Photoshop Blending Modes for Photographers

Photoshop Blending Modes for Photographers

Download the files to follow along this tutorial here:
In this video I will show the main blending modes I have been using over the years:

Multiply: Sky replacement
Screen: Light rays
Overlay: Dodge and Burn
Softlight: Dodge and Burn lighter
Color: Transform all the colors


– Bonjour madames and messieurs, in this episode I'm gonna give you a good introduction into blending
modes in Photoshop. (upbeat music) Bonjour madames and messieurs, my name Serge Ramelli, I'm a French photographer
from the amazing, the incredible, the romantic
city of Paris, France. Living right now in Los
Angeles, California. And I've been wanting to do
this episode for a long time, which is to show you the power of blending modes in Photoshop. Also, at the end of this episode,
I have a surprise for you. I have my new workflow
2018 course coming out. It's awesome, I am so proud of it. I'm sure you're going to enjoy it. Check it out. All right, guys. So I want to show you blending modes. I've been using Photoshop for years, and after all these years, I realize there's only a few blending
modes I'm really using. That's what I wanted to focus on. There's maybe some other ones. And if you do, leave me a comment and tell me how you're
using blending modes. But I'll show you what I do with it. And I think it's, it's actually pretty cool, blending modes really
makes things a lot easier. For example this is a photo
of Chinatown I took in LA, and I didn't like the
sky, it was very boring. So I have a whole
collection of skies here, which, by the way, you can have if you really like sky replacement, you can check my sky replacement panel and I'll show you how to
replace skies on many photos, and I give you like 60 skies
of super high definition. But what I do is I, you know, I always have all my assets
in my library in Photoshop, so for example, this sky,
I wanna put over here, so I just drag and drop it. And back in the day, I used to do a specific selection of the sky, and I don't do that anymore. So what I do is I take
about half of the sky that I put roughly at the horizon. Then I'm gonna duplicate that layer. Now on this layer that's
duplicated I'm Command T, for the free control tool, right click, flip horizontal. That's gonna mirror the sky. I'm gonna press the shift
key, by pressing shift key, when I'm dragging my
sky, it aligns perfectly, it doesn't go left or right. I wanna make sure until
it's fully aligned. I press enter. And now I've got a perfect mirror. Or not quite. You can use the move tool,
press V for move tool, and then just use the
mouse here like this. Alright, so once you've got your mirror, you select both of these layers,
right click, merge layer. So now we've got this weird layer. And first blending mode is multiply. Multiply, what multiply will do. It's gonna take anything
which is white on this photo and replace it with what's on this layer. So check this out, boom. Now you see the sky is there, and imagine if I had to do selection, look how perfect this selection is. Okay, the downside is that we can see some of the clouds
here on the building, but it's a good start. I can just create, sorry, Command Z, I can just create a mask,
take a brush, B for brush, make it big, make sure your
brush is around 20 or something, and I'm just gonna brush off
the effect on the building and on the floor. I only want it really, I kind of like it on the
building but I really want it more just in the sky. And one operation, we
just replaced the sky. And then you can do whatever
you want with the photo. So that's the multiply mode. Anything which is white
becomes transparent. And it's great for, I use it for, adding some clouds and things there using my library of sky. The next mode I wanna show you. This is a photo I shot in
the inside of a canyon, it's called The Bear. I don't know if you can notice, but it's the beautiful lower inner canyon, and it has a little bit
of the shape of a bear. I wanted to spice up the
photo with some light rays. Some time of, there's
some sections of the year where you have light rays. So I'm gonna go here to
my light rays section, and by the way, if you
wanna have the light rays, and the bundle of the sky, you can get it, there's
a link below the video, with a good price. And what the light rays is basically a whole bunch of light rays of clouds, of things you can add. Let me show you how it works. Basically, I just want to add some particles in the air there, and I've got this great light
ray that's got particles. The way we did it was
having real dust in the air. So I'm gonna make it big, but you see now, it's kinda
weird because it's black. So there's another blending
mode which is the reverse, which is screen. Screen's gonna make anything which is black become transparent. The other one it was anything which is white become transparent, and this one is the opposite. I can take the move
tool, move this around. Shift key now make it bigger. Okay, and I actually want this, I want the effect to be
just where the bear is. Like if the particles were in
this section of the cavern, not in front, so I need to make a mask or something. But before I'm gonna just
do something very easy, I'm gonna select here, I'm gonna
press quick selection tool, I'm gonna make a selection of the bear, that's the bear, and that's where I want
my particles to be, so just a really rough selection, the quick select tool
is really easy for that. And then I'm just gonna click here, select my light ray, and
I'm just click in mask. And because I've got an active selection, it's gonna just use that. And now the particles are
behind, which is cool. Now you see there's a bit of light there. I said, okay, why not. Let's make another light ray there, just for the purpose of showing
what this blend mode does. So this is another one
that's got less particle. Another light ray. I'm gonna make this bigger. Just shape it however you want it. I'm gonna place it here,
something like this. Okay, and then I'm gonna
put it on screen mode, so remember, everything which is black is gonna become, and check this out, now I've got this nice
beam of light coming there. If I want to, I can even mask it here. Same thing, I can, you know. Alright now I can do the same thing here. I can go here. I'm gonna unselect that. Take the quick select
to make a quick select, because I want the light to go behind. So I'm gonna reactivate
that, reactivate this. But now it's the opposite. Remember before the I wanted the mask, I wanted the selection
to, what was selected to be visible, now it's the opposite. So I'm just gonna press the Option and click on the mask here, boom. And now the light ray went behind this. So you see I added a light ray here, I added a light ray there. I can make this one, lower the opacity. You know on this one, I would
probably add a bit of color because it's too white. So you could press Command U, Command U is gonna bring
the hue and saturation, I can click on colorize. And by default it's very yellow which is exactly what I want. I'm just gonna lower the
saturation to add a bit of yellow. And you know, I can, I still think it's a little too present, so I can lower even more the opacity. But you know, it's just for the fun of it. So now I've added some light rays. And I think I went too
strong on the yellow. But you know you get the idea. It just makes the photo
a little more complex. But look at all these
particles, it's kinda cool. Alright so that was screen. Alright now the next
one is the overlay mode, which I use when I do dodge
and burn in Photoshop. When I do it in Lightroom
I use the brushes. But if I do it in Photoshop,
one thing I love to do is I can take a curve, for example, and make this entire photo a lot darker. And then I'm gonna create an empty layer that I'm gonna put into
this beautiful blending mode called overlay. Okay the way overlay works is basically, I can take a brush, make it big, I'm gonna make sure the brush is very, zero percent hardness, so very soft, and I'm going to, first I'm going show you at 100%, so I'm gonna press, and I'm gonna click
here and I'm gonna take the colors from this lamp
here, and press okay. So now what I do, if I paint here, you see with the overlay mode it sort of blends in completely. It just makes it brighter
wherever I brush. If I press X and I paint with black, it's gonna make it darker. Usually I don't go so strong. So let me do Command
Alt Z a couple of times, so what I'm gonna do is press X again, take this, get back this color, and I usually when I
use my dodge and burn, I go more around like 20%. Okay and then I'm gonna paint. You see, that's the normal blending mode. And now if I go to overlay, boom it blends in completely well. So I brush, brush, brush, and maybe make this a little less yellow. Okay, and then I'm gonna
brush even more outside, then brush more inside. Maybe boost the opacity
even more, just for inside. And I'm kinda relighting the photo with just using these lamps. Check this out, before, after. It just add that sort of
drama, which is really cool. And that's what I use overlay more. It's more for the dodge and burn. I can also use it, let's
say I wanted to make some parts of the photo darker, on the same layer, I can make a big brush, press X for having black
as a foreground color, I'm gonna use a very
low value, like 15, 12%. And because it's in overlay mode, I can vignette this even more, if I wanna put more attention,
I can darken the sky here. And press X again, and then I can press D for having, D is gonna make this white and I can just relight this. Just add a bit of light here and here. There's one thing I
learned with photography is that an option which is partially lit is more interesting than an
object which is fully lit. By making all these
little light adjustment, I just made this photo
really much more interesting. So that's the overlay mode. Now another thing that
I use the overlay mode back in the day is the dramatic look which I don't use that much anymore. The idea about that look,
it still uses overlay, you can drop and drop
your layer to duplicate. Then you can go to
image, mode, adjustment, I'm gonna go to adjustment,
hue and saturation. And I'm gonna desaturate this photo. So this photo is now black and white on top of a color. And now if I put this into overlay, it makes it very dramatic. Or I can try soft light. What it does, overlay and
soft light is the same thing, soft light is a little lighter. What it does it adds a lot of contrast without adding saturation. So it's kinda, what we
call a dramatic look. Check out the before and after. It's just a little twist. And I you think it's too
strong, then lower the opacity. You know, so you just duplicate the layer, make it black and white
and put into overlay. So that's one thing I've been using. Okay and last but not
least is the color mode. Let's say I wanted this
sepia or old looking. This is a town ranch here
in Los Angeles, California. I can go here, add a solid color, so in this case I'm gonna
take something like yellow, like sepia type of looking,
something like this. Click okay. And I'm gonna go to the
blending mode of color. And what color is gonna do
is just gonna mix the color, change it out through the color. And now I can go into it, I can double click on it in realtime, just adjust the color until I
have got the look that I want. I can go very sepia. Or I can go very blue. That type of thing. But I don't use that very often. And to show you some more dodge and burn, I can go back here, put this into overlay. Take my black first, and
I'm just gonna darken, I wanna make a a vignette effect. So I'm gonna make, big brush, remember my brush is at 12%. Gonna darken the sky, now
that we've added the sky. I like to vignette the
whole photo except this, and I'm gonna press X and
then around the lights, I'm gonna boost this, maybe
add a little bit of yellow. I can even take it from
the real color here. Voila. And just make this a little brighter. Dodge and burn. The good ol' dodge and burn. So that's what you use overlay for. Honestly today I do it a lot in Lightroom, but you get great
results in Photoshop too. So that's before and that's the after, and that's without the sky. That's how it look with the sky and with a bit of overlay. So very powerful technique, guys. Blending modes are amazing. And I will see you in another video. Thank you very much. Bonjour madames and messieurs, I am so excited. I have a new course coming
out which is very peculiar called Serge Ramelli Workflow 2018. The idea of this course was to update you on all the latest Lightroom version, Photoshop version, Aurora, Luminar. This software, they have so many updates, that my workflow has
completely evolved and changed over the last two, three years. And so I did this course,
taking the opportunity of my latest workshop in Los Angeles, where you are gonna be in the seat like if you were on the workshop. The first day of work, we're
gonna go to the Griffith Park, and that's the first photo we gonna do. This is a panorama. You can see all the, that's the before, and that's the final result, which is like a crazy
20,000 pixel panorama. We took another panorama as
the sun was getting down, and that's the before photos. That's the first stitching, and then I was like, I
gotta get that tree out, which is so complex because
the tree is against the city, and I'll show you a workflow in Photoshop to take out the tree and everything that's annoying in the photo to get this result. Then later one, we walked and hiked to get this Terminator view. I call this the Terminator view because that's the view you get on Terminator one and Terminator four where you have the observatory and downtown
compressed against it. I'll show you the full retouching to go from this to this. I used Luminar to use some secret advanced contrast and different features to get this result. The next day we went to the Venice Canal, and we didn't have any good sky there. But I'll show you all the
bad framings that I took, all the good framings that I took, and also how to replace the skies, and how to find the right
sky for the right photo. For example, this was kind
of like a bluer type of sky, and then later on we got
this sunset type of sky. But I added the clouds to get this result. And choosing the right
sky for the right photo is so important. And I'm gonna go over that in details. And then later one we
went to the Venice beach and got this great sunset photo. With long exposure. I'll show you the entire workflow. I used plugins into get this result. You know, it's really how I work today. And then the next day we
went to downtown Los Angeles, starting off at the Walt
Disney Concert Hall, where I'm gonna show you a new technique. Actually, I took this eight photo of the Walt Disney Concert Hall,
and believe it or not, Lightroom refused to stitch
them into a panorama. So I used another workflow with Photoshop to get this result. I used some Luminar also
for some extra sun rays and some extra details
and advanced contrast that are really cool. While we were waiting for the sunset in downtown Los Angeles, I shot this portrait of
my daughter and my dog, and I decided to make a fine
art photography out of it. I have this rule that if
the colors are not amazing, go black and white. I also took a photo of the
downtown City Hall of Los Angeles and made it into fine art. As we were walking down the highways, I also shot this photo
of downtown Los Angeles, and I used a new workflow to get this really, really fine art,
dramatic black and white, using some presents in
Luminar which are amazing. So later on that day in
downtown Los Angeles, we shot the highways, and
this is a before photo. I'll show you a technique where you can stack up different light rays to really get this dramatic highway
type of photography. This is another one that
we shot a bit later on during the night, it's
the before and the after. The next day we went to the
nicest beach in California. El Matador Beach. And this is a normal exposure, this is an underexposure. I'll show you how to
retouch each exposure, and then to blend that into Photoshop to get this result and then into Luminar to add some advanced contrast to really get a photo that's gonna pop and that's gonna make you popular on the web and on social media. The last project that we did out of the 40 projects is a
portrait that Kelvin did of me where I show you the whole
retouching to get this sort of contrasted, desaturated look. So in total you have 40 different projects I'm gonna give you all the raw files, I'm gonna give you everything. This is my most up to date training. It really takes into account all the updates that's been
done on all the software. This is truly how I work. It's three hours and 15 minutes long, it's got, I'm giving
you all the raw files. And you got a great release
price down below this video. This is one of my most
favorite courses ever. And if it is just one course
you should buy from me, it's this one. Check it out, The Serge
Ramelli Workflow 2018. No, one second. Hey guys, I hope you liked this video. And if you did, please
give it one thumb's up. Also don't forget, leave me a comment anything you wanna learn on photography, on Lightroom, on Photoshop, on plugins. I will do my best to fulfill your wishes. (robot beeping) Yes. Yeah, R2 says don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and
to click the little bell so you get a notification
every time a video comes out. See you in another video and may be the force be with you. R2, please say goodbye. (robot beeping)

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. I will say as a photoshop tutorial this is very well presented. I've learned a lot from this video.

    That being said, while total OK with slight edits and tweaking to strengthen the image presentation, but you replace entire skyline, that's just cheating. Hehe.

    I won't be able to look back on the photo and feel any sense of achievement as huge part of the image was reconstructed.

    Great tutorial still.


  2. Great video and clear showcase!

  3. Hi Serge!
    Great video and useful tips.
    A quick question, what was the main objective of mirroring the sky?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. That's how advertisement should be made!

  5. But that will make my picture a fake.

  6. Great tips and loved it!

  7. that is very amazing , thank u so much

  8. thank u,subscribed

  9. I just say: THANK YOU SERGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I start photography 1 year ago and I fall in love that.
    I think buy lessons your site !!!

  10. Great videos you make, subbed

  11. So useful and such a great educational video for a designer. Really nice way you describe everything. Simple and to the point.

  12. Blending Mode basics so much clarified.. You are Awesome!
    Thank you!

  13. Very useful and informative video. Regards

  14. How did you add your sky photos in the Library?

  15. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and I've learnt allot from your videos just keep doing it for us .. Thanks again

  16. What version are you using? I cannot afford the newer versions so only have an old one.

  17. U d best…

  18. Wooooowww !!! Amazing

  19. Salut Serge, et merci pour les conseils.

  20. Amazing sir ! <3

  21. It's really disturbing how you stretch photos while you do that.

  22. Not only did I learn a lot about blending modes, and new ways to use overlay, I also learned about your Special Effects bundle, which will be amazing for my work (I do a lot of special effects in my work:

    Thanks for the info and the bundle!

  23. Multiply result = bottom layer * merged layer
    Not this "everything is white become trasparent" bs

  24. I love the tricks you shown in this tutorial

  25. Serge, I clicked on one of your links to try to find how to purchase some of your brushes. Impossible to navigate your website. I could never figure out what I might be buying. Your website lacks organization. Your website lacks clarity. Your website reminds me of kitchen walls that have been splattered with food when the blender exploded. Too bad for you. You are definitely losing sales.

  26. excellent tutorial ! many thanks

  27. Thx for the great and useful video. Just wanted to leave some notes for my and others to review, the video demonstrated:

    Multiple – White becomes Transparent / Quick Sky Replacement
    Screen – Black becomes Transparent / Quick Lighting Effect
    Overlay – Blends in light & colour well / Quick Dodge & Burn
    Soft Light – Add Contrast without saturation / Quick Contrast
    Colour – For tinted look / Quick Sepia / Blue

  28. my super hero….u r just amazing,,,regards from EGYPT my friend 🙂

  29. Thank you thank you.. great video.

  30. How do you add the light rays to your libraries?

  31. Great video. Fast paced and informative.

  32. The best episode ever! Bonzour

  33. Wow, i always was too lazy to find out how the blending modes actually work, This was so amazing! No i want to learn more about blending modes 🙂 Thank you Serge!

  34. Cant wait to try this out, cheers dude 🙂

  35. That is amazing!! I never learned Photoshop, only LR, but I really need to learn PS; this video show me I really need to – thanks!! Awesome work!!

  36. Great and easy, thx!

  37. One of your best tutorials. Thanks Serge

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