Photoshop BLENDING MODES are powerful tools to speed up tonal correction and dust removal, among other things. They influence how a layer interacts with layers below it. They can be found in the upper left corner of the LAYERS PALETTE. When you create a duplicate or new layer, (some examples) you will see the word NORMAL in the top-left corner of a dialog box. If you click on the word NORMAL, it opens other choices, giving you real power at your fingertips.

Some of the Blending Modes that might interest photographers are:

MULTIPLY adds density and darkens the image.

SCREEN does the opposite of MULTIPLY

OVERLAY, SOFT LIGHT, HARD LIGHT are a mixture of MULTIPLY & SCREEN to boost image contrast.

I encourage you to experiment with these modes on duplicate or Adjustment Layers. Try adding them and adjusting their opacity for more unique combinations.

Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. The lightblub has just gone on above head… Thank you for the explaination.

  2. The lightblub has just gone on above head… Thank you for the explaination.

  3. Nice clear concise explanation :)

    Blending modes can be used to such great effect, but I think a lot of people either avoid them as they don’t understand them or just don’t realise they exist.

  4. Nice clear concise explanation :)

    Blending modes can be used to such great effect, but I think a lot of people either avoid them as they don’t understand them or just don’t realise they exist.

  5. Did that picture mean the bird just poop?

    Screen is nifty for not only adding a layer as a highlight/reflection, but if you dupe the layer onto itself and use screen it lightens it w/o blowing out the image.

  6. Did that picture mean the bird just poop?

    Screen is nifty for not only adding a layer as a highlight/reflection, but if you dupe the layer onto itself and use screen it lightens it w/o blowing out the image.

  7. I’ve heard a good technique of people adding a curves adjustment layer (without actually changing the curve itself) and then changed the blend mode to soft light or overlay.

    If I’m looking for a super-sharp look I’ll also do a duplicate layer run high-pass filter (to taste) and then blend mode to vivid light. Not for every image, but when it works it works really well.

    In the end just experiment and run the gamut, you’ll be surprised how it fits into your workflow.

    Thanks Scott!

  8. I’ve heard a good technique of people adding a curves adjustment layer (without actually changing the curve itself) and then changed the blend mode to soft light or overlay.

    If I’m looking for a super-sharp look I’ll also do a duplicate layer run high-pass filter (to taste) and then blend mode to vivid light. Not for every image, but when it works it works really well.

    In the end just experiment and run the gamut, you’ll be surprised how it fits into your workflow.

    Thanks Scott!

  9. @Paul
    If I recall correctly from falconry the bird is warming itself or stretching.

  10. @Paul
    If I recall correctly from falconry the bird is warming itself or stretching.

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