Creators have been dazzling social media feeds lately with dreamy composite images. These surreal pictures have everything you need to stop the scroll, then rake in likes and shares.

A composite image is made by combining two or more images to create a compelling picture. The real magic comes from juxtaposing unlikely images so well that it almost looks real. Composite image aren't meant to be deceptive. This is no easy task, but when it happens, the results are astonishing. The images below by surreal photographer Erik Johansson perfectly capture this sentiment.

Photography by Erik Johansson

Popular composite images are dreamy landscapes, day to night photos, and surreal portraits. In this article, I'm sharing a beginner-friendly approach for making composite images. All you need is a device with a browser and vision in mind. Let's get started!

  1. Upload images to Kapwing
  2. Combine images
  3. Edit the image
  4. Export and download

Step One: Upload Images to Kapwing

I'm using Kapwing, a browser-based video editor to create my composite image. You can use Kapwing for free on any iPhone, Android, PC, or tablet. I recommend using a PC for this tutorial. Head over to Kapwing and click start editing to open the Studio.

screenshot of Kapwing

Step Two: Combine Images

Now it's time to start blending the images. You can drag and drop pictures from your device, click upload at the top left corner of the Studio, and paste an image URL. If you're still looking for the right picture, click plugins and browse Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixablay. I found both pictures for my composite image from Unsplash.

screenshot showing how to open the plugins in Kapwing

Choose an output size under canvas to change the background size or click custom to add your own width and height. Click the image you want as the background, then click backward to put it behind the other photo.

screenshot of Kapwing Studio with an arrow pointing to the backward feature

To blend the topmost layer, click adjust and move the circle to the left to lower the opacity. You can adjust other settings as well such as the brightness, saturation, and contrast. Continue layering pictures and adjusting the opacity until you're happy with how the images are blending.

screenshot showing how to lower the opacity of a picture in Kapwing Studio

Step Three: Edit the Image

Now that the images have been combined, it's time to add a few details to bring the composite photo to life. You can search for transparent images, by clicking images, then image search or use the erase tool to remove the background. If you use the image search feature, try adding "png" to your query to find pictures with a transparent background. Get as creative as you want while searching for images to add to your picture!

screenshot showing how to remove the background from a picture

To build out my fantasy composite photo, I added some unlikely animals to my picture. An elephant, giraffe, and an inflatable flamingo aren't exactly what you imagine seeing while long-boarding.

screenshot showing a composite image

Step Four: Export and Download

When you're happy with the final results, click export image at the top of the Studio. After the image has been processed, click download or create a free Kapwing account to remove the watermark before saving the image.  You can edit your photo for up to two days after you create an account.

screenshot of how to export an image in Kapwing

If you share your composite image on Instagram, make sure to follow and tag us @kapwingapp. Feel free to reach out with feedback and questions on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tutorials.

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