Stacking Multiple Photos for Night Photographs

This technique is very simple and easy to learn ~ but it is very useful especially for photographer who loves shoot night photographs…

First I need to explain why I need to use this technique, the reason is “I don’t have remote timer on that time”, so ridiculous but that’s true hehe… so I just use tripod and my camera. I use Tv mode and I know my camera only can take 30 seconds but I need more than that to capture all the traffic line. So I think to take many photos and combine them together, looked easy right hehe….

I can show you, 4 photos that I used for this article….

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Photo 3:

Photo 4:

The next step is combine them together…. I use traditional way, just open them and create a layer one above other. When you do this one you will see layer 2 but you can’t see the layer 1 because by the default Photoshop will set the blending type to normal. Of course you can play with opacity to combine them but I don’t think it is a good way….

There is a fast way to combine them together, you know that the things you want to combine is the light trail, so that part should be lighter than others. In photoshop we can simply combine those things by using lighten blend option. You can see the combination of photo 1 and photo 2 ~ looked like magic hehe….

You can do the same process with other photos, you can combine more photos if you really need it…. Just careful to adding some photos because maybe some parts already overexposure so you don’t need to add that part. You can see again photo 3, I think that photo really need to care because some area are overexposed…. You can see the photo below (combination of photo 1,2, and 3)…

In order to solve this problem is erase that area, but I don’t like to damage the photo so I prefer use mask. You can simply create a mask and brush that area. Anyway after I combine photo 4 then I will get a better result compare with each photo hehe…..

Final result:

Hope you like this simply tutorial….. comments are really appreciated, thanks….

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9 thoughts on “Stacking Multiple Photos for Night Photographs

  1. Hey Edwin,

    I wondered how the result look like if I use Photomatix “Exposure Fusion” function. I’ve been testing this function for a few days with simple HDR photos. Basically “Exposure Fusion” gives a more natural look for HDR shots with less noise. But I was thinking what result I get when I take high speed sequence photos, but using Photomatix to merge the layers. Your night photos with those lines gave me the idea to try it out with them.
    The result is similar to your version, but the lines are less bright. Just thought I share it with ya.

    • Thanks Gyula…
      Sorry for late response….
      I usually use Photomatix only for HDR….
      The way photomatix combining those lines is interesting, I know every software will have advantage and disadvantage. I think photomatix also good but it may have the problem if you need mask… the mask is not only to hide the overexposure part but it also can be used to hide other thing.

  2. Great tips here Edwin,
    I think it is more “natural” using photoshop instead of photomatix. I would also suggest using Nik Software plugin which has tonal contrast layer that does a wonderful job. Keep the posts coming.

    Regards,
    Sergey

    • Thanks Sergey… also sorry for late response….
      Nik software plugin also nice, I use that plugin for some cases…. but the same as photomatix, I never use it for stacking multiple images hehe…. Anyway thanks for your idea and suggestion….

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