Photoshop’s Auto Align Layers and Difference Blend Mode

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 8, 2015

Category: General

Couldn’t think of a more appropriate heading for this short post which is basically to show you how masking in Photoshop, I feel, is an essential skill for Photographers…


Ok so what do you do when you and your subject feel that you’ve totally nailed the shot (I’m not talking about the lighting here because that should be a given, it’s all about the expression) BUT when you’ve nearly finished your subject wants to change their hair? All good but they then still prefer the smile/expression from earlier shots?

Sometimes, and it is just sometimes, this is where a little Photoshop Magic in the form of Masking REALLY comes in handy:


Now when it comes to lining pictures up there’s a few ways you can do this…

Firstly there’s the Auto Align Layers function found in the Edit Menu (you just need to ensure that the layers you want to align are both active)


Then if this method doesn’t seem to work too well for you there’s Difference Blend Mode in the Layers Panel.

Simply change the Blend Mode of the upper most layer and you’ll see things start to go a little funky on screen. Then manually move, rotate the top layer until the image on screen is predominantly black; this then means that everything is pretty much lined up. When this is done, change the Blend Mode back to Normal and use a Layer Mask to paint bring in parts of the underlying layer or indeed hide parts of the upper most layer.


So there you go just a couple of methods you can use, should you need to, to get the shot both you and your subject are happy with. Of course the important thing with portraits is nailing that expression and here this was the case, however the subject just wanted the exact expression from an earlier picture.

Catch you next time,

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  1. J Rodgers

    pretty amazing that Glyn. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Cheers mate; glad you like it.

  2. rodrigounda

    very nice tip. thanks!

    • Glyn Dewis

      You’re welcome 😉

  3. Donald Ping

    Cool tip Glyn. Definitely gonna put this into my bag of technics. Thanks.

    • Glyn Dewis

      Nice one 😉

  4. Prasad Dusane

    ya nantar kay aste sir


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