How to Overlay Two Photos in Photoshop

Written by jered slusher
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An overlay effect can turn a basic static photograph into a dynamic work of digital art. Sometimes you will have a photo of a landscape or background and a photo of a person or object and want to overlay the two images together. When you overlay the two images, a new single image emerges, combining the information from both photographs. Using Adobe Photoshop, you can overlay two photos and create a new hybrid image that will be unique and eye-catching.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Adobe Photoshop. Press and hold the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard and press the "O" key to launch the "Open" image dialogue window. Click the photo that you want to use. Hold the "Ctrl" key and click the second photo that you want to open. Click the "Open" button at the bottom right of the "Open" window.

  2. 2

    Press and hold the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard, then press the "J" key to create a new layer for your image. A new layer will appear in the layer palette called "Layer 1." Click "Image" in the top navigation menu and click "Apply Image..." on the drop-down menu.

  3. 3

    Click the "Source" drop-down menu and click on the second photograph that you want to overlay. Click the "Blending" drop-down menu and click "Overlay" to use the overlay effect. Scroll through the "Blending" menu and select different blending effects. Preview the effects on the image in the Photoshop workspace. Click "OK" to save your changes.

  4. 4

    Click "File" from the top navigation menu and select "Save As..." from the drop-down menu. Type "overlayed_file" in the "File name" field. Click the "Format" drop-down menu and click "JPEG" to save the file in a more common graphical format. Click the "Save" button. Click "OK" on the resulting "JPEG Options" window to save the file.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the photographs that you are overlaying are the exact same size.

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