5 Reasons to use Luminosity Masks in all your Processing

5 Reasons to use Luminosity Masks in all your Processing

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Since I started editing my first images the main goal was always to make targeted and selective edits in my images. At first time I relied on third-party software for post processing, so I enjoyed their HDR tone mapping features to edit all my landscapes and cityscapes with good results

Over the years I realized that the tone mapping process and the presets I used were too limited and that to improve the image quality and my post processing I needed to do more, that’s how I discovered luminosity masks. In the following article we will talk about how this become over the years my main post processing method

1. Image Quality

Going back to the introduction, the HDR images were always too saturated or too noisy due to artificial and confusing processing that affect image quality

With luminosity masks instead you will work only on the raw file and you will only affect the values you want. The result will be a high quality image with the ability to manage lights, shadows and details like an HDR

2. Full Control of Editing

With luminosity masks you decide which area of ​​the image want to affect and on which image work, by selectively deciding the various points of the shot. With third-party filters and softwares you cannot always decide how and in which points to work your photo

3. Digital Blending

If you use luminosity masks and you capture bracketed shots you can easily digital blend your shots into a single perfectly balanced image. Personally, during my processing I edit almost all my images in this way because it gives you a great control of all processing. By selecting the appropriate luminosity mask and by choosing the opacity of your tool the precision of the changes you can make are awesome

For example in the image below, I used digital blending only to take advantage of the details and colors of the sky of the darkest exposure. To make this I used a brush with a 50% opacity to benefit only of information from the sky I need without making it too dark

4. Choice the Mask for your Needs

The selections made through the luminosity masks are specific, moving through the selection of masks is like choosing an area from the smallest to the largest for that type. Whenever shooting in high contrast situations (such as in the same direction of the sun) selecting the specific area of ​​light to decrease or shadows to increase becomes a great help

5. Speed up Processing

Since I use luminosity masks, the time spent editing images has been significantly reduced. Digitally blending images with luminosity masks is quick and easy, imagine doing the same job manually by selecting each area manually before blending it… it will take a long time

In the past I’d upload brackets in Photoshop and play with some sliders on the whole image, wasting a lot of time to adjust contrasts, lights and shadows always different

Now my processing is fast and fun and mainly consists of painting or applying some filters to the various exposures. At the end of the process I feel a sense of achievement to give to the image my desired design


Luminosity masks aren’t for everyone. They take a little time to understand and learn about it. They’re certainly more difficult to master than third part software and filters, but I assure you that once you master them you will never be able to go back. In my opinion, regardless of the quality of the third party software, nothing can give you control back than digital blending using luminosity masks

If you don’t know where to start, I have created a specific course on luminosity masks where you will get all the tools to start working using them and with pratice become a master

My free Luminosity Masks Resource

I created a panel to easily launch and select luminosity masks, the panel is the TTS Fast Panel and it’s completely free. With this panel you can manage the luminosity masks like a pro and benefit of some filters created by me and that I use very much in my processing

Don’t forget to give me a feedback about it in comments

How to Dodge and Burn using Luminosity Masks

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Dodge and Burn is a very used technique in photoshop, it allows you to emphasize some of the main elements a image focusing on some points of it. Dodge and burn is mainly use to guide the viewer’s eye to the leading lines. Some time ago I wrote an article about this technique called Dodge and Burn 2 non destructive techniques compared where I talked about how to create the effect without any risk to make any damage to your image

Among the methods illustrated to create dodge and burn there  is the use of a 50% gray  layer and to use separate layers, both are efficient methods but they apply globally to the image. The risk is to apply the effect where is not needed, for this reason the application of luminosity masks into the dodge and burn layer is the key

In the video below I explain how to dodge and burn using luminosity masks. If you do not know how to create luminosity masks I invite you to download my free panel where you can create luminosity masks and launch some very useful effects including dodge and burn

I hope you find all this useful. I always love to ear this from you!


The Hidden Beach 2

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Second shot from the last location of the golfo norte, for this photo I moved to a spot more sheltered by currents to be able to use longer exposure times

The wind and the currents that day were very strong and to avoid the movements of the tripod I had to try to stay away from the water. For this location I can definitely feel to suggest medium focal lenses and very stable stands to avoid having contact with the water and having microscopes on the photos



I take a single exposure for this shot so my editing this time was not a blending, nevertheless I used the same luminosity masks applied to levels and curves to lighten and darken some parts of the frame. With dodge and burn I lightened some part of the rocks and on the water, than I added details and sharpen using TTS Fast Panel 

I used a mild yellow filter to give more heat to the picture and I raised the saturation, I liked in this case the vibrant colors, I applied an orton effect and reduced the brightness in some areas of the sky

As alway hope you will find this usefull



Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 17mm)

Single Exposure

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

The Way of Angels

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Giuseppe Sapori - The Way of Angels


So here I am again to photograph my city and definitely one of my favorite spots, Castel Sant’Angelo and its magnificent bridge, this is a wonderful location wherever you decide to photograph it from the banks of the river or the main bridge like in this case. The only small detail is that Ponte Sant’Angelo is full of tourists from all around the world, that cross up and down for photograph the castle in in each pose, 365 days in the year! Take a picture here without people is very difficult, but it could be much easier during sunrises or as in my case with a very gloomy day and a good nd filter 🙂

The day I decide to go to shoot Castel Sant’Angelo from the bridge it was near sunset in the evening on a day where it threatened rain all day (an element not to be underestimated because there is less people around tourist attractions) I used a nd1000 (I needed the most imaginable stop) to erase the dozens of people who continually passing in front of my camera… on 10/15 shots I made about only 2 photos came without too many people, and together with, in addition that a good deal of the clone stamp I have so been able to use to compose my final image 🙂



I selected 5 pictures of all my shots between some with less people in the bridge and others with cool sky colours, lights ecc, I blended the image togheder using luminosity masks and gradiend tool. I remove some remaining people ghost using clone stamp tool, then I launched dodge and burn to fix some lights and shadows in the bridge. I correct the color cast in the frame and removed the orange effect of it increasing yellows

With TTS Fast Panel I increased details and launched orton effect. I also increased contrast in the picture reducing a bit the exposure. The last step was to fix contrast and highlights using luminosity masks applied to curves adjustment layer and by creating a small vignetting to the image



Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Different Exposures

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel


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Here we are in the new year with views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. This picture is part of the images that I made last October during my trip on the place. I took this picture in the late afternoon after a long time under the Tre Cime waiting the best light. I realize this final image after different series of exposures including one where I put a finger in front of the lens to remove the lens flare that reverberated in the image 🙂

I was with a D90 rent by a friend and I made five bracketed exposures using before a bkt series (-1, 0, +1) and then a (-2, 0, +2) because the menu of  D90 will not take us longer than three bracketed exposures. However I was in the past a possessor of Nikon D90 and I not remember about it, D90 has proven a great camera, it has done a great job 🙂



I started as usual with the digital blending of the images using the luminosity masks, starting from the over exposed  that I gradually darkened on the foreground and the sky, I repeated the same thing for the other series of exposures made by placing the finger in front the sun to avoid lens flare. So I created two final images taken with a digital blending, one with the sun and one with my finger placed in front of it. I used this last to remove all reflections from the main picture having an image from the sunlight clean without reflections

I flatten all levels and started editing the picture mainly using camera raw, I lowered  the exposure, highlights and lights. With my panel I launched the luminosity masks and applied contrast using midtones 3 applied to curves and soft light. I launched the dodge and burn with whom I dodge some points of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo as areas illuminated by the sun in the foreground.

I launched the effects high details and sharpen to increase detail and sharpness. As a finishing touch I still got up the contrasts using the levels adjustment layer and created a small vignetting to enhance the viewer’s vision depth. I hope you find this information useful, if you have any tips, questions or advices leave a comment I am always proud to hear you



Camera: Nikon D-90

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Six Exposures (-1; 0; +1) (-2; 0; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/10

Software: Photoshop CC2017

Extensions: TTS Fast Panel

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Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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