Single Image HDR Tip

Single Image HDR Tip

There are times when the opportunity does not exist for me to set up my tripod to make an HDR image as I usually do. This particular image was taken in Northern Maine while hand holding the camera. This tip is from a chapter in my full length HDR Tutorial, which will be available soon and it will discuss in detail from start to finish as how this image was processed.

This is a quick tip to give an example on how I process a single image.

Image Information:

  • Hand Held
  • 24-105 IS Canon Lens
  • 24mm
  • 1/30sec
  • f/22
  • Exp. Compensation: -1.67

Software Used:

  • Photoshop CS6
  • Photomatix Pro 4.2.3
    If you do not have Photomatix, I strongly recommend it!
    You can purchase Photomatix by following this Link and you can use: “TravelsInPhotography
    as the coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price!
  • NIK Define 2.0 (Noise Removal)
    I never process an image unless I use a noise removal after processing it in Photomatix
    You can purchase Define 2.0 by following this Link and you can use “TravelsInPhotography
    as the coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price.
  • NIK Color Efex Pro 4  (Use “TravelsInPhotography“) as your coupon code if you wish to purchase it.
  • Topaz Adjust, Use “TRAVELSINPHOTOGRAPHY” as your coupon code to save 15% off of the purchase price.

Before I bring my image or images into Photomatix I will open them in ACR (camera raw) and do some small noise removal and then save them as a TIFF file from ACR. I do this so when I am finished in Photomatix the file size will remain the same dimensions as the original camera raw file which I will bring back into Photoshop and use the originals as layers to bring out details that I feel are needed.

Here is my original file from ACR:

I only adjust the Noise Reduction by setting all options at 50%
I then save the file or all files as a TIFF as seen from the image below:


My next step is to open Photomatix and load the .TIFF image then select Tone Mapping. Below are the settings I used for this single image:

always try all of the sliders to achieve the look and feel you desire!  I always begin with the default setting unless one of my saved presets will work as a starting point.

I only use Photomatix as my starting point for my images. My average time on each image I process is usually about 3 hours. After saving the image I then open it with photoshop and run my noise reduction first.

This particular image had 43 layers using the plug-ins mentioned above and other layers for dodging, burning, levels, curves… etc…. I also have processed the original image through ACR and then use it as a layer to bring out some details I feel are needed.

Below is my final image:

I hope you find this tip useful and as I mentioned earlier, this is a chapter in my upcoming Tutorial on HDR Processing!


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