Create a new nature scene by blending images with a layer blend mode in Adobe Photoshop.
Living room wall features flock of geese flying over lake. Cream-colored chair sits in front of floor to ceiling bookshelf.

What you'll need

This sample file has Adobe Stock images you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

Add two images as separate layers to a Photoshop document. Feel free to use our practice files, or use your own. For this composition, we added a photo of birds with a light blue sky as the top layer and will blend it with the landscape photo on the bottom layer.

Flock of geese and lake images are added to two separate layers

When you set a blend mode, Photoshop mixes pixels from the selected layer with the layer below it. The way the pixels are mixed differs depending on the mode you choose. Select the birds layer and mouse over blend modes in the Layers panel to preview the effects and find the one you like.

The bird layer is on top of the lake layer. Darken, Multiply, Hard Light, and Luminosity blend modes are previewed.

We ultimately chose the Darken blend mode on the birds layer, which blends the blue sky of the bird photo with the landscape image below. As a result, the birds become part of the landscape and the overall composition is a bit darker because the blues in the two photos blended together.

The Darken blend mode makes white invisible, so the landscape showed through the light parts of the birds’ bodies. To make the birds appear solid again, we added a layer mask to the landscape layer and used the Brush tool to paint the layer mask with black where the landscape showed through.

Darken blend mode is chosen but makes white feathers on the birds appear invisible. Layer mask is added for color correction.

In the end, the two images blended well to create a beautiful composite.

Composition features flock of geese flying over lake.

Now you can combine image layers to make new scenes and effects.

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07/15/2021

Adobe Stock contributors: elharojoeycheung, Roman King

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