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Two photos merged in Photoshop

The ability to merge multiple photos is a useful skill for real estate photographers. Even though most of them want to get the photo right directly in the camera, there are certain scenarios where merging the pictures together is proven useful and nece ...



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How to Merge Photos Realistically in Photoshop

Published: 14/01/2022

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Photoshop lets you combine two or more pictures to get amazing results. There are a lot of reasons for merging pictures in Photoshop. If you are a real estate photographer and you want to be able to showcase your shots to your clients faster, you may take more shots and merge them to fix your images.

Taking pictures in rapid bursts doesn't normally get stellar quality. You need to think about what you are taking pictures of and once the lighting and composition are all set, you can take several images. If you don't get a single image that you are happy with, you have options to combine and merge images in Photoshop.

How to Merge Photos Realistically in Photoshop

To merge photos in Photoshop, you first need to select two images that you want to combine. They need to have the same focal length and make sure that the lighting in both of the images is the same. Also, make sure that the two images have the same resolution. 

Below is the step-by-step guide on how to merge the two pictures in Photoshop.

Open the First Photo

First, open the two images. If the main subject is a different size in each image, open the image where the subject is the smallest. In this way, you can resize the second photo instead of upscaling it.

On the upper right side of the screen, click on the padlock icon so you can open the Layers Menu and unlock the background layer.

Adding image on Photoshop

Open the Second Photo

From the computer's filing system, choose the second picture and drag it on top of the first one to align them. There will be an  "X" on the picture and you will see a box with handles around the edges. It is better to resize the image.

Next, bring the second picture into Photoshop and include it as a Smart Object. This can help you resize the image better. Make sure you do not enlarge either of the images that you are merging more than 30%. If you do, the overall clarity of the image will be different.

Resizing an image

Position the Photos to Match

Set the top layer blend mode into Overlay so you can view the layer below. In this way, you can position the subject in the two images to match them correctly. Choose Edit then select Free Transform from the drop-down menu. You can also do the following commands:

  • Command + t
  • Ctrl t

Using the Move tool, position the top picture so that the parts of the top layer which you want to keep will look good. You will also need to resize the handles in order to enlarge or rotate the layer so the two of them match properly. 

If your subject moves just a little, you will find it difficult to match the two subjects. As soon as you are satisfied with the result, you can have the top layer positioned by pressing Enter. Make sure the blend mode of the top layer is on Normal mode. 

Clicking the free transform tool

Create a Mask

After selecting the top layer, choose the Add Vector Mask icon that is located at the bottom of the panel so you can add a layer mask. This will create a mask that you can use to remove the parts of the top image that you do not want to be there. 

Choose the Brush tool and make sure that the color is set to black and the opacity is 100%. Start painting over the areas that you want to remove. If you make a mistake, just switch the brush color to white and paint over the same area. 

Make sure you start at the areas that are furthest away from the place that you want to keep and slowly move in. As you get closer, you will need to make the brush size of the eraser tool smaller and the opacity reduced. This can help the transition and smoothen the area that you are removing.

Merging photos realistically

Merge the Images

To help you see if there are more areas that you need to work on, switch the layer visibility on and off several times in the Layers panel. Create a new layer or you can use a separate layer in between the existing layers. Fill it with a color that does not appear in the images that you are working with so you will see the parts that are not erased properly. 

To make sure that both of the layers have the same tone value, you need to lighten or darken the top layer via the burn tools. If you created an intermediary color layer, you need to remove it. Now merge the two layers by selecting Flatten Image and you will get a single merged image. 

Choosing the flatten image in Layer tab


Combining pictures in Photoshop is a common practice among real estate photography. Being able to light a whole property evenly and capture the areas in one frame can be challenging.

Setting your camera and photographing a room or the exterior of a house can be more effective if you do it with different photographs. Plan light portions of the scene so when you merge them, the whole picture will appear to be well lit.