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Hybrid HDR Techniques

Lesson 6 from: Adobe Photoshop for Photographers: Beyond the Basics

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

6. Hybrid HDR Techniques

Lesson Info

Hybrid HDR Techniques

Well, now we're coming into a section that I call it advanced essentials, which just means that there's some eggs n shal techniques that most photographers I find rely on photo shop for things like stitching panoramas, or if you shoot more than one picture of the same scene where various and brightness between your exposures, you could merge together into hdr. And there are some things that we didn't have time to cover in the last three, of course, that I did, so I want to make sure that we go maurin depth in this three day course, so let's, take a look let's talk about hdr first hdr stands for high dynamic range, and all it means is use it when you have a wide brightness range, so it means capturing a wide brightness range from a scene and be able to get detail everywhere where we don't end up with blown out highlights where the sky is white and you don't end up with black shadows, where you can see no detail whatsoever. Instead, you see detail everywhere, even though you shot midday ...

when your camera usually can't deliver detail in both the highlights and the shadows at the same time you want to see an example, here is a shot that I took of a temple in this is what my camera captured if you look at the bright portion of the photograph up where the sky is, you see that's just white it's just can't give me that full brightness range I can change my exposure make the image darker still the sky is this doesn't really have detail I'll have to even go darker than that and finally I can see my blue sky but by the time I do now look at the shadows and it's pretty much was not any individual shot here that I really like this one I wouldn't mind using just for the interior, but it's going to bug me when I look out the the doors and I can't see the sky out there because when I was standing there I have no problem perceiving what the sky looked like, but my camera just can't deliver what I'm used to seeing so hdr is any time you want to combine multiple exposures of the same scene, they vary in brightness, so first let's talk about capturing hdr in my camera I can usually set up setting called auto bracketing and when I turn on the auto bracketing setting, then when I press and hold the shutter it will take more than one photograph most of the time I could get away with just three shots and if that's the case, I can often do hdr hand help this was shot hand held. I didn't actually bring a tripod on this trip just because we're limited in how much gear we can bring, but I'm gonna capture three shots and let's talk about first, what do I look for when I'm capturing them? I turn on auto bracketing on my camera in oftentimes I just do a test shot where I go click, click click where it just hold down the shutter. It takes three pictures the majority of time I have my camera set up so it's doing two stops of a difference between the exposure's, so each photograph is becoming too stops brighter, progressively, and what I do is I review the shots that it captured, and I start by looking at the darkest one, and the only thing I'm looking for the darkest one is to make sure that the highlights have been captured the brightest part of the picture. Now, if it's something that is so bright, that would hurt my eyes to look right at it, like the noonday sun or it's at night and there's a spotlight coming across somewhere, and if I stare right at it, I'd see a purple spot. When I took look away, then I don't care about capturing detail, but if it's something that is not so bright that would hurt my eyes to look at it instead I could just look at it and easily see detail when I'm standing there then in this photograph I want to be able to see detail in the highlights it's okay if the noonday sun is in there and it's blown out but everything else should be there and that's the only thing I'm looking at in this shot then I want to go brighter in on my second shot I want to make sure the highlights are blown out my camera that means that they'll be blinking if I have the highlight warning turned on that says hey this area's becomes solid white if it isn't if the brightest area has not become white then the first shot that I took was too dark I didn't need it to be anywhere near that dark it means this shot here could have been even brighter and would have been but this one should have blinky so it should blink on my screen to say hey there highlights are blown out and then I'll take another one and this should have even larger area blinking to say it's blown out because we've already captured that in the first shot and therefore we don't need it in these now I'm going to continue taking pictures and most the time three it's fine but sometimes I need more than three how do I know well I look at the brightest picture and if I still can't see detail in the dark part of the photo where it's important to see detail I need to take even more until I can easily see detail in the dark part of the picture but on ly where it's important meaning that if I don't think it helps to show pity detail up here and I don't think that's really what I need to show people then you don't have to go any further than what I have here and so in this particular case I mainly wanted you to see what was in the doors and I thought whatever detail would be down here would be more of a distraction then um something that helped but if I really wanted to show you every single little piece of detail in here I probably should have taken even one more shot even brighter until I could easily see the detail down here at the bottom which currently looks black I'm going to then take those three shots and select them here I'm in bridge I just click on the first of the three shots I hold this shift key and I click on the last of the three shots and I opened them in camera usually I do that by taping command are that's control our and windows that just means opening cameron it's the shortcut for this command up here called opening camera command are get him in cameron on the left side, if you have more than one image selected, you're going to see the images there and I might click on one of the brighter ones just so it's. Easier to see what we have. But before I move any of the sliders on the right side of the dialogue box, I'm going to hit the select all buttons. So any change that I make happens across all of the images and there's a couple things that I do in here. I don't move all that many sliders, but one thing that I do is I go to the lens corrections tab in under the lens corrections tab there's that sub tab called color and I turn on remove chromatic aberration remember those little halos you get around the edges of things. The reason why I have to make sure that's turned on is because the process of hdr exaggerates things where there are edges where a bright thing touches a dark thing is going to do something there. And if there's already in the issue of color there it's going to exaggerate it. So I need to make sure that that is turned on for all my pictures. The other thing that I might adjust would be white balance if I find the white balance to be off, then there's a couple of the things that I do I will click on the darkest picture so that's the only one in viewing in so that the others are not, uh selected so that's the only one I'm working on now in if I look at the brightest part of this photograph up here in this case where the sky is, if the brightness is not how I'd like it to be in my end result, then I will make it even darker. So in this particular case this is what it looked like when I captured the image and you see the sky I can see a hint of detail in it it's not actually white but it's not a star cause I'd like it to appear in the end result and so if that's the case what I'm working on that darkest photograph, I take the highlights slaughter and I move it down until the highlights are the brightness that I desire because when I do hdr it's going to be difficult for the hdr adjustment to go any darker when what the originalist you could go a little bit, but if I help it out right here by adjusting that darkest image to say let's control how bright my highlights are with highlights slider I can darken them up a little bit and make it easier that when I merge them altogether it thinks that that's what the darkest shot really looked like the other thing I can do is click on the brightest shot and with the brightest shot if I want to see even more shadow detail than what is apparent right here then before I emerge these images together I have on ly that brightest image active on the left side of my screen I'll come over here and I'll adjust the shadow slider and I'll bring out extra shattered detail, so if I wanted to see a lot more detail right here is where I'm going do it it's going to be easier for photo shop to deliver that detail if I adjust these images before emerging together but remember, whenever you bring out detail in the shadows oftentimes it make it easier to see any noise that's there he and so if that's the case, I might go to the detailed town and in the detailed town do you remember that choice called masking unmasking controlled? How much of the image ends up getting sharpened? Well, this one's already been adjusted. I'll double click on this to get it to its default setting, and what I would do is hold on the option key bring this up until on ly areas with useful detail show up and that means those areas that count of felt flat like just flat colored panels he didn't see any wood, grain or other useful detail they turn black therefore, we're not going to sharpen the noise that's in these big flat areas, then I might also, if needed, bring up the luminescence slider here in in this case, I brought it out. I would usually zoom up one hundred percent views to see what the noise looks like, but that's something where if you ever brought up your shadow slider to bring out additional shattered detail, you're going to make it easier to see that noise. They might as well deal with the noise here before you merge the images together, because you're going to get a higher quality and result, the noise could be exaggerated when you process is an hd our image, and so if we get rid of the noise at this point, it's not gonna be a problem in our end result and so that's in general when I'm adjusting, so what did I do? I had all the images selected when I did chromatic aberrations. I might also adjust white balance on them if the white balance seems to be off, which means that there that looked warm or cool in color, then I go to the darkest exposure and I just the highlights if needed. I don't always need to, but if the highlights are in his darkest, I'd like them to be I can adjust for it. I take the brightest image and if it doesn't have enough shattered detail yet I bring up the shadow slider if I end up bringing that up I might also want to do my noise reduction then I'm gonna click done now I'm gonna merge those images together I'll do that in bridge by choosing tools photoshopped merge to hdr pro now you can also do this from light room the same adjustments can be applied in the same way in light room and in order to merged it into an hd our image in light room you would go to the photo menu where you'd find a choice called ed it in and then there'd be a side menu you and you'd find the choice of merge tio hdr or hide emmick range I don't know the wording but it does the same thing is this dust so then this is going to merge them together and if there was any motion in the scene for instance, if it was windy here there are some kind of paper lamps hanging in the in the openings here they might be moving in the wind or if the clouds were moving very fast going by or anything like that, I might need to think about reducing artifacts from motion and if that's what I have then at the top of my screen on the right side is a checkbox called remove ghosts and I can turn that on and that's going to attempt teo prevent any doubled images where you see kind of ah a partial image where an object used to be and then another partial image where it was in a different frame imagine a flag flapping in the wind you know being a different position in each shot but when you do that down here do you see a green box around one of these images thes air the three exposures were emerging. It thinks about the one that has the green boxes being the master image where it's going to try to keep the elements in this scene in that position and it'll compare that to the others if it notices anything in a different position like a flag or some water being moved in a different spot, you will try to eliminate it. You can click on the other images here and it will update this preview and you can see if one would look better and then you can click on the next one and see if it would look better. But in this particular image there's not a lot of motion but that's like if there's a flag flapping or there's a river going by with waves in it in that kind of stuff you would want to turn on remove ghosts and then click on these three individual thumbnails to see which one gives you the best look question yes, if you have slight camera motion camera motion I wouldn't worry about when it comes to remove ghosts. What happens is when you merge these images together, it's gonna automatically go through a process of trying to align them. It uses the same technology that it uses for stitching panoramas where it khun recognize elements within the scene and line them up so it could deal with limited camera motion. Eso as long as you weren't like moving your camera ridiculously when you shot them, if you're a pretty steady, it will compensate for that automatically. So in this particular case, I don't think there's much of any motion in here if there's not, I would turn remove ghost off because the image can look a little crisper because it doesn't have to do is much processing on it then in order processes image right now it thinks I want to process it in this dialog box, and I don't think this dialog box gives me a very good and result, so I want to process this with camera the same sliders who used to optimize any kind of image in order to accomplish that, I need to come up here and change this little mod menu two thirty to bid thirty two bit means don't process the image right here in this dialog box instead, I'm gonna process it with something else if you choose one of these two choices it thinks you want to process it right here so when I choose thirty two bit you'll notice that all these sliders that would allow me to adjust the image they go away the picture doesn't look very good because this hasn't been processed yet then there's a checkbox in here that I think is turned on by deep all it says complete toning in adobe camera that's a new feature they added in one of the recent versions of federal shop and with that turned on it's hard to see because it's cut off from the bottom of my screen but there's a button in the lower right that says tone in it a cr that means adobe camera if I clicked on that it would send me into camera and I'll be able to process the image right away if you have an older version of photo shop let's say uh you don't have the newest version the version called cc and said you have cia six then you're not gonna have this check box available and so there'll be a couple more steps you need to do let me describe those steps just in case you have the older version if that check boxes not does not show up that means you have the older version and what you would need to do is just make sure the menu up above it's set to thirty two bit and then you would click ok down the bottom right after that save your picture in tiff file format with default settings don't changing the settings in the safe dialog box then you can open that image using camera meaning goto enbridge look att the folder where you saved that picture and you'll be able to process it in camera but here I have the newer version so it has this little checkbox won't you do it for me automatically there's no need to save it as a tiff file first so I'm gonna click on tony a cr and now it's actually saving a tiff file in a hidden place on my hard drive so I don't need to see it and then it's going to go open it in camera so if you don't have that check up box available, you just have to a little bit more which is to manually save it as a tiff file just take a moment and adobe camera should open and when it opens and cameras still won't look very good because all the sliders that aaron here haven't been moved yet they're all zeroed out to process in hd our image for the majority of the images that I work with what I end up doing is the following I take the highlights slider and I move it all the way down that means darken the bright part of the picture so watch the sky we'll bring this all the way down it's too dark, isn't it? But don't worry about it we can adjust it later then I'm going to take the shadow slider and I'm going to turn it all the way up that's just to make it so it's trying to show me shattered detail and trying to show me highlight detail what I'm done with that then I go to exposure to control the overall brightness so now I can start dialing in what I really want but you see how I started out with just bringing highlights all the way down shadows all the way up and then I'm adjusting the slaughter called exposure to get the general brightness that I want once you get the brightness of the majority of the image to be somewhat acceptable you confined to in the highlights all you're going to be able to do is brighten them though and you confined to in the shadows all you're going to be able to do is darken them though most the time you'll find you leave them at those extremes if you need to tweak it a little bit further than that then we have contrast if I bring contrast up we'll see a greater difference between bright and dark you never bring contrast down we'll see less of a difference between bright and dark then if you want the image to be more colorful a little boost in vibrance doesn't hurt clarity is going to emphasize the textures in the immense or you could say the fine details in the image so I could bring that up a little bit careful with clarity, though if you get too high, things can start looking a little bit glowy where the edge of the building where it touches the sky can end up almost looking like the building's glowing just a little bit. And so I try not to push clarity up too high with hdr images, and then you can optimize this image as you would any other. I came over here and adjust my white balance in case I like it to be a little bit less warm and find to it using any skill you have, uh, with this so we can use some of the things we've already talked about earlier today we just talked about came around a little bit, we just didn't talk about the basic area so I could come in here if I want more shattered detail remembering curves we have this choice called shadows I could come here and say, do I want to somehow bring out a little bit more? Sometimes it shadows he needs sometimes it's what's called darks, where he could control that, or maybe it's the bright part of the image that I don't quite like it's the absolute brightest I want to darken poor is it the light ish tones in this case? Maybe the light ish tones I want to see if I like him a little brighter or darker. Worf I want tojust individual colors remember you have a tch es el so maybe I want the sky to be darker the sky's blue and I don't really see much of any other blue in this scene, so I could go over here to the sl tab goto luminant ce and I don't if you remember or not, we're in here there was a tool in the upper left it's this guy targeted adjustment tool, which allows me to click on the picture and drag so I can click on the blue sky drag two left two right to find tune how bright or dark it iss in that type of thing. So any of things we talked about in previous sessions you could use here on one of the things that I frequently use is to come up here in use the adjustment brush, the adjustment brushes right here. We actually talked about it in the first uh three day class that I did the last time I was a creative live that was the essentials class we haven't had a chance to use it here, but let's take a look think we've only used it when I was answering some questions in the past so what I don't like about this image of the moment is right appear at the top, you know, if you can tell or not, it feels almost like we have what would be the word of glare or ah, this area right here does not feel his dark is the area right here or the area right here? And I'm not sure if you can see that on screen is also a teeny bit more blue there, so what I'm going to do is just guesstimate what type of a change I need to make to fix that? What I'm going to do is take the exposure slider and turn it down just a tiny amount to darken. I'm going to take the temperature, which would allow me to shift the image towards blue or away from blue, and I'll say shifted away from blue, and I might also say, make the image less colorful. I'm just guessing at what it might need it's not actually changing the image when I moved these sliders, that's what I'm about to paint into the image when I move my mouse on top of the image and I start painting, so now I can come up here, click and paint that into the image. If I need a limited so I don't get over spray into the sky then there's a check box down at the bottom called auto mask when you have auto mask turned on then watch at what's underneath that cross here that's in the middle of your brush because it's going toe on lee try to get your pain to your change on top of whatever color is underneath that brush so I get that cross hair to touch this area I click and I can paint across there see if I can get it in to that area without getting over spraying the sky same with over here same with over here after I'm done painting it into various areas within my picture then I confined to the sliders that air here because I was only guessing I couldn't see the effect of these sliders at the time I was moving them around so it was only guessing sulk over here and say what happens if I bring my exposure down a little bit more he tell it's happening up there looks like I got a little bit over spray on my sky when I first did this because I didn't have that check box called auto mask turned on at the very beginning if I need to get any over spray off of the sky all you two dio is up here there's a choice called a race choose that and then when I raise make sure have auto master none now I put that cross here on top of an area where I want to remove the change and it's going to try toe on ly remove it from the color that's underneath my mouse I just hope it doesn't think that the blue that's in the sky he's very similar to the blue that I was complaining about in that dark portion of the photo but there I can get it off of the sky because it looks like I had gotten some over spread so anyway I could adjust other areas of the photograph in the same way I'm going to close this invention open one that I've done previously and I'll simply show you the changes that I did to that one because that's where I spent a little bit more time okay? So here's an end result I'm going to go to the adjustment brush and each one of the little gray circles you see on the screen is a separate adjustment all you do to create a new adjustment is after painting in one area of your picture on the right side of my screen you choose new then you can move these sliders to a different position to tell it what you would like to paint into a different part of your picture and you could paint again and one area would be independent of the last after you've done that a few times you're gonna have more than one of these what's known as pins on your screen and if you hover your mouse over one of them is I will do right now it's going to show you exactly where you've painted so in this particular case you see have painted in those big areas all way around those spots if I click on the pin, it will actually show me what the sliders were in this particular case, it looks like I'm making the highlights of the bright part of the picture brighter my guest there is do you see the um hold on, I'll go turn on a check box down here show mask okay, do you see the gold areas in the doors? Wouldn't that be the bright areas in the doors or the highlights? By bringing up the highlights slider it should have brightened the gold areas I'll double click on it so you can see what it looked like without when I bring the highlights back up you see how it brought up the highlights and the gold areas in the door? I also brought up contrast. If I didn't do that, it would have looked like this it's a very subtle change, I made it more saturated, which probably made the gold areas stick out more we'll double click here is what it would look like without increasing saturation here's with that subtle and I brought out clarity clarity is something that's going to emphasize the details there's without clarity there's with but you see how I find tuned it by painting in various areas in playing with the sliders let's just look at a few other areas here you see when I hover over this pin, which areas I was working on right there and they're my guests there because I probably made the image less colorful because there was some yellow in there and it was probably bothering me right here you have saturation is turned down if I zero that out but double clicking on it it's not a huge change but it's just making those areas slightly less colorful the top of my image that's those areas where I thought it was too bright and too blue remember when I first opened the image that would be that I'll hover over the last one this one here it looks like I was adding contrast, but I refined the image using my, um adjustment brush to fine tune it. If you'd like to see what it looks like with him without I'm going to hit the clear all button here's what it would look like if I didn't refine it using the adjustment brush so that's just the sliders themselves will choose undo and you'll see what it looks like with the adjustments that makes sense that it would find it in all right amount. So I usually don't just settle for what it gives me in the end result. Instead, I end up analysing. Say, what part don't I like? And if I can't fix that particular area with the general sliders that affect the entire image, then I'm going to be grabbing my adjustment brush in painting over the area that I don't like. And then I have this limited set of adjustments where I confined to knit and that's. What I did here.

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