HDR Done Right

Ferringway #8 As previously mentioned, I took some time while in Durango recently and worked on my HDR images, specifically where real estate is concerned. I even followed the directions from the Photomatix people. While I actually took several HDR images on my trip, I was particularly pleased with the real estate ones.

The best one, the exterior shot above, is a combination of 4 exposures. I imported all of my images form the weekend into Lightroom, then selected them and corrected the white balance. I had shot them without resetting my settings from earlier experiments – thank god for RAW and Lightroom. I then took the 4 images and exported them using the HDRSoft Photomatix Lightroom export plugin. I then combined the images in Photomatix, adjusted the tone map until I had an image I liked, then saved it and went back to Lightroom.

I had some really bad converging verticals though, so from Lightroom I chose to edit the image in Photoshop CS3. Once in PSCS3 (say that 5 times fast), I used the Distort feature to straighten the verticals and make everything look proper. All in all, I am quite pleased with the outcome. I know there are free tools out there to generate HDR images, but none of the ones I tried came anywhere close to Photomatix in terms of resultant quality or ease of use. If you are seriously considering HDR photography, you really should invest in Photomatix.

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