I am a big proponent of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. I shoot multiple photos with different exposures and later combine them together to create rich images with extended dynamic range. I always try to achieve natural looking images with the right balance of highlights, shadows and saturation. I use different programs and techniques to achieve the desired effect of natural looking HDR photographs.
One of the techniques I started to use is digital blending. The technique is based on combining multiple exposures in Photoshop with the help of luminosity masks. This is an easy alternative for using standalone HDR programs.
For me, there are two main advantages of using digital blending over a dedicated HDR program:
- Level of control: You no longer rely on HDR application algorithm as you control every step of the process.
- Digital noise factor: The digital blending does not introduce excessive noise to your photographs.
Recently, to improve my digital blending skills, I downloaded a copy of the video course, “The Art of Digital Blending,” by renowned travel photographer and educator, Jimmy McIntyre. After watching the course only for a few minutes, I realized that up to that point I used only 10%, at most, of potential digital blending techniques.
I’ve used Photoshop for years; actually, I started using it with version 3.0, and thought that at this point nothing could surprise me about Photoshop. But, Jimmy managed to do just that.
After watching this course twice, I realized that I could significantly improve my photography by introducing changes and modifications not only to my post-processing workflow but to my shooting techniques as well.
Now, when I am out shooting, I always keep Jimmy’s teachings in mind, making sure I capture as much information as possible from every scene.
Thanks to Jimmy, now I have more tools and options to achieve my vision as a photographer.
Luminosity masking is a somewhat advanced technique and sometimes can be intimidating for new Photoshop users. This is where Jimmy’s talent as an educator shines. He does not try to scare users with technical mumbo jumbo; instead, Jimmy takes the approach of simplification, making it easy to follow and digest.
Instead of teaching us how to use Photoshop, Jimmy teaches us how to improve our photography.
Who is This Course for?
I would say that this course is for everyone who is passionate about landscape and travel photography and is looking to bring their photography to another level.
Experienced photographers will find some brilliant tips and unique techniques. Beginners can take full advantage of a complimentary 13-video course, “Photoshop for Beginners,” which is gateway into more advanced luminosity blending.
What You Will Learn
Here are the highlights of the course. For a complete list of topics, please visit Jimmy’s website.
- What luminosity masks are and how to create them.
- How to effortlessly blend multiple exposures to create a balanced, sharp image.
- How to blend between 2, 3, 4 and more exposures
- How to blend long exposure images
- How to create advanced selections using temporary adjustment layers
- How to create targeted local contrast to make your images pop
- How to use a 100% non-destructive workflow
- How to intensify a sunset
- How to create stunning Milky Way shots
- How to remove noise non-destructively
- How to accurately target areas for sharpening while avoiding areas prone to noise
- How to pull details out of targeted areas
The course consists of 12 Videos. Part 1 has 5 videos, starting with the absolute basics, to how to create luminosity masks, how to make specific adjustments, and then onto a full Milky Way workflow. Part 2 teaches advanced exposure blending, starting with which exposure to create the masks on, which masks to use in the blending process, and how many exposures you need. Then we move onto 5 full digital blending workflows that will teach you everything you need to know about how to create stunning images with luminosity masks.
Below is the photo I took on my last trip to California. I followed Jimmy’s workflow and techniques to blend three exposures together.
This is the best post-processing course by far that is tailored specifically for travel and landscape photographers. If you want to improve your photography and have fun doing it, this is the course for you.
How to Get A Copy
The tutorials are downloadable videos in MP4 format so you can follow them on mobile devices too.