Ghent : the power of Time-Blending

Many of you probably have no idea what time blending is.  Time-blending is a technique created by Elia Locardi. It consists of blending a picture taken just after sunrise/sunset with one taken during the blue hour.  This powerful technique allows you to bring more light into a dark foreground while creating a visually impacting image.

For example, here is a before and after of a picture taken during a private workshop in Ghent (Belgium).


As you can see, I was able to recover a lot of details and color into the foreground.  To achieve this result, it is important to get the composition right: you need to be facing the sunset or sunrise. After all, you won’t be able to change the composition once you’ve started. Since this was a sunrise shot, I had to first take the blue hour shot and after the sunrise shot.  During the time in between the two shots, your camera needs to stay perfectly still to be able to achieve a seamless blend.

For this picture, I used five different shots.  One for the foreground, another one to remove the people, one for the sky and two for the city light (one of them was used to recover blown out highlights).

I adjusted the raw files in Lightroom to make the blend in Photoshop easier.  Remember, the main goal here is to make the different exposures match.

In this video, you will be able to see how I used Time-blending to reveal the foreground while maintaining the beautiful pink sky.


Here is the final result after blending and retouching the picture in Photoshop.  By using time-blending, I was able to create a unique look to this famous view of Ghent. Upon mastering this skill, you will be able to create stunning images that only a few people have.  It also gives you the ability to show something that is usually invisible.

If you would like to learn this technique and many others, join me for on field instructions or online post-processing classes.

Sunrise at ghent

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