Dave Morrow Photography: Dave's Free HDR Video Tutorial

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dave's Free HDR Video Tutorial

Update, October 2014: I like to be completely transparent on this website and wanted to let you know that I no longer use the post processing techniques shown in the HDR Tutorial below.

There is still some content in the tutorial which may be helpful to you, so I can't say it's not worth watching, it's just no longer the post processing workflow which I practice:)

Here are a few of my latest video tutorials which may also be helpful!

Dave's Free HDR Video Tutorial

I just recorded a new & free HDR ( High Dynamic Range ) Video Tutorial for 2013, it contains step by step voice instruction as requested by many of you on the last version.

The video contains my post processing technique from start to finish on a picture I took last summer in Iceland. I chose to use a picture that was not overly technical, but complicated enough to show a few different processing skills and techniques. The best way to learn using this video is watch a small part, see what I am using/doing, then try it for yourself. 

It may also help you to watch my Free Post Processing Digital Workflow Tutorial where I'll teach you how to load your RAW files into Lightroom.

Here is a short overview of the work flow going on in the video. 

In the Field

I normally shoot anywhere from three to nine bracketed images, starting at a low EV(exposure value) and working my way up. For example nine bracketed shots would start at -4 EV and end at +4 EV capturing all the stops in between. The key is to capture the entire range of light over all the shots. The dark exposures will correctly expose the bright areas of the composition, while the light exposures will cover the dark areas of the composition. For Photomatix to nicely process these exposures it is necessary to ensure that you have no areas of data loss. By data loss I mean completely black or completely white areas. If you want the picture to have dark and light areas, I would suggest adding them yourself in photoshop. 

On the Computer

Lightroom 4:
Adjust RAW files to nicely expose different parts of each of my pictures. 
Sharpen the picture.
Export to JPEG.

Moving the sliders around as seen in my video I try to get 60-80% of the picture to look "GOOD". The rest I take care of in Photoshop, so plan accordingly. 

Photoshop CS6:
Blend Photomatix picture with how every many other exposures I used to process it.
Topaz Adjust for sharpness and saturation.
Nik Color Efex adjustment.
High Pass Filter or Nik Sharpener to selectively sharpen.

After I feel that the picture is done, I know there will be a few other things that I would like to change later on so I save it in a folder and let it sit for 3 days. This allows me to step away from the picture and correct any small mistakes later.  Ater this time has ended I put the finishing touches on the picture and save it to iPhoto. Want some more info on the reasoning behind this? Check out this amazing post on artistic workflow by Klauss Herrmann called, Why You Need an Artistic Workflow. It helped me a lot in knowing when it's finally time to show my picture to the world. 

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when learning the Photoshop or post processing technique.

1) It's not easy learn and may take you a ton of time to start getting results that you like, so keep working hard and don't give up. I have processed a lot of pictures over the past year and there are still days when I work on a picture for 2 hours, then throw it in the trash. 

2) If you don't feel like processing pictures or are feeling uninspired, get away from your computer, it should never be a chore:)

3) Play around with all of the different functions in all of your photo editing programs and become familiar with what they can do. It's like a bag of tricks, you may not always use them, but you never know when something might pop up and become useful. 

Leave your questions or comments below the post. Enjoy!

If you want to watch the video in 720P click the small "gear" on the bottom of the screen to adjust resolution.

Here is the first version of my Free HDR Tutorial, I figured there was no reason to take it down since it still contains some very valuable info. The JPEG files for this one are free. Enjoy!
Click Here to Get the JPEGS |

Here is the final product....
The Gorgeread more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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