How to Combine Real Estate Photos Using Adobe Photoshop

Obvious patching and misaligned architectural elements are the challenges of merged pictures. Without careful alignment and blending, the final image will have distorted angles and proportions that ruin real estate photography. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to merge photos in Photoshop to highlight the best features of a property in a natural-looking composite.

How to Merge Photos in Photoshop

To merge images, you first have to open the two photos in Photoshop. Clip out the parts you want to combine, and use layer masks to blend the clipped sections into one cohesive photo. Use the Brush tool to fix exposure and remove details, as well as the Move tool to resize and rescale before flattening the two layers.

Adobe Photoshop is the real estate photo editing software professionals look to use to enhance images provided through real estate photography. The ability of this software to merge two photos in Photoshop, stack them together, and bring out the best in each picture is a source of success for real estate photography professionals.

Chart summarizing the steps on how to merge in Photoshop

Open the Images in Photoshop

Creating a sequence of the same photos from light, dark, or standard will help organize your images in Photoshop and decide which one should be the base photo.

Opening images of a house and the sky at the same time in Photoshop

  1. Open the images in Photoshop. Normally, you will have more than eight to 10 images showing different levels of exposure. 
  2. This does not mean that one photo is more desirable than the other. It just means that you have captured a photo in different dynamic ranges, which will be a part of contributing to the bigger whole.
  3. Avoid using photos with varying focal lengths. The difference in lens perspective can make it quite tricky to merge images. It's also best to use pictures with the same size or similar image resolution.

Arrange the Position of the Two Photos

Position the two photos to match and blend images in Photoshop seamlessly.

Arranging the photo of a house and the sky right above each other in Photoshop

  1. Open the first photo.
  2. Go to Photoshop's bottom right to see the image layer in the Layers menu.
  3. Click on the padlock icon beside the layer to unlock the background layer.
  4. Click and drag the second image on top of the first picture to align them.
  5. Photoshop should create an overlay on the picture and transform handles on the corners. This will make the second photo a Smart Object, which can help you resize the top layer easily.
  6. Another way is to select both layers. Head to Edit, expand the Auto-Align Layers options, select Auto, and click OK.

Create a Layer Mask From the Layers Panel

Masking layers is a non-destructive way to hide portions of two pictures of layers without erasing them. This is a great way to make composites using two photos in Photoshop, modify background colors, and target edits in certain parts instead of the whole photo or layer.

Adding a layer mask to create a composite of two photos in Photoshop

  1. Click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add empty layer masks.
  2. From the Layers menu, expand the drop-down menu beside Opacity.
  3. Choose Overlay for the top image layer blend mode. You should see the layer underneath to line up and merge two photos in Photoshop properly.
  4. Press CTRL or Command + T to launch the Free Transform tool.
  5. Press the V key to open the Move tool. Position the top image accordingly to keep the top layer looking good.
  6. Use the resize handles to rotate, shrink, or enlarge the selected top layer.
  7. With the two pictures in the same document, drag and hold down the Shift key to limit the direction you can move. This hides the top image off the edge of the canvas size.
  8. Click on Reveal All from the Image menu. Photoshop will resize the canvas size to accommodate the two files.

Use the Brush Tool for Basic Adjustments

Mask the light and dark images, leaving the standard exposures visible because this will ensure that your unwanted images will stay hidden until you deliberately make them surface. Working on two layers allows you to easily show and hide certain images to control the main photo you are working on.

Using the brush tool in photoshop to make adjustments

  1. Press the B key to open the Brush tool to paint on the top layer.
  2. Go to the Color Picker and set the foreground color to black. Use black to mask the top layer. White will restore the top layer, while grayscale can give partial transparency to the bottom layer or second photo.
  3. From the top drop-down menu, adjust the Opacity to 100%.
  4. Start brushing on the overexposed areas or parts you want to remove.
  5. Switch the Brush color to white and paint over the area if you make a mistake.
  6. Using the Patch or Clone Stamp tool, hold down the left mouse button to remove unnecessary objects in your edits.

Make Final Edits and Flatten the Layers to Combine Images

Flattening two photos in Photoshop merges layers of a whole photo in a single layer. This simplifies and reduces a photo's file size for uploading, printing, or sharing. It can make the new image look much better than the source images.

Flattening the blended images in Photoshop for the final edit

  1. From the Layers panel, go back to the eye icon to switch the layer visibility on and off again.
  2. Press the plus sign (+) icon in the Layers panel to create a new separate layer between the existing layers.
  3. Use a strong color to fill the middle layer. This will help you see parts of the top layer that aren't erased properly.
  4. Use the Dodge and Burn tools to lighten or darken the top layer to make sure both layers keep a similar tone value.
  5. Delete the intermediary color layer if you created one. Go to Layer and click on Flatten Image to merge the two layers.

Do HDR Blending

Repeat as needed, and make sure the photo is to your liking when you cover the over- and under-exposed areas. You can save your work afterward, should you want a comparison. Head to File, expand the Automate menu, and click Merge to HDR Pro.

Using HDR Pro in Photoshop to blend two images

The ability of HDR to combine images in Photoshop can be limited if your photos taken during the photo shoot are not exposed enough. Perhaps the bracketed shots did not capture the whole range you would like to. Nevertheless, HDR image blending will be an alternative option to your photo-combining needs.

The intrinsic ability of this one-click wonder will help you gain the efficiency you need to meet the deadlines of very tight clients. Moving to a manual way to merge two photos in Adobe Photoshop will merit and build the accuracy and creativity needed to identify which parts of the picture need work.

Purpose of Combining Images in Photoshop

Combining images is another term for real estate photography professionals for blending or stacking. These are often used when bracketing two images in Photoshop are taken in low-light or low-visibility situations. 

Merged photo of a sky and a house using Photoshop

  • Real estate photography professionals jump on this photography technique once they are aware that even artificial light will not do the property the right justice to showcase its stunning vibrance. 
  • A real estate photo editing software, like Adobe Photoshop, can merge two photos to give a single picture with the best qualities of exposure, lighting, and color. 
  • Another use of a merged image is when automatic blending (or automatic HDR stacking) fails. There is a limit to which artificial intelligence (AI) or algorithms work for more photos, and some would still appear dull or unpresentable. 
  • This real estate photo editing software gives you the freedom to merge images while keeping natural edits on colors and exposure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Photoshop Real Estate Photos?

Yes, you can edit a real estate photo with Adobe Photoshop. It gives you the power to adjust lighting, color, and sharpness, as well as do photo stitching. You can use tools such as the Clone tool, masks, and layers to merge two photos.

How Long Does It Take to Edit Real Estate Photos?

For an experienced Photoshop user, basic real estate photo editing takes five to 15 minutes per image. Meanwhile, more advanced techniques to merge images, correct colors, work on a clone source, or remove unwanted objects can take more than 30 minutes.

How Do I Make Multiple Images Look Professional in Photoshop?

Professional image editing involves correcting colors, enhancing lighting, removing distractions, and sharpening focus. You may also use tools like layer masks to blend exposures for a high-quality look when you merge images.


With some practice on layers, blending modes, and Brush edits, you'll learn how to merge two images in Photoshop. The merge features allow for natural-looking composites that suit your creative vision. Mastering how to merge photos in Photoshop unlocks new possibilities for your real estate photography work.


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