Image stacking for long exposure photography Tutorial in Lightroom and Photoshop

by admin September 6, 2018 at 4:01 am

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36 Comments

  1. "Mean" gives you the average value for a speciflc pixel as found in all the images – you have 80 something images. They grab the color/luminance values of that pixel in each image, add them up and divide by number of images. Whatever it turns out as, they display those values for that pixel. "Median", you have 80, they make a list of the pixel values from each and grab the center of the list – so 39 or 40 (on an odd number its that exact middle one, otherwise they probably average the 2 nearest it.

    Median is a good way to reduce noise in any kind of static shot btw. It's pretty impressive if you shoot with higher ISOs out of necessity…

    Mean is a cheap way to get that flowing water look without an expensive filter like a Lee f-stopper… the filter is a finer result, but I've got some that look almost the same that I shot within a few minutes of each other – just blasted off 30 shots of a waterfall (handheld) – aligned them in PS and pulled the "mean"…

  2. If I am in Photoshop and followed all the steps and get to Layer-Smart objects my "smart objects" are greyed out and can't be accessed. Did I done something wrong?

  3. First thanks for the amazing tutorial. Tried doing this yesterday with about 60-70 frames and then stacking them in PS but somehow doesn't get the same results as you do. Would it be better to shoot at lower shutter speeds to get a small amount of movement on each frame or would it be better to look for subject with a lot of movement instead? would appreciate any help on this one.

  4. Ivan: I have been shooting long exposures w/ ND filters and a 42 MP camera. The advantage being that I end up with a single image. With this time-lapse technique you are shooting 100 images in 5 minutes. I would think that I'd fill my 128 GB card quickly just to create a single image. Then loading this data into my PC hard drive there would be that much more compiled data to address. Ivan. can you explain the advantage of using this time-lapse technique if you already have acquired a proper collection of ND filters?

  5. Terrific help, thanks man. Been wanting to know how this is done for a while. If you haven't done it already, you should do this with your astro work and show us how that resuls.

  6. Thanks for your time Ivan, I've subscribed. And, nice to know I no longer have the noisiest pc fan in the world 🙂

    I only learnt of this today after playing witn my 5S and an app that does similar in phone (but not as well of course).

  7. i wonder if there is like stacking that simulates bulb mode for the purpose of just to properly expose dark scenes. as we know, very long exposure introduce noise and hot pixels. I hate LENR because it takes time.

  8. I've been playing about with long exposure photography for quite some time but had never heard of this technique before stumbling onto this post earlier today. I immediately went out to try it out and would have to say that this is singularly the most useful Photoshop processing idea I have come across in a very long time.
    Thanks for posting it. I can see this technique becoming a permanent part of my workflow from now on!

  9. Hello Ivan,
    beautiful picture… really. I do like it a lot. Now, just help me please. I didn't understand two things so there are some questions coming up.
    1) Why didn't you take a long exposure and just had ONE file in the end?
    2) As I am new to PS… what is the advantage of having smart objects? In other videos I saw, people didn't generate smart object out of their layers and did stacking for focus.
    3) Couldn't I use the stacking option with the same result?

  10. i liked your tutorial very much … helped me a lot…. i got new sony fdr x3000 & was depressed coz i cant take long exposure shot like gopro does… but after watching your tutorial i have no regrets of buy sony action cam. thanks a lot… will try this soon…. 🙂 cheers

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