How to Make Two Pictures Into One & Look Natural

by Elyse James

With the use of digital editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or Lightroom, you can alter the content of a photograph by blending it with another picture. The result is one realistic-looking photo that contains elements of both pictures. This technique, called photo mashing or photo blending, requires two photographs that can be mixed together, such as the faces of two people or two animals. This technique is often used to create humorous pictures---for example a man's face on a woman's body---or as a fun way to see what you would look like with a celebrity's hairstyle or body. Do not publish a photo that is copyrighted by others.

Select two photos of similar objects that can be blended together. For the purpose of this tutorial, choose two pictures of people's faces. The pictures should be the same quality. Both people should be facing the same way for the most realistic photo blending. Choose two photos that have similar lighting and colors.

In Photoshop, open both images by selecting "File" and then "Open". The images will open in separate documents so you will have to add them into one document.

Select the larger-sized image and press "Ctrl" and then "A" to select the image. Press "Ctrl" and then "C" to copy it. Paste the image into the other image document by pressing "Ctrl" and "V". The larger image will automatically be pasted into its own layer, on top of the smaller image.

Select the larger image and adjust the opacity to 50% by moving the slider in the layers palette. Then, select the "Free Transform" arrow and make the larger image the same size as the smaller image. You will be able to see the other image underneath because of the lower opacity---move the picture so both faces are perfectly in line.

Bring the opacity back up to 100%. Select the eraser tool and set it to a hardness of "0" so that the edges are smooth and natural looking when you erase.

Erase the image on top so that elements of the bottom image show through. So if you want the face of the bottom image to show through, erase the facial features of the top image. Be careful to erase only small portions of the image so that the characteristics of the bottom picture blend in naturally.

Balance the image colors by selecting "Image" and then "Adjustments" followed by "Color Balance". Move the slider around until the two images appear to be a seamless photograph.

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.