Very early yesterday, I headed into Yosemite National Park for a quick one day photo shoot – with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon PowerShot S90 in hand. You can see some early results in my Yosemite Flickr set here.
Most of the photos I shot with the 5D were shot on a monopod – good for some stability and sharpness in the individual images but not good enough for post-processing HDR images without aligning the photos.
A few tests confirmed that Photomatix wasn’t nearly as good as Photoshop CS5 at aligning the 3 raw images I had shot for each capture. So my workflow evolved into the following:
- Open the 3 images in PhotoShop as layers in a single document. The simplest way to do this is to use Bridge CS5 – selecting Tools – Photoshop – Load Files into Photoshop Layers… after selecting the 3 images to be used.
- Once Photoshop has opened the images, then select Edit – Auto Align to align the layers.
- Then select Files – Scripts – Export Layers to Files… to export each layer (now aligned with the others). Select JPG when prompted and select a filename and location that makes sense for these 3 images.
- Now that the images have been aligned (this is only a requirement for handheld HDR!), you can go ahead and open them in Photomatix and continue the HDR creation process.
- Once you’ve tweaked Photomatix and saved the resulting HDR image, you may want to open it again in Photoshop and apply a few additional adjustments – sharpening in particular.
That’s it – a bit complicated. Makes me want to go invest in a good tripod – to avoid the need to auto-align the images!