Every Fourth of July we gather with family and friends to watch breathtaking fireworks displays, happily snapping along with our iPhones or maybe a DSLR. But if you get home and find that the resulting photos are more than a little disappointing, don’t panic—with this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, adding majestic light shows with photo composites takes just five minutes and seven easy steps.
Too often, photographed fireworks show up as lifeless, drab, over- and under-exposed streaks of beigey-gold instead of awe-inspiring explosions of color and light. It’s a cruel camera trick, but we are here to help.
Of course, first you will need to find that dreamy fireworks photo, and that is where stock photography comes in. With GraphicStock’s unlimited downloads, you can grab all the pro firework shots you need to make your media match your memory.
Step One: Open Your Background Photo in Adobe Photoshop.
For this tutorial, we chose an image of the Washington Monument at Night Washington Monument at Night.
Once your photo is open, make sure you click the lock icon next to your photo layer in the layers panel on the right to unlock the background layer.
Step Two: Open Up Your Fireworks Photos
Open your fireworks photos in different windows, and drag them onto your background image to copy. We recommend completing steps two through five for each fireworks photo individually before moving on to the next one. You will be able to move them around at the end if need be.
We used these three images for this composite:
- Fireworks-display-series-54 Stock Image
- Fireworks-display-series-47 Stock Image
- Fireworks-display-series-39 Stock Image
Resize your image by holding shift while dragging in from the corner with your Move Tool. Click enter and select apply to change the size.
Step Three: Remove the Background From Your Fireworks Photo
Use your Eraser Tool to remove the background from your fireworks. Simply erase any extra detail, such as landscapes or smoke. Don’t get too close to your fireworks, we don’t want to lose any of those sparks!
When you are done, go ahead and move your image to wherever you want. Remember, this can always be changed later.
Step Four: Remove Any Additional Smoke or Background Noise
Remove smoke and background noise from the fireworks by selecting “Image” in your control bar, then navigating to Adjustments > Levels. This will bring up the Levels dialogue box. Adjust your levels by pulling the arrow on the left closer in toward the middle of your image until the background detail disappears. You shouldn’t have to move it very far.
You may need to go back and forth between steps three and four a couple times to get the look you want.
Step Five: “Blend” Everything In With the Screen Tool
With your fireworks layer still selected, go to your drop down in the Layers Panel, and select Layer > Layers Panel> Screen.
Step Six: Repeat as Needed
Repeat these steps with additional fireworks as needed until all your fireworks are in the photograph.
Step Seven: Bring Out Important Landmarks
Use your Eraser Tool if necessary to carefully “move” the fireworks behind any landmarks you want to showcase in the foreground by erasing the fireworks where they cover the landmark.
And voilà! You have a breathtaking photo full of sparkly Fourth of July magic.
If you prefer a more natural feel to the high contrast of the image above, add smoke to your image quickly and easily using your Brush Tool.
Bonus Step One: Get Your Tools Ready
Simply select your Brush Tool, and set the flow to 1%. Set the color to white or gray.
Bonus Step Two: Set Your Opacity
Your ideal opacity setting will depend on the density of the smoke, so play around and adjust accordingly. You can also change the opacity in the Layers Panel after you have created your smoke.
Bonus Step Three: Create a Smoke Effect
Simply swirl the brush around in small circles, building upon areas that you have already covered until you have covered the entire fireworks area. Remember, smoke is most dense in the center of each firework and billows out from there.
Bonus Step Four: Make Your Fireworks Pop
Move the smoke behind your fireworks by dragging the new layer beneath the fireworks in the Layers Panel.
Here is the finished product:
|Light Up The Night With Stock Graphics|