In this blog entry I’ll finish sharing my current HDR workflow. In the first part of this series I talked about camera settings, using Lightroom to process a bracketed set of images, using Photoshop to merge the bracketed set into a 32 bit per channel HDR file and tone-mapping with Photoshop HDR Pro. If you haven’t read part 1 you can find it here.
This blog will share the remainder of my HDR workflow including how I tone-map images with Lightroom 4 and how I use layers (in Photoshop) to combine the best parts of two different versions of an image. I’ll also about some of the more technical details of HDR photography. I’ll be using the same F-4S Phantom II images I used in Part 1 for this entry including the 32 bit per channel .tiff file I saved after merging a three shot bracketed set with Photoshop.
The technique I’m sharing will work with any image but it will look a lot better with certain types of images. Interiors, old places, junk yards, sculpture gardens, churches and anything with lots of detail and texture always seem to look best when given the HDR treatment. I’ve had success using this technique on portraits and landscapes but I usually have to do some masking and more blending than I’ll be talking about in this blog series.
The Photoshop portion of this technique will work on any picture (including a jpg image). For the best possible results I like to start with a RAW file that’s been processed with a program like Lightroom. The most recent version of Lightroom (4.1) seems to really excel at creating images for this technique.