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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >


You can combine two or more photographs in the same file.


1) Open two photographs in Photoshop Elements.


2) Edit each of the photographs.

Create a Composite Layer

For each photograph, you need to combine all of the layers into a single layer.

This layer is called a composite layer.

After you make the composite layer, it'll be at the top of the stack of layers.

Composite Layer

Layer 3

Layer 2

Layer 1

Background copy


Your other layers will still be there, below the composite layer.

Later, the one of the composite layers is moved to the other photograph's layer stack.

3) Create a composite layer for each photograph.

If you haven't already, go to Composite Layer.

4) Rename the composite layers as Photograph A and Photograph B.

What If the Photographs

Are Not the Same Size?

If one of the photographs is smaller, that may be fine.

The two photographs don't have to be the same size.

If they need to be the same size, you can resize the smaller photograph.

Let's say Photograph A is larger.

It's 1,000 pixels wide by 500 pixels high.

Photograph B is smaller.

It's 700 pixels wide by 400 pixels high.

You need to make Photograph B 500 pixels high, the same as Photograph A.

So, Photograph B's height needs to change from 400 to 500 pixels.

The width needs to increase, but you'll let Photoshop Elements do that automatically.

Do the following.

a) Double click on the thumbnail in the project bin/photo bin of the photograph that needs to be enlarged.

b) Go to Image > Resize > Image Size.

c) Make sure all three tick boxes are selected in the lower-left corner of the window.

d) Enter the new value for the height.

The width will change automatically to maintain the same aspect ratio (constrain proportions).

e) In the menu at the bottom of the window, select Bicubic Smoother.


Bicubic Smoother

e) Click OK.

Move One of the Composite Layers

You're now ready to move one of the composite layers to the other photograph's layer stack.

5) Select the Move tool.

Photograph A to Photograph B

6) In the project bin/photo bin at the bottom of your screen, double click Photograph A.

7) Make sure the composite layer is selected in the layers stack.

8) Click and hold on the image of Photograph A that's in the middle of your screen.

9) Drag the image down to the thumbnail of photograph B in the project bin/photo bin.

Reposition the Photograph A Layer

The two photographs, A & B, are probably on top of each other.

If not, use the Move tool.

Make sure the Photograph A layer is selected, and click and hold on the image in the middle of your screen, and move it as needed.

You can use the arrow keys to fine tune the position.

The Photograph B Layer Stack

Here's how the layer stack looks for Photograph B.

The two composite layers are on top.

Photograph A

Photograph B

Background copy


Blending Shenanigans

There are numerous ways you can blend the Photograph A and Photograph B layers.


You can lower the opacity of the photograph that's on top of the stack, Photograph A.

Lowering the opacity makes the top photograph somewhat transparent, allowing the bottom photograph be be seen.

Do the following.

1) Make sure the Photograph A layer is selected (highlighted).

2) Lower the opacity of the layer.

Opacity is located at the top of the layers stack on the right.

You can use also selections with opacity.

Go to Multiple Opacities.

Select & Cut

You can "cut holes" in the top photograph, Photograph A.

Do the following.

1) Make sure the Photograph A layer is selected (highlighted).

2) Make a selection.

33) Press Ctrl + x.

A "hole" is cut in the Photograph A layer, allowing part of the Photograph B layer to be seen through the hole.


You can fill a mask with black.

The mask will block the Photograph A layer.

You'll only see the Photograph B layer that's below the Photograph A layer.

Then, paint with white or gray on the mask.

Where you paint, Photograph A will appear.

You can create a mask on the Photograph A layer.

Do the following.

1) Select the Photograph A layer.

2) Make sure the foreground color is black, and the background color is white.

If you haven't already, go to Foreground & Background Colors.

3) Create a layer mask.

The mask will appear in the Photograph A layer.

By default, the mask is white.

Press Ctrl + i to change the mask from white to black.

The Photograph A layer becomes hidden due to the black mask.

4) With white paint, or shades of gray, use the Brush tool to paint where you want the Photograph A layer to appear.

White paint allows all of the Photograph A to appear.

Where you paint with white, you'll see only Photograph A.

You won't see Photograph B.

If you paint with shades of gray, only part of Photograph A appears.

Depending on the shade of gray, you'll see varying amounts of Photograph A and Photograph B.

A lighter gray lets more of Photograph A appear.

A darker gray doesn't let as much of Photograph A appear.

Blending Modes

Select the Photograph A layer.

The blending mode for Photograph A is Normal.

Look for the blending mode box at the top of the layers stack.

The box isn't labeled.

Look for Normal in a box.

Click the white triangle to open the blending mode menu, and select Difference toward the bottom of the list.

Experiment with other blending modes.

If you haven't already, go to Blending Modes.


The neon sign below was photographed from inside a Chinese restaurant.

So, the letters are reversed.

I flipped the Background copy, making the letters on that layer read normally.

Go to Image > Rotate > Flip Layer Horizontal.

The opacity of the Background copy layer was reduced, mixing the two layers.