I am by no means an HDR expert, but as far as I know, there are two main ways to go about processing photos in a way that showcases a high dynamic range:

Tone Mapping and Exposure Blending.

I’ve have had fun playing with Tone Mapping in programs like Photomatix and Lightroom. Sometimes I would get great results. And sometimes I wouldn’t. I never knew if what I was doing would turn out good or bad though. It was kinda haphazard.

Here’s one embarrassing example. The program evidently didn’t know what to do with the multiple exposures I had taken for this merge:

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Then I learned about Exposure Blending.

So I tired that! Sometimes I would get great results. And sometimes I wouldn’t. Same thing. I never knew if what I was doing would turn out good or bad. Again, it was haphazard.

And I never took the time to really figure either out.

Then, this question comes along on the forums:

How do you edit your HDRs to look realistic? I love the idea behind HDRs – actually being able to properly expose for beautiful sunsets, sunrises etc and the foreground elements, too. But, the thing I don’t like about HDRs is that often they look very unrealistic. But all don’t, some look really amazing! So, I’m wondering how folks go about editing to make them actually look realistic?

I wasn’t sure how to reply.

Yes, I knew a little about HDR processing. And yes, I could tell her what I knew. But I didn’t want to point her in the wrong direction….if what I knew about HDR was not giving me good results consistently, then why would I want to point her in that direction?

No, I didn’t have a good answer for her.

So I just pointed her to where I figured she could find a good answer:

You know, @creative-click-photography, this is something I would have to do a little more research on. Perhaps we could do a coaching call about it? For starters, I would learn what you can from Jimmy McIntyre’s free videos (I can’t remember seeing anything inappropriate on his website or YouTube channel) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnUOWBfHNpdQjhTPSd3-0cw….

I suggested doing a coaching call because I knew that if she signed up for that, it would force me to research the subject until I had found an answer that I could be confident in sharing.

And the coaching call is exactly what she signed up for!

So I’ve been doing some research on this subject.

And the coaching call is tonight!

I don’t know how it will go….I still know so little about HDR processing. But now I’ve at least taken some time to try and figure it out. If nothing else, Caitlin will have a good first step to take by the end of the webinar….and I’m confident it will be in the right direction.

And how do I know it’s in the right direction?

Because I have finally begun to see some consistent results now….

My brother is into real estate photography. He goes and shoots the houses. I edit the pictures. And here’s something he took yesterday, a perfect situation for a simple exposure blend:

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181031_JS-073940

It wasn’t long ago that I would have had no idea how to approach this merge!

However, thankfully, today it was pretty easy to pull together:

181031_JS-073940-Edit

Having a simple exposure blending method that provides consistent results is only a start. But it’s a good start! And consistent results make that simple method worth sharing.

To learn more about how this simple, yet effective blending method works, feel free to join us in the next Lenspiration live webinar! Click here for more details.

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