Digital Photo Blending Series Part 3

Zone System Blending

The third video in the photo blending series, blends 2 exposures from Castle Mountain in the Canadian Rockies. This image is similar to the second in the series where we have light in the foreground and requires blending. This tutorial covers three different methods of digital blending, and includes using the Zone System Heat Map to make selections.

Digital Photo Blending Techniques

Digital photo blending is one of the most popular uses for luminosity masks by landscape photographers. In ADP Pro we have many ways of making and adjusting your selections. This flexibility gives us many ways we can use luminosity masks and blend our images. The most visual method of creating luminosity masks is with the Zone System Heat Map. The zone system heat map makes very accurate selections quickly, and helping us to blend our images seamlessly.

Method 1 – Gradient Filter for Photo Blending

The first method that I show is the gradient filter method for digital blending. I drop a gradient filter on the top image. Revealing the dark sky in the image below. Then using another luminosity mask. I paint away the darkening in the mountain, creating the perfect exposure blend. I also take a sold black brush, slightly darkening the exposure on the mountain. Using another luminosity selection, I make a selection of the water, slightly darken it through blending.

Method 2 – Zone System Blending With The Heat Map

The zone system heat map is a fantastic tool for creating accurate selections in our images. The Heat Map Luminosity Mask Zone System makes separate selection of the sky and water. This allows me to blend the two exposures together more accurately. I also refine the mask further with the tools built into the Heat Map Panel.

Method 3 – Apply-Adjust-Replace

Using the Apply – Adjust – Replace tool, I apply a luminosity masks to the top layer in the stack. This reveals the layer below, creating a blended image. After this simple step, I do some additional modifications to the mask to clean up the blend.