Why Exposure Blending in Photoshop Is Better Than Using Grad Filters

I have been often asked why I choose exposure blending instead of using a grad filter on the front of my lens. This tutorial will provide you an answer to that frequently asked question.

Video: Exposure blending vs. Grad Filter

We’ve jotted down the steps for you!

(View the video for full details and explanations)

  1. Load two images with different exposures in Photoshop.
  2. I’ve added a layer mask added to the top photo to mimic the effects of a grad filter.
  3. Disabling and enabling this added layer will make the image look more darker.
  4. Unlock the layer mask.
  5. Click and slide the Move tool up and down to mimic the effect of the grad filter.

NOTE:  With a grad filter you just have a white to black effect which will then darken everything above the horizontal line evenly.
In the image shown on this tutorial you will see that it darkens the entire top of the image including the rocks. But what we want is to just highlight the sky portion.

NOTE: With exposure blending, you get to choose which portion of the image you want to enhance, brighten or darken. In the video tutorial we just simply combine similar image with different exposure and blend it together, this way we get to highlight or darken areas specific areas only.


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