HDR Post-Processing . Before and After Comparisons.
This page is designed to show how I post processed some of my photos. For this particular post- processing I am processing my photos in HDR.
I also want to point out that the way I post -process my photos is in no way, shape or form the way you should post process your photographs. With all the photography software out there, it's to your pick and choose.
As we know, photography is a personal form of expression, and it is important as individuals to find our own unique way of seeing the world, and to share that unique style with everyone. I cannot guarantee that your photos will come out the same.
Step 1: Bracketing your multiple exposures in Photomatix. The first step I to take is to take my multiple exposures of whatever scene or object that I captured, and bracket them together (usually three to five exposures) into my HDR software of choice.
For me I chose Photomatix essentials. This is the software that I am the most comfortably with.
For my personal preference I take the same single raw exposure and adjust that same exposure and create three separate exposures that way and save them as 16-bit TIFFS.
Normally one can manual adjust the exposure , or set the camera to auto bracketing which I do from time to time, but for this tutorial it will be the single raw exposure.
Below are three separate exposures of the Austin, Texas skyline from the same RAW file as seen from the newly opened boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake. ( -1/3, 0, +1/3)
This also includes the original raw photo which is the first photo that you will observe in this post-processing page.
Orginal Raw Photo
Plus (+) 1/3
The photos are now aligned and are ready to merge (tone map) them together in HDR. This is known in the HDR world as "Tone mapping".
I like to keep my photos as "natural" as possible. By adjusting the sliders in Photomatix to the default value of 70, it gives the bracket photograph a more natural effect. By moving the slider to the right (max value of 100), this gives the photo a more enhanced look. Every once and a while, I will adjust the strength slider to around 85-90 for more details in the photo, but overall I'm more a fan of a "natural" look . Once again this is a individual art of expression, which gives you the option of tone mapping to your particular preference.
In this photo the detail slider is adjusted to 88.
Step 2: Adobe Lightroom 5
The next step that I take is moving the already processed photo that I did in Photomatix, and importing it into Adobe Lightroom 5 (great software btw)..
So here are two Before and After photos of the Photomatix merged photo and final outcome that results into my vision.
Final Result: My Vison
As I previously stated, this is a individual creative art form. What I mean by that is you can chose from an array of different software (they are all great) to create your unique vision of how you see the world.
There is no wrong way (or steps) in post-processing your photos.
These are the steps that I chose. My duty as a professional photographer is to give back what knowledge that I find helpful for those out there who want to post-process better.
This page is also for those out there who see my work on a daily basis. As an added bonus, these steps take you straight from the camera to the finished post-processed photograph.