Nail nat­u­ral-look­ing HDR

James Paterson ex­plains how to com­bine sev­eral ex­po­sures into a sin­gle, highly de­tailed im­age us­ing Light­room’s HDR Merge fea­ture

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Re­tain de­tail in high­lights and shad­ows us­ing Light­room

Light­room’s HDR fea­ture en­ables you to merge sev­eral ex­po­sures into one, pro­vid­ing a high dy­namic range with de­tail in the bright­est high­lights and dark­est shad­ows (which makes it par­tic­u­larly use­ful for high-con­trast in­te­ri­ors and land­scapes). Best of all, it then cre­ates a merged DNG RAW file packed with tonal in­for­ma­tion. Un­der­stand­ably, the Light­room fea­ture isn’t as in-depth as ded­i­cated HDR soft­ware such as Pho­tomatix or Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, or even Pho­to­shop’s own Merge to HDR com­mand.

But Light­room’s ap­proach is slightly dif­fer­ent. It cre­ates a de­tail-rich RAW file with­out the over-pro­cessed look that puts many pho­tog­ra­phers off HDR. So it’s more HDR as a util­ity than as a style, and all the bet­ter for it. While lim­ited, the op­tions in the HDR Merge com­mand are very ef­fec­tive. There’s an Auto Align fea­ture, so as long as cam­era move­ment isn’t too se­vere, you can get away with merg­ing hand-held se­quences. There’s also a Deghost con­trol to fix move­ment within the frame.

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