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Photomerge (HDR) with Photoshop Elements

Photomerge_afterTaking multiple images at different exposures gives us the oportunity to merge them together to make a single image where we can see in the shadows as well as the highlights. You may think this is just for third party software of Photoshop, but its available in Photoshop Elements too!

In this tutorial I’ve used three exposures at +1, 0 and -1 stop.

Step 1 Open Images


Open your images in Elements by going to File > Open. If you took the photos in RAW they’ll open in the ACR window first, just click Open Image. They’ll appear in the photo bin. Click the first one and pressing Shift click the last image. This selects all images.


Step 2: Photomerge Exposure



Photoshop Elements goes ahead and combines the images into a new one taking the shadows from the lightest, highlights from the darkest and the mid tones from the ‘correctly’ exposed image. Once it’s done this it’ll go ahead and display the new image in a new window.


Step 3: Refine The Image


With the option of Smart Blending selected you have three sliders to adjust the tones in your image; Highlight, Shadows and Saturation. Some minor tweaks might be good here but remember this doesn’t have to be the final image, we can do more adjustments if we wish. Click Done.


Step 4: Back In Photoshop Elements


In the Levels we can adjust the image with a little more finesse. Every image will be different but for me here I’ll move the right hand slider to bring down the Hightlights and then balence it with the midtone slider. The left slider affects the shadows, I’ll leave that.


Step 5: Explore Layers


Make sure you’re in Expert mode at the top of the screen, it should be called ‘Normal’ really. Down the bottom of the screen click the Layers button. This brings up a Layers panel. In it you’ll see two layers, our original image and the new one we’ve created.

Step 6: Experiment – No pixels are being harmed



Because we’re working in layers we can get creative. Here I’m trying some Blending Modes, (the way one layer reacts with the layer below it). I like Multiply, but I’m not sure I’ll keep it. Thats the beauty though, we’ve done everything non destructively so we can always go back.

For my final image I added some black to white gradients on a separate layer and used the Soft Light Blend mode.

About Eric Renno (434 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

3 Comments on Photomerge (HDR) with Photoshop Elements

  1. Kathleen // 23/02/2016 at 2:42 pm //

    Looks like I can learn a lot

  2. ken rousek // 08/04/2020 at 11:45 pm //

    How can I perfectly align the two photos. Is there a way to auto align? I’m using PS Elements 15, with guided Photomerge.

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