How To Create Beautiful HDR Photo Tutorial?

1. What is an HDR picture and what does it bring?

HDR means ‘High Dynamic Range’. The aim of processing an HDR picture is to provide more detail to the picture to better reflect a real perception (through human eyes). It enables to combine several exposures and gather all the details featuring in these different exposures in one single picture. It accentuates the perspectives, which can make the picture even more realistic. Once the RAW is edited, there are some specific software to process an HDR picture. I use Photomatix, which is the most common and very easy as well.

Check the difference between an original and an HDR-processed picture here :

Original picture / HDR Picture



2. How to create an HDR picture?

You need to know a thing before everything: I said before that you need several exposures to process an HDR. There are two way:

  • You can use AEB (auto exposure bracketing) on your camera to take 3 images in a row with different exposures.
  • You can use a single RAW and use an editor (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture…) to export the same image with different exposures (-2, 0, +2 for instance)

I prefert the second way because to use the AEB method, you need a tripod and a non-moving subject. With the second method, there are not any movement issues and you have to edit only 1 RAW instead of 3… In my opinion, it is easier and faster.

You can download a Photomatix free trial version here.

There are already a lot of very good tutorial on the web so I will just point a good link to you, and please note that this is not a concern of laziness but some tutorials could be even more precise that I could do!

On the following link, check the STEP 5, it explains very well how to use Photomatix and its features:

3. What people like and dislike about HDR?

Some photographers don’t like HDR because it is too much editing and post-production and then, the essence of photography is lost. As some photographers would say the TRUE photography is the black and white!

It is true that sometimes, the picture takes an unreal aspect, some like and some don’t… The HDR processing is still very subjective, as photography is! Here again it is a matter of what do you expect from photography.

As you can guess, I have been processing HDR pictures, here is the link of my HDR gallery. I used HDR to get more details on my photos. For the “Canal Saint Martin” Photo-shoot, I processed HDR pictures specifically because the light conditions outdoor were poor. It resulted that my pictures were “flat” and lacked a lot of details. For some pictures I use HDR to get an unreal aspect (the following one for instance). Thus, I would say that I use HDR for different purposes and this is a photographer choice!

If you liked the article or it made you willing to learn more about HDR, here is a very good website that goes very deeper : STUCKINCUSTOMS

Feel free to contact me ([email protected]) if you have any questions or feedback and you are very welcome to check my gallery.

Arthur DC

Please note that all images featuring in this article are copyrighted

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  1. ohmygod says:

    It looks like a rainbow’s vomit.
    Learn to do good HDR and not over colorized unicorn feces.;

  2. jackies35 says:

    These are incredible! Totally nice work…
    It reminds me of Dave Hill images.

    You nailed this! I have to come back and study this. I love change and different styles every now and then.

  3. R4i says:

    This looks absolutely stunning and beautiful!

  4. vihor72 says:

    ♫ ♪♥♪♫ ♫ ♪♥♪♫ beautiful ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Thanks ♫ ♪♥♪♫ ♫ ♪♥♪♫