How to Create HDRs on Photoshop CC

Photo by Adriana Paz-Soldan

An HDR is a high dynamic range image that are greater in quality than what your standard digital camera produces. They are created by compressing an image with three different exposures: low, standard, and high. When taking the actual photo, it is best to use a tripod and to use a subject that is absolutely still (take my advice, I’ve learned from experience that using a moving subject will only make your life worse).

The first step in creating an HDR is shooting your photo. You would want to make sure that your camera is set to the right f-stop and shutter speed you need for your shot. I’d recommend putting your camera on aperture mode, or Av, so that you can control the depth of field that you want. Another feature you should know how to control is the exposure settings. The brightness feature on your camera is super important when it comes to getting your photos for your HDRS. Set this feature to 0 so that it will be your normal exposure. Then shoot your subject or scene using a low exposure and a high exposure (how high or low you want the exposure is up to you). Below is an example of a photo I took using three different exposures for my subject:

Once you have your underexposed and overexposed and normal exposed photos, you need to open up Photoshop. Through Photoshop, you will merge your three photo to create your HDR. You will do this by going to File>Automate>Merge to HDR Pro. Once you browse for your files, a tab of settings will appear. These setting will allow you to try out different effects you’d want to use to improve the quality of your HDR. Some things you can adjust are the exposure, saturation, vibrancy, gamma, detail, and shadow. Drag the bar for each one to see how it changes your photo. Once you are content with the adjustments you made, click OK and it will create the HDR. All you have to do is save your work as a JPG and you are finished. Here is the before and after of my HDR:

Notice how I the saturation and a detail to my photo increased dramatically!

Once you get the hang of it, creating HDRs is quite simple. Although it involves a few steps, be sure to take your time with this project so your result won’t look rushed.


Learn HDR Photography