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The Rembrandt Solution

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

Back in June this year I wrote a piece for this website called Mastering Dramatic Light without HDR. In it I described an approach to high-contrast situations that involved exposing one frame for the highlights and a second frame for the shadows, then blending the two images in Photoshop to achieve good detail throughout the frame. In that first piece I described my procedure for metering the two exposures. In this post I'll show you a simple way to combine the two images in Photoshop. Here once again are my two component images.


Jagged Mountain and columbine at sunset, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Figure 1. The good-shadow exposure

Jagged Mountain and columbine at sunset, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Figure 2. The good-highlight exposure

The first step is to load the two exposures as layers in a single file in Photoshop. The easiest way to do this is to start from Lightroom. In Lightroom, select both images, then choose Photo>Edit In>Open as Layers in Photoshop. If you don’t use Lightroom, start from Bridge (which s