Sunday, June 12, 2011

Important Starting Points for HDR Images - and a Finishing Tip

I use both HDR Soft's Photomatix and Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro to create my HDR images. 

When I use Photomatix, I always start by adjusting the White Point and Black Point sliders. First, I move the sliders all the way to the left. Then, I move each slider to the right until I lose either Highlights (White Point slider) or Shadow detail (Black Point slider). Then, I move each slider back to the left just a bit.

The goal is not to lose Highlight or Shadow detail - which is the goal of HDR photography.

When using Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro, I first select a preset. Then, I adjust the Tone Compression slider. It's amazing what this simple slider can do . . . for you!

As a finishing tip... you'll find that your HDR image will probably need a bit of sharpening. I do that in Photoshop, using: Filter > Convert for Smart Filter > Unsharp Mask. Using this technique, you can sharpen selectively.

Whatever technique you use, sharpen selectively. For example, in the image below, there is no need to sharpen the sky.

You can get a discount on Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro by clicking here.

If you would like to see my latest HDR images (some below in a montage created by Dr. Dave Wilson), and learn more about HDR photography, check out my app, Rick Sammon's iHDR.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you are really into HDR, check out the Promote Controller. Makes bracketing images very, very simple.


Tom Baker said...

How did he do the montage? That's so cool!

Rick Sammon said...

hi tom.. i will ask dr. dave.

thank you,

Anonymous said...

very-very amazing ... i have little question sir :D .. what should be better, merging 3 photo or 5 photo in photomatx to create HDR ..... i really enjoy to learn HDR ...

Tom Baker said...

I'd say the answer to the 3 vs 5 photos is "depends on the photos." I find it is always cleaner to use the fewest number of shots that cover the entire synamic range of a scene. If there is very little synamic range - 1 shot is best. If you can do it in 3, then go for that. However if you're shooting into a sunrise (like I did this morning) you're looking at 9+ stops.

Rick Sammon said...

Tom.... from Dr. Dave


I used the ShapeCollage app, as described in "Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet" under Editing - Creative - Collage.

It's a really nice little Mac program.


Tom Baker said...

It just HAD to be a Mac program didn't it :)