Step by step
Six become one
Merge a set of bracketed images to create one HDR picture…
01 Six of the best
Open the six start images (downloaded from the disc or via the link below) in Camera RAW. Under the Sharpening tab, set the detail to 0 – this will keep the image untouched, ready for editing. It is also a good idea to avoid adjusting the exposures as they will all be used for the HDR merge.
02 Get merging
To merge your set of bracketed images, open Photoshop. Go to File>Automate>Merge to HDR Pro, and then browse to wherever you’ve saved your images. Make sure you have sRGB and 16 bit selected, and deselect the Automatically align box, then click on OK.
03 Give it some grit
Now you can edit your HDR image. Start by increasing the Edge Glow Strength to 1, and drag the Radius slider to somewhere around the middle. To get a gritty HDR, increase the Detail too. Once you are happy, click OK and Photoshop will ‘tone map’ this into a regular 16-bit image.
04 Boost the contrast
After using the HDR tool, many combined images will look quite bright and flat. Adjusting the contrast using Levels, Curves or Brightness/ Contrast will correct this (use your preferred tool; we used Levels). Tweak it as much you think necessary; there is no right or wrong amount.
05 Go with the grain
To enhance the grain definition, duplicate the image layer. Set the new layer’s blend mode to Overlay using the dropdown menu. Go to Filters> Other>High Pass and set the Radius to around 10, lower the layer opacity slightly (roughly 75% will do), then flatten the layers.
06 Dodge and burn
Sharpening will not be necessary as the image is already highly sharpened. We tweaked the colour balance, found in the ‘Image/Adjustments’ tab, to reduce the orange. We also brightened the staircase with the dodge tool and darkened the walls with the burn tool. Crop and save.