Simple Photo Tricks Part 5

If you’re like me, you probably take a few shots of a moment you want to capture. Oftentimes I’ll find that no one image is perfect, but the different photos have different aspects that look good. For example, I was trying to shoot a photo of my son with his dog. In one photo, the dog looks good but my son is blurry. In the second photo, my son looks good but the dog is blurry. So I merged the two images into one so that neither of them are blurry. This trick is especially helpful when taking group shots and someone has his or her eyes closed.

Start by choosing the photo that has the majority of what you like. For example, if it’s a group photo, choose the one that is the clearest and best of everyone. This will become the “background” photo. In this case I used the photo where the dog was not blurry. Now go to the other photo and using the marquee tool, select the portion of the image you want to copy over to your background photo. In this case I selected my son’s face. Click copy (alt C or command C) and paste it (alt V or command V) on your background image. It’s going to look obvious that you pasted it on there, so we need to fix that.

In the Layers Palette, use the Opacity bar to lighten your layer enough so that you can see through it.

You can manipulate it to line up perfectly with the background image. I normally use the eyes to line up the two layers. Once you’re happy with how they line up, slide the Opacity bar back to 100%. Now it’s still going to look obvious that you pasted a layer on top of your photo so you’ll need to use the eraser to soften the edges or get rid of extraneous bits.

Choose a soft round eraser and begin erasing around the edge of that top layer so that the layer and background begin to merge together. Sometimes I’ll hide my bottom layer so that I can see if I’m erasing properly and sufficiently. To hide your bottom layer, click on the eyeball immediately to the left of the thumbnail of your layer in the Layers Palette. The eyeball indicates the visibility of that layer.

Once you’ve erased the unwanted bits and the two layers line up nicely and you like what you see, merge the two layers together. (Merging is helpful if you need to Clone any parts from the background onto the top layer.)

Be sure to save your new photo with a different number or name so that you’re not saving over the original photo. Usually I type in the letter R at the end of my photo number to indicate it’s been revised.

Here you can see the difference in the photos by using two original pics to create a new and improved one.

This trick is something I use regularly and it may not even have to do with blurriness or eyes closed; it’s often just about getting the best out of two photos.

Go ahead, give it a try, see what you think!