HDR Demo for Landscape Photographers
We know that most of the time I'm just gonna edit one photo. Right, rarely am I going to bring more than one photo together. But I do wanna demo one of the things that you can do to kind of bring everything together. It's called HDR, Lightroom, Lightroom 6/Lightroom CC actually has it built in where it'll do HDR for you. So before Lightroom 6, you couldn't, you couldn't actually do HDR inside of it, you had to go to another program. I had to use Photoshop, but the newer version of Lightroom will actually take all these different versions of the photo and merge them together, okay. So I'm gonna do just that, I'm gonna go select each one. I could regret this, I'm gonna, I'm just gonna select every other one, because the one thing does take a long time. (laughs) So I could regret selecting five, I could regret selecting three photos. But you go on over here to Photo Merge, HDR, What it's gonna do is kinda do what we did before. The shadows, the highlights, kinda matching all that together...
, that's pretty much what it's gonna do. I wanna show you at least what it can do because I think it's, you have to know its limitations. Again, there's gonna be times where maybe you can't get what you want out of one photo, but if you have another photo, you can merge those two together. And you don't always need to jump to Photoshop to do layers and all that stuff to do it. But, in about five to 10 minutes, it'll generate that preview, it's actually usually fast at generating the preview. Talk amongst yourselves, grab a drink of water. So there we go, all right, so remember that preview we just waited oh so long for? That's it, right, this doesn't actually start to change until it's actually merged everything together, so I'm gonna go, I'm gonna hit the Merge button right now, and let's merge it together. I kinda went past it, common question, like what happens if there was a plane flying through this? You can see, there's the contrails in there, those are always fun. I think the FAA actually has a geotracker on me, and they reroute planes, like I could be out in Utah, and they'll reroute a plane from New York to Miami just to get the trails out there, but, if you had something that was going across the photo, that's ghosting, and one of the things that you can do is it's got deghosting settings in there. So it'll try to reduce that for you.
So just a general approach to HDR, A lot in the online or magazines talk about the dangers and pitfalls of it, how you can overdo it, can you talk a little bit about, I know a lot of it's gut, but what's technical that you can scale back from making your pictures look overblown or cheesy?
Yeah, so to me, HDR is the effect, alright. HDR is that surreal Harry Potter kind of type of a look, to me that's what it is. HDR has a very technical definition, which is what we're doing here, and Lightroom will give you that, which, by the way, it's done, it's converted this into one photo here. The reason why I wanted to show you this is because, look at the exposure slider here. I can take this all the way to black, all the way to white, there's like a crazy amount of detail and range in what we did here. So, okay, I can go as much or as little as I want with this stuff, that's what Lightroom does. Lightroom's gonna give you the official HDR version of your photo. To me, that's not why I do HDR, alright. You've seen throughout the editing process so far. We don't really need it on most photos, you know. If I wanted to, I could have grabbed this photo, I could have brought back the highlights, look, there's lots of detail there, I could open up the shadows, plenty of detail there. So we don't need it, so Lightroom just gives you the official, you know, tonal range for it. To me, it's really about the effects. And Lightroom's not gonna do that for you. So that's, you know, the plugins, you see Photomatix out there, HDR Efex Pro, different ones like that, those programs will let you get that effect, that surreal, edgy, glowing type of a look. Some people like it, some people don't like it, you hear about it being overdone all the time, but I'll tell you this much. You wanna try something, go home and take a photo and just crank the HDR settings on it up. Everything, any, everything gaudy setting you can possibly find on it, crank it up, and then, do the one, whoa, I'm a photographer, this has to be real, and get your highlights, get your shadows the way that they should be. Show that photo to a family member and I bet you nine out of 10 of them are gonna pick the cranked-up HDR one. It's just, that's just how it happens, I mean, it's just that, that's just what people like, you know. So, same thing with saturation, you know. Get your own style and just be comfortable with it. Because it's your style, get, render the scene as you saw it, and if you see the world as saturated, then render the scene as saturated. Another photographer's gonna look at it and say, those skies are oversaturated, there's no way they were that blue. Show it to everybody else in the world, and they love it, you know, I mean, it's just, it's the way that it works. So if you see the world as black and white, convert them all to black and white. So, hopefully that helps, all right. So there's the merged photo inside of Lightroom. Y'know, I can't do a landscape day without showing you HDR. I'm probably not gonna do it again today. All right, unless I absolutely have to, I'm never gonna move to merge more than one photo together. If I just can't get it in one photo, then I will. But you'll see a couple instances, of that today, but for the most part, we're gonna stick with just working with one photo. But we do have just silly amounts of range in this photo by converting it. Talk a little bit about exposure here. Let's go down and get back to our basics. I'm gonna run you through another photo here. All right, so let's introduce a couple more techniques into the photo. I'm gonna go through the basics really quick, and make it a little bit warmer, this I can open up the exposure a little bit more. All right, it's a give and take. I know I'm gonna have to pull back that sky, but that's okay, you know, I know that I'm gonna do it, probably not gonna do it too much with the highlights, I'll bring that back just a hair, and open up some of the shadowy areas, do our whites and our blacks. Get our white point and get our black point here. A little bit more warmth, let's go to the graduated filter, a little bit too bright. Let's go to the graduated filter and probably easiest thing to do is just hit a couple of different versions here. Probably just one stop will do it quite often. Can always move it around too. And you can see it's already added a little bit of blue back into the sky to kind of take care of the warmth that we had there. So we can close that up. Let's resharpen, so we can go back here to do a little bit of sharpening. Remember, you gotta be zoomed into 100%. What do I zoom in on, most of the time, I'm gonna zoom in on the foreground, all right. So, up here is gonna be, that's where your eye is gonna be drawn in the photo, so I'm gonna zoom in, way in, hold on a second. There we go, there, if you don't know how to zoom in Lightroom, the easy thing to do is, in your navigator, right over here, you'll see FIT, FILL, 1:1, and then 3:1. So 1:1 is 100%, so that gets me into 100%, and, again, formula, crank up the amount, radius, put it at 1.4, and punch up your detail a little bit there. So I can get everything nice and sharp in the foreground, and then we'll just go and throw, here's a good example. If I just throw a vignette on here, that's, I don't necessarily want to just draw attention right into the middle, so what I'll do is, I'll go through some of the, some of the sky presets. And, oh, where are they, and I've got the vignette, and I'll just click through Light, Medium, or Top Left, which is kind of what I want. It's a little too dark, so maybe we'll just go back to the vignette. And then if it ever looks too dark, I mentioned it before, all they do is just access these tools up here. All right, so I used the radial filter for that, you can see, that's my little spotlight. And just drag that around and I can pull back. Just move it around, okay. All right, so what's the extra here? To me, the extra is kind of the next step. What do you want to draw people's attention to in the photo? All right, this is, to me this is crucial, as we're shooting outdoors, again, nobody, your camera didn't capture what you saw. Beyond that, nobody's gonna feel what you saw unless you show 'em, right? You aren't standing here, you don't know what the breeze felt like, you don't know what the water felt like, you don't know if it was cold, you don't know if it was warm, you don't know what was catching my attention. All right, I know what was catching my attention. But you guys don't, 'cause you weren't standing there. You, something else could totally be catching your attention in the photo. So I know, for me, you know, this, kind of up here, is the highlight of the photo. So that's when I move to the brush, all right. This is where we kind of get a little bit more creative with it, so we can increase the exposure and just paint a little bit on some of the parts that we wanna draw attention to. It's probably too bright, so I just bring it back. But to me, this is kind of the area I want you to look at, maybe even a little bit right up here. But this is the area I want you to look at. Okay, so I can move that exposure around, I can add a little bit of warmth to it, kind of just warm it up a little bit. I can even add some clarity, I'll add a little bit of contrast back into it as well. And then, overall, once I'm done with that, here, let me show you the before and after. Every one of those little graph filter and radial filters up there, they have a toggle switch, so that'll show you before and then after. So before, and then after, so we'll close that up. Overall, as I look at the photo, I could probably stand to brighten it just a hair more. So we'll just increase that, okay. So let's take a look, backslash key, so that's before, that's after, before, after, big change. Right, and hopefully, you know, as you look at this you guys have all shot stuff like this. That's what your camera saw, right? I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't cheat. It wouldn't have been much different if I used a graduated filter, wouldn't have been, I used a polarizing filter on it, would, yeah, I mean, that's what the camera sees, this is what, this is what we come back with, and it's just hard for your camera to capture everything that you kind of saw in the scene when you were there, so. Before, after, okay, so we're about wrapping up with this segment,
Yeah, let's see, do we have any questions here? Not yet, well, we have a bunch from online, so this is good. Most every time I bring out the shadows like you did, it introduces a lot of noise. Using the noise reduction super-softens the details, how do you address that?
I'm gonna show it later, but if that happens, what I would say is, step number one, if you bring up the shadows, and it does introduce too much noise, then that means that that exposure was probably too dark. For, you know, we can bring out a lot, but we can't bring out too much. Also, a lot of it depends on the camera. Okay, if I were to bring up an iPhone photo on here, and start cranking up the shadows, it's gonna fall apart. If I bring up the camera and, you know, just depends on the camera, but what I would say is, is there's not much I can do for that specific photo. In the future what I would do is take a dark one, take a light photo, and then I'm gonna show everybody how to merge that together later on, so.
Okay, Matt, why do you only bracket three shots? Would you not get more to work with from more exposures, like bracketing five shots? Thank you from New Orleans, Cayenne.
(chuckles) Hi, New Orleans, so, so I only bracket three photos because that's all that I need. Minus two stops is gonna get me all of the bright parts of the photo that I need. The zero photo, the metered photo is gonna kind of be my baseline, and then plus two stops gets me all the dark stuff that was in the shadows that I need. Would doing more get more, it would, I just don't think you need it. So there's not many scenes, and you saw, it was shooting into the sun, and we got everything we needed, so that's why I only do three, minus two, zero, plus two.
Okay, when I take fog pictures and zoom in, I see colors in the fog, will the chromatic aberration tool eliminate that? Could you use that?
That's a safe answer. (laughs)
Maybe, give it a try.