Create an HDR image using Photoshop (and Lightroom)

©2008 Ben Willmore

©2008 Ben Willmore

My son recently asked me how to create an HDR image in Photoshop. I hated to admit it but I hadn’t tried it yet. It’s been on my list of techniques to experiment with for a while but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Setting aside the excuses, I went digging and found some really good tutorials on this subject. I liked Colin Smith’s Merging HDR in Photoshop. Mark Galer has a good one too, called HDR – High Dynamic Range. There’s also a video by him (I think) called Merge to HDR in Photoshop CS3 High Dynamic Range. He uses different imagery than in the html version. If you want a different video tutorial, try the one on Adobe TV called Merge it Together. Ben Willmore’s quickie YouTube videos Part 1 and Part 2 are teasers for his HDR Mastery DVD ($69).

A video from Michael Rather advises how to set up and manage your shots in Lightroom for an HDR outcome. The last half of this video tells how to fake the different exposures from a single shot. The problem is that Photoshop doesn’t really work well with this and it requires you to purchase a separate piece of software for HDR processing. Michael also has a 28-minute video on how to create HDR images in Photoshop. (This is only part 1 and he mentions that he’ll have another video on how to shoot for HDR in about one week.)

One of the extras you’ll need to create HDR shots is a tripod. I recently asked Moose Peterson to recommend a good tripod for an amateur photographer like me. I told him that I’m not an equipment geek and I like to travel light. He recommended anything in the 2000-3000 series from this company. Wow! They are pricey, but he says they are worth it. I’ll be taking his upcoming photo safari workshop at Photoshop World in Las Vegas. Should I buy the tripod?

17 thoughts on “Create an HDR image using Photoshop (and Lightroom)

  1. My first time here. I’ve yet to try out HDR even thought I’ve read much about it. I guess I need to find the time to do it! Thanks for the few websites you mentioned out for HDR tutorials. Will be back for more. Thanks again!

  2. If photomatix is expensive $49 is better, how about Free!!! I found this a while back and really love it. You can use this program to do just about the same thing here, and combined with gimp, your all set for free!!!
    Check It out here

    otherwise good tutorial!

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