It is convenient to take photos by customer digital cameras and smartphones. However, the dynamic range of most customized digital cameras and smartphones’ camera is low. That means you can just capture a dark photo with such devices. And the details in the shadows on LDR photos (low dynamic range) will be missed. Of course, you can use some accessories, like reflectors and ND gels, to shoot beautiful photos. But it is not portable sometimes. Can you imagine taking a reflector with you when you enjoy the holiday? Another solution is to create high dynamic range (HDR) images by software. That sounds more feasible. Therefore, this article will introduce how to use HDR merge to make HDR images as profession with ease.
Photo Merge combines two or more photos with different exposures into a stunning HDR. HDR Photo Merge has been implemented inside Adobe Lightroom recently. The article is a brief instruction about how to use HDR merge inside Lightroom and also use other HDR software to do HDR merge to create great HDR photo. You can base on the photograph technique to make HDR images.
HDR Merge is a feature of Lightroom, which can be used to process photo files or RAW images to produce a DNG file. And the output file of Photo Merge can also be generated as HDR (High Dynamic Range) image or panorama image. Similar to HDR Pro of Photoshop, HDR photo Merge can be used to create HDR files with Lightroom.
But the current version, HDR Photo Merge of Lightroom is pretty basic without much room for manual control. If you have installed Lightroom, you can just use HDR Merge function built-in to achieve a fast and natural HDR effects, but in order to create some awesome HDR photographs, you have to use other programs instead.
There is a lot of other HDR software to merge HDR photos. Photo HDR should be one of them that you can have a try. It should be an affordable choice with the best result.
Auto Align and Auto Tone
Auto Align is the first option of HDR Merge, which is useful for small differences between images taken handhold. Auto Tone is able to adjust the tone or exposure automatically. It is recommended to turn on the automatic settings on for merging HDR files.
HDR photo is combined with a series of images with different exposure. When you take the series of images, there is any movement in the frame should result ghosting when you merge HDR file. And the Deghosting feature can avoid a semi-transparent ghost of the moving stuff.
RAW contains more information than JPEG, it is highly recommended to use RAW to merge HDR photograph. But whether you start with JPG or RAW originals, the resulting merged HDR image is saved as a DNG RAW file along with its own developing settings.
1. The HDR process begins with selecting a series of images with different exposures. After you import the images, you can merge multiple exposure-bracketed images into a single HDR image with the HDR Merge feature of Adobe Lightroom.Select all the images with different exposures in the Lightroom. Choose Photo > Photo Merge > HDR or right click and choose Photo Merge > HDR.
2. And then it takes a few seconds to “Creating HDR Preview”. Once it finishes, you will get a dialog and a progress bar. If you are a newbie to HDR merge, you can just have the auto settings enable in the options at right of the HDR Photo Merge dialog.
3. After the HDR photos are merged, some areas in the HDR image might be unnatural, which you can use de-ghosting option in HDR Merge to correct these anomalies. If you need to customize the HDR photos, you need to deselect the Auto Align and Auto Tone option.
4. Finally you can click Merge to create HDR image with HDR Photo Merge. You can create images and displays it in your catalog, and then you can export the DNG file to the desired file accordingly.
If you use HDR Merge of Lightroom and HDR Pro of Photoshop, you might find the result might be different from each other. And the processing technique used is not exactly the same either.
Photoshop is a well-know photo editor program. It is not a professional HDR merger that handles a different bracketed of images, especially for the ghost suppression. If the photos are not taken with digital cameras on tripod, Photoshop might not able to merge HDR photos for you. Here is the detail process to make HDR files for you.
1. Launch Photoshop on your Mac computer and load the photos to create HDR image.
2. Navigate to top menu bar; select File and then Automate. And then choose Merge to HDR.
3. Click on Add Open Files button to add the photos to make HDR image in Merge to HDR.
4. Check Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and click on OK to confirm it.
5. If the source photos have different exposure values, Photoshop will show the Manually Set EV box. You can customize the value and click on OK to continue.
6. The preview window will show up; then you can adjust the output by adding and deleting the source photos and changing white point.
7. After you get the perfect result, click on OK to start the HDR converting process.
8. When the process has done, the HDR image will show in Photoshop. Then you can go to File and Save As to save it as a HDR file, like TIFF or PSD.
WidsMob HDR is a smart HDR merge software, which helps you to create HDR images easily. The advanced tone mapping algorithms handles both JPEG files and RAW formats to create stunning HDR photos. Just learn more detail about the HDR maker as below.
1. Photo HDR works with RAW files as well as the JPEG files to make HDR pictures. You only need to import photos from the camera or smartphone to the program accordingly.
2. The advanced Tone mapping algorithms will help users to make HDR images seamlessly. This feature also allows users to customize the parameters to create a unique HDR photo.
3. It also provides some basic editing tools, such as tone saturation, color management and ghost suppression to customize the outputs.
4. Auto aligning bracketed images of HDR camera with handhold or smartphone into HDR with advanced algorithms.
1. Open the software and click on Import button to load photos to make HDR image. You’d better to use RAW files.
2. After loaded, Photo HDR will blend these photos into a HDR picture.
3. You can add some effects on the HDR image with the editing tools.
4. Export the made HDR image on your computer or share it via Dropbox or email.
When you need to create some stunning HDR photos on your Windows PC. Photomatrix Pro is one of the most professional HDR creators that you can take into consideration. What is more important, the program provides different presets, which enables you to choose the desired effects from the output HDR files. Here is the detail process to make High Dynamic photos with Photomatrix Pro.
1. Open Photomatrix Pro and click on Generate HDR image on the left menu bar.
2. Select the photos to create HDR picture and click on OK. It could read DNG photos without converting.
3. After loaded, you can customize settings in the Options window, like Align source images, White Balance, reduce ghosting artifacts, and so on. Click on OK to continue.
4. Navigate to top ribbon and select File and Save As to save the result as a .HDR image.
5. Click on Tone Mapping button on the left to activate the preview window. The option of Show Original allows you to see the changes.
6. Then you can change the settings to make a HDR picture. The lower the value of Smoothing, the more surreal the HDR image. The lower the value of Strength, the real the image.
7. Select a solution from the Presets dropdown list.
8. Click on Process to apply the effects.
9. Finally, click on File and Save AS to save the HDR image.
Based on the introduction above, you can do HDR merge easily on your computer. Both Lightroom and Photoshop is the most professional HDR software applying HDR merge function. And Photomatrix Pro is compatible with Windows, while Mac users could enjoy the HDR image feature of Lightroom or Photoshop. On the other hand, if you are looking for an easy-to-use HDR picture creator, WidsMob HDR may be the best choice. You can get a perfect HDR image with no more than four steps. And it is available on Mac now. If you have any other query related to HDR merge and the process to design HDR images, you could share more details about the information in the comments.
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