A Beginner's Guide to HDR

I've just come accross this simplified HDR processing method

Using PCS6 I opened 3 bracketed shots in it's "Merge to HDR Pro", when that opened I chose 32 bit mode, all the sliders dissappeared and I clicked ok which processed the image back into Photoshop, where I saved it as a 32 bit Tiff file.

I Imported that into Lightroom and processed it as follows, Highlights all the way down, Shadows all the way up, clarity all the way up,

Thats all there is to this method!

I then chose to edit it back in photoshop where all I gave it was a Saturation of 15 and a vibrance of 12 for some colour pop. Thats all the following photo has had...not even any contrast or sharpening.


Whole process, around 3 mins..

It does not work with all bracket sets and you do need to have lightroom 4 as previous versions do not support 32bit processing.

BUT, if you open the 32bit tiff file into Photoshops camera raw you will get a much better result anyway, so from either Bridge or Lightroom click to edit in camera raw, or from Photoshop click "File/Open As" select your 32bit tiff file, then in the drop down underneath that select "camera raw" then your file will open in camera raw for editing....you'll have a full ten stops of exposure range in there...it's very impressive!

Merge to HDR in PS does not come remotely close to the quality you can get out of Photomatix. And this is coming from a huge Adobe / Photoshop fan. HRD is just not a strong suite of PS. Just my .02
Yes I agree, merge to HDR's tome mapping is quite awful, hence why this new technique is so good as it merges only and to a 32 bit tiff, for later editing in camera raw. Your doing the tone mapping in camera raw at 32bit info level, with all the flexibility and editing ability camera raw offers, greater scope than Photomatix here. But not for all bracket sets. Have you tried the above Hugh?

I also noticed with HDR efex pro that you must manually select the EV spacing before the expsoures are aligned. Photomatix and Merge to HDR Pro automatically sorted the EV spacing.

I use Nik's HRD efex pro, and it always seems to be able to get the EV from the exif data in the raw file.
Hi, my name is Alexandra, and I’m trying to learn more about what problems run across beginners with DSLR.
Can you take 5 minutes to answer this seven questions survey? For beginners Survey

I appreciate your time, and I’m happy to return the favor however I can!


Alexandra Kalinichenko
Hey, Alexandra, welcome! You might get a better cross-section of respondents by posting this in the beginner's forum. Send a note to a mod to ask one of them to move this thread.
Might be if that wasn't the exact same message she's posted in three different threads now.

Nice tutorial though, I've only just come across it.

I've been getting better results recently blending exposures manually using luminocity masks in photoshop. But I'll have a look at photomatix

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