Greg Heisler Plus Photoshop Scanning Tip

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: September 8, 2010

Category: Videos

Hey Folks,
If you haven’t seen it already then check out the video below by Photographer Greg Heisler giving a breakdown of how he went about making this 2001 TIME Magazine front cover photo of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani:

The video makes great viewing as Heisler draws out a lighting diagram (mind you I think he went to the same art school as me) and details all the technical aspects and thought processes he went through. This is a fantastic example of how ‘attention to detail’ can make a good photograph great, as Heisler talks through how he used his lighting to mimic that of the ambient light from the surrounding New York Skyline.

Another little touch I like in the final image is in the post production where a shadow is placed on the letter ‘M’ directly behind Guiliani; again it’s the ‘attention to detail’ that makes the difference.

Photoshop Tip:
Totally unrelated to the Greg Heisler video, the other day I was doing my usual routine of tearing pictures out of other people’s newspapers and magazines to be scanned and put into the ‘Inspiration’ folder on my iPhone when I saw the picture below in the Daily Mail. The photograph is of Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles; presenters of the new Breakfast TV programme ‘Daybreak’ and it kind of reminded me of the Giuliani Photograph so out it came; the only problem now being that it was too big to scan…

So, what do you do when the picture you’re scanning is too big for your scanner?


  • Scan the top half of the picture and then position it so that you can then scan the bottom half allowing for a little bit of overlap.
  • Open both scanned images in Photoshop (bottom half as Layer 1 and top half as Layer 2)
  • Change the Blend Mode of Layer 2 to ‘Difference’


  • Move Layer 2 down so that it overlaps onto Layer 1

When you do this, at the point where the images are overlapping you’ll notice that there are patches of black but also outlines/details of the image below:

At this stage the two scans aren’t lined up so there’s one more simple thing you need to do…

Final Step…

  • Using the arrow keys on your keyboard make small adjustments Up, Down, Left and Right until eventually the area where the 2 scans are overlapping turns completely black; at this point they’re perfectly lined up…

  • Finish off by changing the blend mode of Layer 2 back to ‘Normal’…and that’s all there is to it.

This is something I do on a regular basis to add to the ever growing ‘Inspiration’ folder on my iPhone but it’s also great if you have to scan documents with text on that are just too big to scan in one pass. Come to think of it, when I do eventually buy, sorry invest, in an Apple iPad I’ll no longer have to criminally damage other people’s property as I’ll be able to read the daily papers on a nice big screen wherever I am and take a screen capture…justification sorted!

Enjoy 🙂

Keep up with Glyn ‘Day to Day’ on Twitter
Get more ‘Behind the Scenes’ by becoming a ‘Fan on Facebook’

You may also like…

The Harder I Look, The Less I See
The Harder I Look, The Less I See

The Day we stop Learning, is the Day we start Dying I totally subscribe to this other than to add that the dying is...


  1. DaveT


    I have an old Xpan. Because of the size of the image on 35mm film (remember it?) I have to scan the image through my 35mm slide scanner in two bits and stitch it later in Photoshop. This should make the registration process much easier.

    Thanks for the tip

    • Glyn

      @DaveT…You’re welcome mate; hope you get some use out of it 🙂
      All the best to you,

  2. Tim Skipper

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who puts inspiration images in my phone. I’m lazier though I take a picture with the phone’s camera. It’s not always crystal clear, but its clear enough for me to use as a reference when stuck for ideas.

    • Glyn

      @Tim…I guess it’s the ‘Virgo’ in me that makes me do this when clearly a ‘snap shot’ would be enough…lol 🙂

  3. kelley

    Glyn, I loved the video of the TIME mag shoot. I loved that he was using an 8X10 camera. And I really like Rudy Giuliani, and was happy to see a image that lifted him up… No pun intended. Good stuff.

    • Glyn

      @Kelley…Yeah I know you mean about Giuliani…a legend and exactly what NY needed during that terrible time.

      Best wishes to you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *