This tutorial will demonstrate you how to create high dynamic range (HDR) photos using Photoshop. High dynamic range photos are photos which has more tonal range than normal photos. Simply say that you will be able to see more color tones with this kind of photo.
Let’s learn about basic details.
1. Let’s take a look at this shot.
You can see that there is no detail in the shadow area but the highlight area has all detail. The typical photo looks like this.
2. Before going into details, I want to get you more detail how HDR is created. HDR can be done with several photography programs as Photoshop, Photomatrix, etc. The concept is to merge several exposure values into one photo; therefore, you need take photos with several exposures in order to get a lot of details from shadow to highlight.
– Set your camera firmly on a tripod.
– Take several photos with several exposures as -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 stop. You need at least three shots (under exposure, correct exposure, over exposure) in order to get good shadow and high light detail. For this example, I take a total of 5 shots.
Let’s go to Photoshop.
1. Go to File>Automate>Merge to HDR.
2. The pop up will be show and you need to select “Browse”.
3. Select photos and check the box “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Image”, then press OK.
4. Photoshop initially merge all photos for you. Your result will look like this.
5. On this example, you can see that there are two areas where color is not good due to merging.
6. I get rid of some exposure values (EV +3, EV0 and EV -1.32). This depends on your image. You may not need to do it or you may need to get rid of some like I do. You also can adjust brightness of this photo by sliding the bar located at the top right.
7. Change bit depth. There are 3 options which are 32 Bit/Channel, 16 Bit/Channel and 8 Bit/Channel. You need to select either 16 Bit/Channel or 8 Bit/Channel because they give you more options to adjust the final image. I select 16 Bit/Channel.
8. HDR conversion pop up will be shown. There are four methods for adjusting your image as Exposure and Gamma, Highlight Compression, Equalize Histogram and Local Adaption.
9. Exposure and Gamma is used to adjust brightness and contrast by sliding the Exposure and Gamma bar.
10. Highlight Compression- with this option, you are not able to change any parameters.
11. Equalize Histogram – with this option, you are not able to change any parameters as well.
12. Local Adaption – it is the best option and I recommend you to use it because it has a curve providing more flexibility to adjust brightness/contrast. Moreover, you can change Radius and Threshold as well. Try to play with this option until you feel satisfied with the result and then press OK.
13. This is the final result.