One of the most powerful ways to take your landscape photography to the next level is to blend — or “composite” — exposures of the same landscape from different times of the day.
A composite is a photograph made from several exposures carefully blended together. In landscape photography, it’s common to combine a shot from sunset or the blue hour with star trails from astronomical twilight.
Unless you take exceptional creative liberties, composite landscapes take an exorbitant amount of patience to create. From planning, scouting, and shooting expect to invest several days and hours of shivering for a single composite.
Once you’ve captured the individual shots, the next phase takes even more patience: blending the exposures together in post production. This tutorial should get you started, and with practice, you’ll discover a workflow that suits your style best.
While some photographers prefer to do all their editing in Photoshop, I’m an avid Lightroom user; 95% of my images never make it to Photoshop. But to execute more ambitious photographs, you’ll need some of Photoshop’s legendary compositing powers. Still, rather than finishing the image up in Photoshop, I recommend post processing the composite back in Lightroom as though it were a raw photo.
I’m a noob to advanced compositing myself, so I’ll be learning right alongside you! Keep an eye out for the next few vlogs on channels and luminosity masking.
Have you tried your hand at composite landscapes? How did they turn out, and did you roundtrip into Lightroom or finish the edit in Photoshop?