A Better Approach to HDR Processing Workflow with Adobe Lightroom

Last year, I wrote a bit about my mid-2011 photography processing workflow. I talked about how, for single-image HDR processing using RAW images, I would open them in Photomatix Pro rather than using Lightroom’s export image capability. I also wrote how, for HDR bracketed images, I did use Lightroom’s export image capability to convert them to JPEGs for processing in PhotoMatix pro.

My friend Doug Kaye has shared his new insights about a better workflow for HDR processing – one that maximizes the dynamic range available for post-processing rather than limits it as the Lightroom export flow automatically does. Be sure to read his insights – along with those of Klaus Herrmann who introduced the notion creating extended EV value images as TIFF files from the original bracketed RAW images in his article “Creating HDR Images the Right Way.” If you have comments for Doug, please share them on his Google+ post.

New Photoshop Learnings from Jaime Ibarra

I recently took a 1:1 workshop with Jaime Ibarra – wanting to learn more about his technique for post-processing images. His approach to post-processing is strikingly different – and one which I enjoy. And he’s also an amazing photographer as well!

Jaime and I spent a couple of hours together via Skype video talking about both his approach to photography, some new challenges for me, and then his approach to post-processing images in Photoshop. I’ve been to several photography workshops over the last couple of years – but this one was really unique and different – and I learned a lot!

Frankly, I expected our time together would focus mostly on post-processing – but we spent a lot of time upfront talking just about photography, what it means to us, how we approach it, how we’re challenged by it, etc. That discussion was surprising for me – and enlightening. Great fun. Perhaps even more useful to me in terms of my wanting to learn about portrait shooting than the post-processing techniques Jaime subsequently shared.

So, what did I learn? Here’s an example of an image I both shot and post-processed earlier today using some of what I learned from my workshop with Jaime. The colors are different – not exactly unusual, but different. Different enough to matter and capture the mood. The venue is the California Avenue Farmers Market in Palo Alto. The image is titled “Karmel Korn” – shot with my Canon 5D Mark II with the Canon 135mm f/2 lens.

Kettle Korn -Palo Alto - 2011

Thanks to both Trey Ratcliff and Victor Cajiao for introducing me to Jaime.

Sail Away – San Francisco – 2011

Socked In - San Francisco - 2011

Yesterday, I headed north to Sausalito to join the Marin Photo Club’s charter boat heading out onto San Francisco Bay for the Blue Angels air show performance.

Coming north across the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog was still blowing through and under the bridge and created this lovely view toward the skyline of San Francisco. I shot this using my tiny Canon PowerShot S95 – handheld – from the View Point on the north side of the bridge.

When I noticed the sailboat in the image, I decided to post-process it a bit – using curves and masks in Photoshop CS5 to isolate adjustments in the sky/skyline, the fog, and the water/sailboat at the bottom of the image. A final curves layer added the toning – tweaking the blue and green colors just a bit.

Douglas C-47 Skytrain at Castle Air Museum

Douglas C-47 Skytrain at Castle Air Museum

Here’s another photo from almost four years ago taken at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California. This time, it’s a C-47 Skytrain, the workhorse transport aircraft of WW II, the Berlin Airlift, etc.

This shot was taken using my first digital SLR, a Canon 30D, as a single RAW image. Postprocessing was done using Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5 (to remove power lines, etc) along with Nik’s HDR Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro.

Hope you enjoy it!