Doug Kaye has added a new post that describes several workflows – including his new favorite – for High Dynamic Range (HDR) image processing using Lightroom, Photoshop and tools such as Unified Color’s HDR Expose/32 Float, LR/Enfuse, Photomatix Pro, Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, and more.
If you’re wanting to try HDR photography, Doug’s pretty much covered the bases on the various post-processing alternatives. I’m looking forward to trying out his newly recommended favorite technique using 32 Float in Photoshop!
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!