High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a new and popular trend in photography now that doesn’t appear to be disappearing anytime soon. People are attracted to it’s surreal and magical qualities which set it apart from normal photography. Shadows are brought into the light, and blown highlights are recovered – bringing much more detail and vibrance to HDR photos. There are an abundance of tutorials out there, almost too many, so we’ve sifted through them and picked out what we believe are five of the most interesting and useful ones. If you’re looking to get your feet wet in HDR photography, dive in to these tutorials!
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HDR PHOTOGRAPHY by Trey Ratcliff | Stuck in Customs
I guess it’s most appropriate to start with perhaps the most famous tutorial of all. Ratcliff writes in an easy straightforward manner, and has gained accolades across the spectrum, including major media like CNN, NYTimes, etc. He writes about both Photoshop and Photomatix. Stay tuned for a video interview featuring Trey on our blog soon!
HDR Style Results Using Layers in Photoshop by Nathan Pask
Many people may not have the inclination or gear to take multiple exposures or invest in Photomatix, but that doesn’t mean HDR is unattainable. This tutorial looks at how to take a single JPEG image and use layers to apply HDR qualities, resulting in a pleasing HDR-like image. Here’s another more gritty style HDR method using a single image in Photoshop, and another one for Photomatix.
A Plea for HDR by Alexandre Buisse
Luminous Landscape writes quality essays on a variety of topics, and this one is no exception, emphasizing the subtle variety of HDR. Touching on the more theoretical side of things, they examine what HDR is, what you need, what to avoid, and more. It’s not the most detailed tutorial out there, but a useful read nonetheless.
Merging HDR in Photoshop by Photoshop Cafe
If you’re going beyond single images and are shooting bracketed exposures, which you should be if you want the best HDR results, Photoshop has a nifty feature called “Merge to HDR” which is pretty simple to use. That being said, the best results require some knowledge, and this tutorial provides it, with a touch of Photomatix tips at the end.
This is probably one of the most thorough HDR tutorials on the net, covering both Photoshop and Photomatix. It also delves into the science and numbers behind HDR photography. It was written by a landscape photographer, and results in natural, realistic looking imagery.
Photomatix Tutorial by Before the Coffee
HDR Photography by Cambridge in Colour
The beginner’s guide to HDR – The 23x blog
I’m personally not the biggest fan of HDR photography, but here is a shot from my balcony where I used layers in Photoshop to achieve an HDR-like effect: