom, but Photoshop editing took me at least 30 min.

Colorful Blue Hour

I had the idea for this shot for a while. This spot I visit almost every day while jogging in the park. This time of year the colors were beautiful and all I needed was a quiet evening without a wind so I could use long exposure technique without getting blurry tree leaves and branches.

Montreal. Lachine
Loc: 45.429259, -73.671048


I arrived at the park just before the sunset. The sunset that day was not spectacular at all, but I did not care because I was waiting for the blue hour. I knew that I would need to take multiple bracketed shots but did not want to rely on Auto Bracketing functionality of the camera. I decided to do manual bracketing.

I took 3 brackets manually, before each shot changing the shutter speed. When I was done I had 3 captures with the following setting:

  • 30s, f8, ISO100
  • 13s, f8, ISO100
  • 5s, f8 ISO100

I used a tripod and a remote shutter release.


Step 1 – Lightroom

I imported 3 bracketed images to Lightroom

I selected the brightest image and I corrected the perspective by straighting it up with the Lense Corrections tools.

I only used the Vertical adjustment slider and selected the Constrain Crop checkbox.

Next, I used Lightroom Rapid Editing with the goal to find an interesting STYLE for the photo. I outlined the system in details in the following tutorial: Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

By applying various Lightroom presets from the Landscape Collection, I created three distinctive STYLES.

I used the Snapshot Panel in Lightroom to save 3 editing styles. For the names, I used Lightroom Editing Formulas. If you are not sure what Lightroom Editing Formula is, please check the following article:  Introduction to Lightroom Rapid Editing System.

Preset: Natural
Lightroom Editing Formula: Natural (9, 19, 23, 30)


Preset: Analog Wave
Lightroom Editing Formula: Analog Wave (8, 18, 34)


Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (9, 17, 30, 34)

I liked the End of Summer LOOK the most so I decided to continue with it.

Next, I used the Sync.. functionality of Lightroom to apply identical editing steps to the rest of the bracketed shots.

Below are 3 bracketed shots with the same edits applied to all of them.

The final step in Lightroom editing was to select 3 bracketed shots and open them in Photoshop as layers.


Step 2 – Photoshop

The second step of the editing process was Luminosity Blending in Photoshop. Digital Blending with the Luminosity Masks is the advanced editing technique. If you are interested learning more about Digital Blending, please check my article where I reviewed the best course on the subject: Review: “The Art of Digital Blending” Video Course by Jimmy McIntyre.

First, I blended three layers (Light Bracket, Medium Bracket, Dark Bracket) using luminosity masks and a soft brush.

The rest was the regular Photoshop editing, where I cleaned up the scene, reduced the noise with Topaz DeNoise plugin, added details with Topaz Detail plugin and added vignetting with the help of the Curve Adjustment Layers.

Below is the final Photoshop Layers Palette:


Here is the result of editing image in Photoshop:

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Camera: Sony a6000
Lens: Sony 10-18mm
Focal Length: 10mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: F8
Bracketing: 3 shots 
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442  – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D


Lightroom: import, tagging, Rapid Editing (Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (9, 17, 30, 34))
Photoshop:  Digital Blending with Luminosity Masks, cleaning with the Stamp Tool.
Photoshop Plugins:


  • End result much better than original shot.

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