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Photo Editing Episode 2: Long Exposure Compositing

Photo Editing Episode 2 - Long Exposure Compositing

How to composite a long exposure using Photoshop

So, after a very long delay I’ve finally put together the second episode of my photo editing tutorial video series (check out the first episode here). This one is about editing long exposure photos and more importantly it also goes into detail on how to create composite images from multiple shots. This technique is very well suited for the kind of photography that we do on our Tokyo By Night photo workshop. We often discuss these techniques during the workshop since it shooting on a tripods naturally lends itself to create such composite photographs. The reason is that the camera remains stationary and all of the photos should have identical compositions. So, please check out the composite photo editing video tutorial here or simply watch it right below. Skip ahead for the before and after images too!

Watch the tutorial video

Before & After Images

Before editing (raw from camera)
Before editing (raw from camera)

As you can see, the before image is a bit dull due to being a raw file straight from the camera. This is entirely normal with raw files as they tend to have a flat color profile by default. Also, you’ll notice there are not that many light trails in the scene. The after image, on the other hand, has much more vivid colors, more contrast, as well as a cooler white balance. This was all achieved in Adobe Camera Raw. However, the last step was to composite a few shots from this same vantage point in order to beef up the amount of car light trails in the shot. This was done in photoshop. So, if you want to see how it’s done, check out my photo editing tutorial video! The results speak for themselves!

After editing in Adobe Camera Raw and compositing in Photoshop
After editing in Adobe Camera Raw and compositing in Photoshop
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