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Combining group photos

From: Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Video: Combining group photos

Whenever you're shooting groups of people, even as few as two people together, it's a good idea to take multiple shots, because it's inevitable that just at the moment that the shutter opens one of your subjects will have his eyes closed or be doing something odd with his hands or have a funny expression on his face. If you do take more than one group shot, you can combine them to take the best of all the shots and put them into one composite using Photoshop's Auto-Align and Auto-Blend features. Here for example I have a couple of shots of two fellows having a lively discussion.

Combining group photos

Whenever you're shooting groups of people, even as few as two people together, it's a good idea to take multiple shots, because it's inevitable that just at the moment that the shutter opens one of your subjects will have his eyes closed or be doing something odd with his hands or have a funny expression on his face. If you do take more than one group shot, you can combine them to take the best of all the shots and put them into one composite using Photoshop's Auto-Align and Auto-Blend features. Here for example I have a couple of shots of two fellows having a lively discussion.

I'd like to compare them and see who looks good in which of the photos. I'm working in Bridge in the Chapter 13 Exercise Files folder and because I'm in Bridge, I can use Review Mode to compare the two images. I'm going to select the first of them, hold down the Shift key or the Command key on a Mac, that's Shift or Control on a PC, and click on the second one. And then I'll go up to this button at the top of the screen from which I can choose Review Mode. That gives me a good high-resolution view of both images right here in Bridge.

I really like the way that the guy in the red shirt looks here in the top photo, but I'm not thrilled with the way that the guy in the gray shirt is standing. In the bottom photo the opposite is true. I liked the gesture that the guy in the gray shirt is making in the bottom photo, but the guy in the red shirt is doing something funny with his hands here. So what I want to do is put together the red shirt guy from the top photo, the gray shirt guy from the bottom photo. I'll do that in Photoshop using Auto-Align and Auto-Blend. First, I'm going to click the X to go out of Review Mode in Bridge and with the two images still selected in Bridge, I'll go up to the Bridge Tools menu and choose Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers.

That opens Photoshop, tells it to make a new file, and to put my two images into separate layers in that file. So here from the top layer, the group1 layer, I want to keep the guy in red and here from the group2 layer, I want to keep the guy in gray. I'm going to turn both of these layers on again. I'm going to select them both by holding down the Command key on a Mac or the Control key on a PC. First, I have to get Photoshop to align the two images so that their content is in the same place.

I'll go to Edit menu at the top of the screen and I'll choose Auto-Align Layers. I'm going to accept the Auto Projection method here, which is the method that Photoshop's going to use to try to align the layers. If that doesn't work I can always come back and try one of these other choices. By the way as I mentioned in the movie on Photo Merge, there are a couple of new options here, the Spherical and the Collage methods. I'm going to check Vignette Removal to make sure that any dark areas on the edge of the photos don't interfere with the blending and then I'm going to click OK.

In just a moment the photos are aligned. I can see that the photos have been distorted a little by the Auto Alignment which left a few pixels at the side and some at the bottom and a little bit of distortion up here. But that's okay, because I can now use the two layers to take the best of each photo. I'm going to go to the group1 layer, select it and go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and add this layer mask. The mask is now white so it's showing me everything on the group1 layer. I'm going to select the Brush tool, make sure that I'm painting with black and I'll go up to the Options bar, make sure the Opacity of the Brush is set to 100%, and then I'm going to come in and start painting over the guy on the right to remove him from the top photo.

As I do you can see the picture of him that's on the bottom layer starting to show through. Because the images are aligned everything else in the photo lines up just right. That's it. I now have a composite of the two images. I'll crop away the edges where there are some distortion and some transparent pixels by getting my Crop tool and clicking-and-dragging to retain only the good part of the composite image. I can go all the way over here and still not run into any distortion and on this side I think you can get all the way over here. Good! I'll press the checkmark in the Options bar and I'm finished.

I've taken two photos, neither of which I thought was great and put them together into one where it looks like these guys are having a really lively conversation. So the next time that you're shooting multiple people in a formal group shot or just an informal shot like this one, take more than one image and if you don't like either one of them, put them together to get one composite that's just right.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

103 video lessons · 67348 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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