In this short quick tip we’ll take a look at the ways to creating HDR images in Photoshop.
High Dynamic Range, abbreviated HDR. is one of the many alternative photography techniques. HDR is a method used in photography to allow a greater range between the lightest and the darkest areas of an image. HDR-processed images represent real scenes’ intensity levels more accurately. To learn more about HDR, check out the Wikipedia page.
So, let’s see how we can create our own HDR images.
What you need
- A digital camera (can be Compact or DSLR) that is capable of (auto)bracketing
- Adobe Photoshop CS2 or above
Pick up your camera, go out there and take some photos with autobracketing or by doing it manually. Make sure you bring a camera stand (or tripod if you will) with you. If you don’t have a camera stand, you may want to put your camera to a solid surface while taking the photos.
The digital work
Start up Adobe Photoshop, and instead of opening the photos right away, go up to the File menu, choose Automate and pick “Merge to HDR Pro“.
In the popup window, click “Browse“, and select at least three of your bracketed photos. Hit “Open“, and they’ll appear in the list. Make sure that “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images” is checked. Click the “OK” button to start the automation process.
I’m going to be using my own, freshly-shot photos taken with my Fuji FinePix S7000 compact machine.
And here comes the creative/fun part. The big window that pops up offers you a bunch of options to really customize your HDR image. Over on the right you can see a lot of sliders and dropdowns.
Start at the top dropdown, Preset. In this list you can find a lot of pre-built HDR effects that you can further customize. My favorites are definitely the Surrealistic ones, although you can achieve astonishing effects with the Photo-realistic and Monochrome ones, too.
Try out the different ones in the list, and if you like one, don’t hit OK yet! Play around with the sliders and other options below. Check out the “Edge Glow” and “Tone and Detail” sections! Never miss the “Edge Smoothness” checkbox! See for yourself what the sliders do, try to create something super-cool. However you end up, the main aim is to have a unique image at the end of the process.
Hit “OK” in the bottom right corner to finish everything off.
So, this is how we can create HDR image in Adobe Photoshop. To learn more about HDR photography and for techniques and professional tips, I strongly encourage you to read the article on picturecorrect.com written by Tim Shields. Big respect to him for his great article!
Here are the images I’ve used for this tutorial.
And here are some end results using different techniques.
Have some great HDR images that you’ve created with the above technique? Share them with us!
See you next time!