HDR How To: Working with Photoshop CS5 – Create HDR photos (Easy!)

This is the 3rd article in the Easy HDR tutorial series:

Photoshop CS5 for HDR

HDR photography sure looks impressive, but to make one might be easier than you think. You only need to have 3 photos of the same scene with different brightness (exposure value), and then combine the 3 using HDR software to create the final HDR-style image.

From the previous tutorial, you know how to take the 3 photos of different brightness needed.
Exposure bracketed shots for Thames River (Ontario)

Exposure bracketed shots with ISO 200 and F/7.1. Exposure time 1/1250 sec (EV -1), 1/640 sec (normal), 1/320 sec (EV +1)

Now, you want to turn this photo set into:

Thames River (Ontario) in HDR

Thames River (Ontario) in HDR

Let’s start!

1. Open Photoshop CS5

2. Open Mini Bridge, find your photo set, and select all three photos

3. Choose: Tools > Photoshop > Merge to HDR Pro

Merge to HDR

4. See the “preset” drop down menu in the top right? Check it out and play around with the presets, see which one you like. For my photo set, “more saturated” option looks good.

Preset

 

Here are some examples from the presets:

Various HDR with Dina sliders

5. Or, do you want to try my magic “Dina Sliders“?

    • Edge Glow: Radius 200 px, Strength 0.50
    • Tone and Detail: Gamma 0.80, Exposure 0.30 Detail 300%, Shadow 100 %, Highlight -100%
    • Color: Vibrance 40%, Saturation 30%
    • Curve: Make it slightly curvy like a mild “S”
    • Remove ghost (on top): try on and off. See which one you like.

Dina Sliders

6. If you are not satisfied with the preexisting presets, choose the closest one, and play around with the adjustment sliders. Later on in a more advanced tutorial, I’ll explain to you what those sliders are for exactly.

7. Happy with the appearance? Click OK button in the bottom right.

8. Now the resulted HDR picture will appear in the regular photoshop window. To actually save your HDR picture, make sure you hit the save as button!! You can save it as jpg file (or else if you wish).

And… DONE!

Advance tips:

  • Play around with the parameter sliders to optimize the HDR result
  • Do you like your new parameters ans want to keep it to create your next HDR images? You can save it!
save preset

Saving and loading preset

  • Play around with EV +2 and EV -2 files as well
  • Once saved as jpg file, open your picture as camera raw file, and you can enhance it further

Easy, right? Now, have fun creating your own amazing HDR photograph!

Thames River (Ontario) in HDR - Before and After

Before and After

Check out other articles in the Easy HDR tutorial series:

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