Creating HDR Images with Photoshop, Quick and Easy

High Dynamic Range-technique (HDR) is a photography technique that is achieved by shooting two or more standard photographs, taken at different exposure levels, and then merging them together into an HDR image. The merging of these photos can be done with the help of photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Photomatix.

HDR can create extremely beautiful pictures that highlight the viewer’s perspectives, which can make the picture, look more realistic.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create or transform your pictures into HDR by tuning them with the help of Adobe Photoshop. Unlike the actual HDR technique, this Photoshop trick will require only a single JPEG image. You don’t have to shoot into RAW images or take multiple photos.

Note: In this tutorial, I’m using Photoshop CS5 (CS4 compatible), so there might be a few changes with regard to menu options if you are working with CS3 or lesser.

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End Result

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1

Open the image that you want to convert to HDR

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2

Go to Image -> Adjustments and click on Shadow/Highlights. Set the Shadow and Highlights to 45-50%

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3

Now, duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl + J on PC. Desaturate the duplicated layer by pressing Shit + Ctrl + U (Or Image -> Adjustments and click on Desaturate). After that, change the layer blending to Hard Light

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4

You’re almost there. Now to make the picture look more realistic, let’s add extra colors to it. Duplicate the base (original) layer again, and move it on top of the other layers as shown below.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Next, go to Filter -> Blur and select Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius to around 35 pixels. Now, change the layer blending to Soft Light.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5

You’re done. If you’re not satisfied with the effect, then you can redo the above steps to give your image a strong effect.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

P.S. The image used in  demonstrating  this  tutorial  was shot by me sometime back. I request you to link back to my Flickr page or this tutorial if in case you are using it elsewhere.

Published by

Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr.He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte.Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

  • nice effect.And easy explanation on each step make it quite understandable.

  • It is very good tutorial for creating HDR images in Photoshop. It beautifies the image for a professional look.