It’s been a while since my last post, for that I am sorry.
But this post has been worth the wait I hope.
This is going to be a tutorial on my HDR workflow.
Last weekend I went for a walk in my hometown. This is a old backyard.
Here is where I start, 3 exposures. First one 2 stops underexposed, second one normal, third one 2 stops overexposed. I almost always shoot this way, even if it doesn’t seems like a HDR situation. Better to have them and throw them away then not having them when needed. This is the three I picked in a set about 10 different compositions I took. Here I like the stones in the bottom, the stone path leading to the door. I also like the framing of the whole photo.
After selecting these three pic’s I threw them in to Photomatix Pro that merges the three exposures in to one. First of all I press the default version (Photomatix always remembers the last HDR setting) so you have a starting point. I know that +Trey Ratcliff uses his presets as startingpoints but this way works good for me.
Ok, let the magic begin :-)
I always use, align and remove CA.
Once inside Photomatix, always start by clicking the default option top right side. Photomatix has a memory of an elephant so the the settings from the last processed picture is the preset.
Ok, let the fun begin I usually press the strength, color saturation and detail contrast very much to the right. In this picture though, the color saturation made the whole pic much to red.
Once I'm happy I press process. This is not the final image.
Now I look at the result and thinking about what more is needed.
I think it needs some more structure in the middle and a bit brighter framing.
First I take the normal exposed photo and play with it in Lightroom, concentrating on the middle part of the image.
Then I take the overexposed image, play with it in Lightroom concentrating on the red frame.
After this is done I take the three versions (the Photomatix one and the two I've played with in Lightroom) and open them in photoshop as layers.
Aligning them, put the Photomatix one on top and create a layer-mask and with a soft big brush on about 30% flow I paint in what I like from the layer beneath in this case the brighter framing one. Merge those two, create a new layer-mask and paint in what I like from the more contrasty one. Again merge. (sorry I forgot to "print screen" while I was in Photoshop)
When this is done I usually use a filter called Nik Efex Pro 4, there I play with some settings. Remember that you are going to do the same process in photoshop again, painting in the effects you like with a layer-mask and probably not at 100%.
This is the final version.
Hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and enjoy your weekend