August 19, 2017

Restoring detail with Image Blender.

"Normal" exposure can suck the realism out of a high-key image. When highlights lose their detail (as in the washed-out photo above) you can try gamma or luminance fixes in your editing software. But you'll usually get better results with a simple trick in Image Blender, Union, BitPoem or other photo blending app. By blending two copies of the same image using the Multiply mode, you'll enrich the highlights, restore overall vividness, add depth and bring back the realism.

I'm using Image Blender here, since it makes this process really easy:

  • Open Image Blender.
  • Tap the Background square on the bottom left and choose your image.
  • Tap the Foreground square on the bottom right and choose the same image.
  • Tap the double squares icon at the top center.
  • Tap Multiply and swipe down on iPhone (on iPad: tap Multiply and touch the screen).
  • Drag the slider right until the restoration looks good.
  • Tap the Share icon (square with up arrow).
  • Tap Save Image.

I shoot a lot of aging marble statues that really benefit from the detail and drama this technique can add.

Advanced adjustments in Image Blender.

Image Blender is not designed as a traditional editing tool, but you can modify exposure, contrast and saturation of each photo. So if you want a less bold result, reduce the contrast and saturation of one or both photos. To access the filters, tap the thumbnail on the bottom right or left and choose Filter.

How you’re supposed to use Image Blender.

Though Image Blender does a great job with the above technique, it was built for blending two different photos and has 16 more blend modes, plus the ability to mask and offset images. It's super simple to use, but offers powerful effects that conventional photo editing apps don't have.

Image Blender in the App Store.

More on mastering your iPhone camera: The Crap-Free Guide to iPhone Photography


Previous post
Software: Your power tools are made in sweatshops. Ulysses, a popular text editor for Mac and iOS, just changed over to a subscription model at a pricey $40 a year. I'm happy to say that the price
Next post
Review: MuseCam for iOS makes shooting RAW easy. ★★★★★ It just seems logical to me that people would want to shoot RAW photos on their iPhone with the same simplicity as their iPhone Camera app: You