Using Lightroom and Photoshop for Great HDR Images
I want this to become a really neat shot, and again I don't want to do it in the normal way. I don't want to use Aurora or any of these things, I want to use just Lightroom and Photoshop because I think they give us a very natural looking image. Some of the other programs do a good job but I think this is a great way, especially for landscape and everything else, to get a good image. So let's start out, here's our normal image, here's a darker one, and here's a brighter one. So let's select all three of those, let's go to photo, edit in, and merge to HDR pro in Photoshop. And we'll let the open up the images right here. Hopefully this won't take so long. In the old days, it took a long time. Alright. So when you get to HDR Pro in Photoshop, what you're gonna get is, you're gonna come to this right here. This is the standard view that you'll come to. It is horrible, okay? Adobe designed it, I don't know what they were thinking. If you use any of this stuff here, your images aren't going...
to look good. What you wanna do is change the mode from 16 bit to 32 bit. The next thing we have is remove ghosting here. If you have birds flying by, people walking in leaves blowing in the wind, something like this, any kind of movement, you're gonna wanna click this one. And I'm gonna click it because I have water here and there's probably some movement in there. So what it's gonna do is take my normal image, my middle one, and use that as a guide when it blends it all together so you don't get this artifacting that you normally would. Now we're gonna be doing this in Lightroom so I'd just click okay but if you didn't wanna use Lightroom, if you wanted to use Camera Raw, you could just click this button here, complete tone manning in Adobe Camera Raw and it'll take you in there and you can do all the same adjustments that I'm doing in Lightroom, and it'll save it as a smart object then in Photoshop. I use a Lightroom workflow, I like how this works, I like Lightroom, so that's the way we're gonna go. So we're just gonna say okay. So now there's our image in Photoshop. All we want to do, at this point is come up here, go file, save as, and come in here and let's give it a name. And we want, this is the important part, save it as a TIF. If you save it as a Photoshop or any other format it will not work you have to save it as a TIF. All you do then is say save and the TIF option window will open up. This right here is the other important part, you want to make sure 32 bit float is selected and also none for compression. Those two things, they have to be selected or again this will not work. Click okay and then just close Photoshop, we don't need that anymore. And we come over here and here is our image, let's go into develop now. And what we're gonna do is tone map this image using all the adjustments that we have in Lightroom that we use everyday. So again, like I say, every time I come in here, first thing I'm gonna do is go ahead and adjust some texture, some clarity. I think I'll probably dehaze this one just a little bit, not much. Vibrance though, I'm really gonna take up and in this case I'm gonna bring saturation up even though I know it's gonna warm it a little bit, this image can take it. So I'm gonna bring it up to about 48 or something like that. So there's our first part and that's looking really good to me. Now gonna go ahead and just set the white balance. I want this to be a little warmer, it was early in the morning it was kinda warm. So I want it up probably right about there. Maybe a little too much, bring it down a little bit. Alright and I'm gonna change the tint, I'm gonna add a little bit more magenta to it just a little bit, something like that, help this color right in here. So we have that done, I wanna now set my white balance and blacks, and you can see I do this all the time, I have a way of doing it, start one area and keep going. It makes it a whole lot easier when you're working on a lot of images. So let's hold down the black key, set that, that's black point set. White let's see where it wants. I don't want any clipping whatsoever so we're gonna stop right there, and now I have my two white points. Now the great thing about doing an HDR image here is I can really pump up my shadows and really bring that up quite a bit. To bring out all the stuff that's kinda hiding in there. So we're gonna bring this up to about, I don't know, how about 42 or something like that, right about there. Next we wanna go ahead and do our exposure. And I'm gonna bring it up just a little bit, I think it's still a little dark so I'm just bringing it up not even a quarter of a stop. So that's right around there, that's too much. I guess that is just a small adjustment. I'll get it yet. Alright, there we go, we got that. Now I want to darken my sky a bit, it's too light, we played around with it, so let's go ahead and come down here to hue saturation and what were gonna do is go to luminesce and we're gonna take our blue and just bring it down. Start bringing it down to where I like it. Something like that, that's looking pretty good. I also want to bring up my saturation probably in, well actually I wanna bring down a little bit here. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna hit the tat right here, and this gives us a little thing I'm gonna come right on the yellow and I can go ahead and adjust it just a little bit, and I mean just a little bit. That's looking good. I'm also gonna come down to my hues and change the color of my blue just a little bit. I find that when I darken it in Lightroom, the color seems to be a little off so I always bring the hue up just a little bit. So I like what's going on there. I want to come over here again though and get back up, say done, and I want to go and crop it. I do believe the 16 by nine is great, and I'm going to do the same here before we go any farther. And there we go, that looks a lot better. I think my contrast could use a little bit more too, it looks a little down, that's looking good. Add a little bit of contrast. And now I want these rocks up front. This is, if you didn't know, this is Mono Lake in California, in the Eastern Sierra, the Nevadas. It's a great place to photograph, there's some really cool stuff there, it's just outside of Yosemite. So it's a great place to go. So I'm gonna use my brush here, and double click to zero everything out and just bring my warmth up. Bring it up to something like that. And then I'm gonna go ahead, a little bit bigger brush, and this time I will select auto-mask cause I wanna try to keep it out of the sky. Actually I'm gonna take this up a lot more so you can see what's going on. You can see I'm just painting on the rocks here to get some warmth into them. Adjust the size of my brush a little bit. Go ahead and get those painted in. Bring it out here to the bottom, make sure that's painted. And I think even the rocks in the back need some help too so we're gonna paint it in there. Now this is over the top, so we're gonna bring it back down. And we just want a little bit of warmth, I don't want to go crazy. So I'm gonna just bring it something like that. If you wanna check it, take a look there. Alright so one last thing we need is we need our vignetting so let me close this and come down to effects and we're just gonna vignette the image. Every landscape shot should be vignetted. It just has to be. And let's see how that looks. That looks pretty good. Now I like what I've done in Lightroom. I like everything that's there. What I don't like is the fact that these sticks are sticking up in the water. So let's go ahead and bring this into Photoshop. So all we have to do is hit command E and say edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments, say edit. Now when we come in here, we're gonna go ahead and create a new layer. And what we wanna do is use the clone stamp tool, and we wanna make sure this right here is set to current and below for the starting point for sampling. So now I got this, I'm gonna get a smaller brush and I'm gonna hold the option key and get something close by and just take that out. And I won't use the same area, I'll kinda try to jump around so it doesn't look like we have cloning tracks all over the place. So it looks a little natural. There we go. And then I think what I'll do is I'll grab this little point right there on the rocks and bring it right there and just click that so it looks like it's supposed to be in there. Alright let's do the other stick. Go ahead and start cloning that out. Again, take things from different areas so it doesn't look like it's all the same area. I think we're okay here now. And I wanna grab this point here where the stick was and just kinda put it in there so it blends in. And just take out a little bit more there. I'd probably have to go through here and do some spotting and when I'm spotting here in Photoshop. I know I had a dirty censor so. Where is it? Alright, right there. I'd use the healing brush and hold the option or alt key and just paint right there and it goes away and that's how I'd spot the whole image. So then we have that. That's how I'd work on an HDR image. I think this is a much better way than a lot of programs. Like I said you're not gonna get any noise, you're gonna make it look natural. I really don't like the over HDR'd look. Some people do a great job at it, some people have made it their style. I'm not one of them, I want my architecture I want my landscapes, I want them to look real so I use this. I also use Aurora HDR which has some of my presets in it that I built for them. So anyway let's save this.