"Time Blend" Photo Editing: A Method to Blend Multiple Exposures | Mike Sidofsky | Skillshare

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"Time Blend" Photo Editing: A Method to Blend Multiple Exposures

teacher avatar Mike Sidofsky, Professional Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Phase 1: Editing in Lightroom


    • 3.

      Phase 2: Editing in Photoshop


    • 4.

      Phase 3: Finishing Touches


    • 5.

      What's Next?


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About This Class

Ever wish you could be "over-the-shoulder" with a photo editing star?

Toronto-based photographer and professional photo retoucher Mike Sidofsky creates vivid, expansive photos with colors that pop out of the frame. Known on Instagram as @mindz.eye, he’s amassed a dedicated and engaged following in love with his signature techniques. How does he do it?

In this short and straightforward class, you’ll jump inside his signature photo editing technique: “time blending.” In short, you’ll learn how to combine multiple exposures, taken from the same place at different times.

Lessons start in Adobe Lightroom, move to Adobe Photoshop, and finish with the plug-in Color Efex Pro. Basic familiarity with each software is encouraged, but Mike’s teaching also makes it easy to follow along.

Jump in to learn Mike's process, try it for yourself, and add a new photo editing technique to your creative photography toolkit!

Photos by Mike Sidofsky (Instagram: @mindz.eye)

Meet Your Teacher

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Mike Sidofsky

Professional Photographer


My name is Michael Sidofsky and I'm a professional photographer from Toronto, specializing in elevated travel photography. Being an avid traveler and photographer, my goal is to capture the essence of a destination through the use of advanced techniques in photography and post-processing. I believe this is what sets my images apart from other photographers. My images aim to portray a unique perspective of places or things that may seem commonplace to the everyday eye, but which trigger some sort of emotional reaction. Whether I'm shooting landscapes, cityscapes, streets or architecture, my goal is to always create a connection between the subject and the viewer.

You can follow me on Instagram at @mindz.eye

Images via @mindz.eye

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Mike Sidofsky and I'm a photographer from Toronto. Being an avid traveler and photographer, my goal is to capture the essence of the destination through advanced techniques of photography and post process. In this class, we'll be going through a time blend of a sunset at Zion National Park. A Time Blend is taking a series of photos taken from one location and blending them together to create one big final image. In this case, I'll be using three images, the colorful sky, the well lit canyon, and the cars going down the road, in my mind made the perfect shots, and that's what I wanted as my final image. I'll be taking you through my entire workflow from raw processing in Lightroom to photo merging in Photoshop and toning and balance in Color Efex Pro all the way through the finishing touches. 2. Phase 1: Editing in Lightroom: Okay. So here's the final image from Zion National Park at sunset after blending three images together. I've got this final result. I'll take you through my workflow right now. Before we do any post processing I'll show you my three images that I'll be using and these are all raw right out of the camera. This one is my exposure for the canyon. These are all shot with a Nikon 24 to 70 on a tripod. So this is my foreground exposure. This is my sky exposure. It's very dark in the foreground but it doesn't matter because I'm not going to use any of it. And this is my exposure for the road. This one was taken much later because cars were driving very slowly down the street and to capture them, going the entire way down. I needed an exposure of 240 seconds. So I start off in Lightroom after import. These are my three piece images that I'll be using. This one is an exposure for the sky, this one for the foreground and this one for the light trails. Okay so I'm going to start with this image. This is a an exposure for the sky. First thing I'm going to do is go down to the profile corrections. Enable them and that'll remove any lens vignetting and distortion. Then I'm going to go back up to the basic panel and get the exposure how I like it. Something like that seems good. Maybe add a little contrast. Take down the highlights. And I'm going to bring the shadows up. Just to reveal some detail along the ridge because I'm going to need that later. And now I'm going to go add a little bit of vibrance and just a touch of saturation and then I'm going to want some color in the sky. So I'm going to bring in some reds in the split tone panel. Just in the highlights. The foreground exposure start off at the profile corrections again. Bring up the exposure a little bit maybe add some contrast. The white belt seems a little off. And I'm trying to match it with the sky for it to look a little natural. I have to probably make it a little warmer, add some magenta then bring down the highlights of it and up the shadows. Not too much. That's looking pretty good. The idea is to match it with this exposure. So it looks like they were taken at the same time. I think that looks pretty close. I'm going to retouch this photo for the light trails. I'm not going to be too concerned about the canyon or the sky only focusing on the road itself. So, first thing I'm going to do again, profile corrections. And then just bring down the highlights to bring in some more detail of the road. A little bit of shadow. I don't really mind if I clipped the whites because they're headlights and there's no detail in them anyways, and add a little bit of black. Okay. That's looking pretty good too. So now, I'm going to take them all into photoshop. I'm going to select all three images, right click and go to edit in photoshop. 3. Phase 2: Editing in Photoshop: Now that I have my three images imported into Photoshop, I'm going to want to take my exposure for the sky and place it on top of the foreground. You're going to want to unlock the background, take the move tool, and grab onto your image and just drop it on top of the foreground image. Now, we're going to auto-align them, so select both layers, hit edit, auto-align layers. This should do a good enough job matching them up. That looks pretty good. So, what I'm going to do right now is create a mask that reveals the foreground image underneath. So first, I'm going to select layer mask. It's this little tool icon right here, and I clicked back on the image and then just make a quick selection of the foreground. I'm going to hit this select and mask button, and this will refine my selection to make it more exact and precise. So, this thing, I had a smart radius and that will try to detect all the fine edges. If it doesn't, you can take this cursor and just brush along the areas that hadn't been selected yet. So, it looks pretty good, so I can hit okay. Now, I'm going to take a brush. Try to adjust. You don't want it too soft, we also don't want it too hard, so maybe around 20 percent and make sure it's set to black, and then just brush in the layer underneath. Now that I have it in 100 percent, I'm getting some issues along the ridge on the top, so I'm just going to bring back some of the foreground from the previous image. So, I'm going to take a brush, lower the opacity to about 20, 20 percent seems about right, turn it back to white by pressing X, and then just brush along here, give it a more natural look. That looks pretty good to me. So, now that I've got these two images how I want them, I'm going to bring in the light trails along this road. So, again, I'm going to unlock the background, take the move tool, and drag it on top. So, I'm just going to select these again and auto-align them. Now that these are all aligned, I'm going to want to make a selection of the highlights. So, what I'm going to do is open this panel called Raya Pro and create luminosity masks. Okay. So, now when I go into my channels, I have different selections of different values from the image. So, what I'm going to want to do is select these highlights only. So when I take Brights 1, hit command, and that'll make a selection based on black and white. Then when I go back to my layers, they should be selected here. So, now when I make a mask, it's going to reveal the image from underneath and leave the highlights on top. So, it's a little imperfect right now, so I'm just going to go back with a brush and bring up the opacity. Paint around the road, make sure you have none of that night layer left on top. I'm just going to come back in here and reveal a little bit more of the road and the lights, so I'm just going to make a small brush and just brush along. So, that's looking pretty good. Now, I'm just going to make a copy of all three layers. The command for that is a command option shift E on a Mac. Just get a crop in a little bit, get rid of those white borders. So now, I'm going to go into a plug-in called Color Efex Pro. So, Color Efex Pro has a lot of filters and there's a couple that I like to use for my images, and you just click into the landscape section and find pro contrast. This is like a smart contrast that will boost weak areas of the image, it just bring them out. Just the touch of that, it already makes such a big difference. So, I'm going to add another filter called contrast color range. I'm just going to zero it, and what this will do is bring out contrast in certain color. So, I'm going to move the color slider along until I get the look that I want somewhere around there, and then just add a little boost. So, it's giving me a boost in the blues. The next filter I'm going to use is sunlight. This will add a soft glow and a bit of warmth to the image. So, I don't want it over the entire picture, I just want it in certain places. I'm going to open up control points and hit the plus symbol, and then just make a point, open up the area, and if I want to see what I selected, I'll hit this mask button. Anything white will be affected by the filter and black will be left alone. So, I just want it along these rocks, so I'm just going to take a minus tool, select the sky with it, come back, that looks pretty good, and then just bring down the brightness a bit. Add some contrast saturation. Okay. So, I already made a pretty big difference. So, when I'm happy, just click okay. It will open up on its own layer in Photoshop again. Now that we're back in Photoshop again, I'm going to want to sharpen it because I like to sharpen on Photoshop as opposed to Lightroom. So, I want to make us copy layer of this and go into filter, other, high pass. In my opinion, this is the best way to sharpen your pictures. So, we're going to make a radius anywhere, you can do anywhere between three and seven pixels. I think seven is a little too much, so I'm just going to go down to three. Then, I'm going to change the blend mode to either overlay, soft light, or hard light. I usually use overlay. I just don't want the sharpening to be too noticeable, but I want it to be sharp. You could see the difference I made. Pretty much done here, so I'm just going to flatten the image and save it. 4. Phase 3: Finishing Touches: Okay. Now that we're back in Lightroom, I'm just going to do some finishing touches. I'm not so happy with the colors, so I'm just going to warm it up a little bit and then add some magenta. All right. Then, just a little more contrast. Then, bring in a vignette. There just the midpoint, rather a little bit and kind of always have to play with these to get the look you want. I'm going to adjust the crop a little bit. Okay. For now, I think this is finished. It's where I like it today. I'm sure I will find something wrong with it tomorrow. But that's usually how it goes with editing. You could always find ways to improve your work. So, this pretty much sums up my experience of being at the canyon overlook in Zion National Park. When I think back of this night, I remember the colorful sky, and the light trails, and just seeing the whole valley, and being able to piece it all together in one image was my plan. I hope I succeeded. Thank you very much for taking this course. I encourage all of you to go to your favorite spot and try this method out for yourself. I'm looking forward to see you guys come up with make sure to post them on the Project Gallery at Skillshare.. 5. What's Next?: