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How to make HDR with Photoshop

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How to make HDR with Photoshop: You are passionate about the world of photography and, at the same time, you are starting to try your hand at photo editing software, primarily Photoshop. After having learned to take the first steps with the famous Adobe program, you would like to learn more about how it works. Specifically, you would like to master the technique ofHDR you have heard so much about from some of your friends who are passionate about photography like you. Well, I don’t see where the problem is: if you want, I’ll give you a hand in understanding what HDR is and how to use it in Photoshop.

Let’s start by saying that HDR (acronym for High Dynamic Range Imaging) is a technique that allows you to combine multiple shots of the same scene, taken with different exposures, in order to create a more “complete” image, including all possible variations in brightness. It can be used to improve photos and make them more “natural”, ie closer to what the human eye sees, or to obtain a sort of “fantasy effect”, which is very fashionable lately.

With today’s guide, I would like to focus on the subject by explaining, precisely, how to do HDR with Photoshop. Just think, there are at least a couple of ways to do this: an “official” one which involves the use of several shots with various exposure levels and one a little more “rough”, but certainly effective, which allows you to obtain an effect HDR from single shots. All this by acting as a PC, smartphone and tablet. So, curious to try? Well, then let’s not waste any more time chatting and let’s proceed!

How to make HDR with Photoshop on computer

You want to find out how to do HDR with Photoshop on computer? Contrary to what you might think, the operation in question is not at all difficult to perform, as long as you know where to “put your hands”. In the next few lines I will show you, therefore, the procedure to follow whether you want to apply the HDR technique using more shots of the same scene than a single shot. Have fun!

Multiple shots of the same scene

Let’s start with the function that allows create HDR photos in Photoshop automatically, i.e. the one to use when you have multiple shots of the same scene with different exposures. Before explaining how to proceed, however, it is my duty to tell you that the images you intend to use must have the same dimensions, otherwise you will not be able to proceed. Clear? Well, then let’s take action.

First start Photoshop on your PC or Mac and select the item Automate> Merge as HDR Pro … from the menu File, which is located in the upper left. In the window that opens, click on the button Browse …select the photos you want to use to create the HDR image and then click on the button OK.

Wait a few seconds for Photoshop to examine the imported shots and, if necessary, adjust the parameters related to theexposure of the photos through the box that appeared on the screen, so that the program can recognize them better. When done, click the button OKto move forward.

Merge as Photoshop HDR

At this point, you have the option to adjust all settings related to the output image. Among the most important values ​​that I recommend you take into consideration are: radius And Intensity of the Edge glowthanks to which you can make the edges of the subjects portrayed in photos brighter and more contrasted, and Range And Details which, on the other hand, allow you to adjust the midtones of the image.

The value should not be underestimated Exposure, thanks to which you can control the exposure of the photo as a whole. Then there are all the parameters present in the panel Advancedwhich allow you to adjust shadows, lights And colors (In the case vividness And saturation). Finally, I point out the function Curveaccessible by clicking on the tab of the same name, through which it is possible to adjust the contrasts of the image.

Photoshop HDR photo

As soon as you are satisfied with the result, click on the button OK and save your HDR photo by selecting the item Save with name… from the menu File Photoshop and pointing to the first namethe position and the format of the output file. It wasn’t difficult, saw?

Single shot

One click

Now, instead, let’s see how to use the HDR technique with Photoshop in a more “artisanal” way, that is, using one single shot. The first step you need to take, in this case, is to import the photo into the program, selecting the item You open… from the menu File (or by simply dragging the image into the Photoshop window).

Next, you need to alter the degree of brightness of the photo by going to the menu Image> Adjustments (above) and clicking on the item Shadows / Lights …. In the window that opens, then set the values Amount And Factor on 50% and click on OKto save the changes.

Photoshop HDR effect on single photo

After editing the base image, duplicate the level 0by selecting it from the box at the bottom right and pressing the key combination Ctrl + J (on Windows) or cmd + j (on macOS).

Then remove the color from the new layer by selecting the item Remove saturation from the menu Image> Adjustmentsand apply the blending mode Intense light to the latter, using the drop-down menu always located in the box at the bottom right.

Photoshop HDR effect on single photo

Finally, make a new copy of the level 0 and move it to the top of the layer management box (using the mouse), set the blending mode to Soft light and use the filter Gaussian Blur … available in the menu Filter> Blur (top) to apply a layer blur 40 to the image.

As soon as you are ready to do so, save the edited photo by selecting the item Save with name… from the menu File Photoshop and specifies the first namethe position and the format of the output file.

How to make HDR with Photoshop online


You are wondering how to do HDR with Photoshop online? I’m sorry but, unfortunately, the online version of Photoshop does not integrate a specific tool useful for this purpose. Be that as it may, know that you can turn to another of the many online photo editing services, such as LunaPicwhich integrates an excellent HDR filter.

To use it, go to the LunaPic home pageclick on the button Upload located under the heading Edit a photo and select the photo of your interest. Then hover the mouse cursor over the item Filters located at the top of the page and, in the menu that opens, select the item HDR Lightning.

At this point, the most is done: LunaPic will apply the filter you have decided to use (i.e. the HDR one) to the photo and show you the final result. If you want to intensify the HDR effect, all you have to do is apply the filter again, as I showed you a moment ago.

When you are ready to do so, save the final image by clicking on the link Save located at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, click on the link corresponding to one of the supported social networks (eg. Facebook, Pinterestetc.), to share the shot on one of your online profiles.

How to do HDR with Photoshop on smartphones and tablets

HDR Photoshop mobile

We conclude this guide by seeing how to do HDR with Photoshop on smartphones and tabletsusing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: Adobe’s official application available for free on both Android than on iOS.

Before explaining how to use it, I would like to tell you that, at the time of writing, the various mobile versions of Photoshop (Lightroom included) unfortunately do not integrate an ad hoc HDR filter to be applied in post-production, but only an HDR shooting mode. to use first to make the photo. However, there are filters and tools available that allow you to get interesting results even on photos already in the phone’s memory.

After downloading and starting Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on your device, scroll down the information sheets that illustrate the operation of the app, tap the button Start and log in to your Adobe account by pressing the appropriate login button. Alternatively, log in with your accounts Facebook or Googleby tapping on the appropriate buttons.

Once logged in, press the icon of camera located at the bottom right, tap the button (⌵) located at the bottom left and select the item High Dynamic Range from the menu that opens. To take the photo in HDR mode, then, all you have to do is press on the symbol of thering located in the center of the screen, at the bottom.

If you want to further modify the photo, open it and retouch it using the tools located below, in order to crop it and correct all the parameters. When finished, tap on the symbol of sharinglocated at the top, and save the work done by selecting one of the saving options from those proposed.

As I told you, Photoshop Lightroom does not integrate an HDR filter to be applied to the photos already made. However, you can retouch your shots and try to replicate it “manually”: to do this, import the photo to be edited in the app by pressing the icon (+) located at the bottom right, then select the tab Light placed at the bottom and adjust the values Exposure, Contrast, Lights, Shadows, etc. in order to obtain the desired result.

If you want to apply an HDR filter “on the fly”, you can turn to external solutions, such as Snapseed: a popular free photo editing app distributed by Google. After downloading this app on your device Android or iOStouch anywhere on the screen and, in the menu that opens, select the photo you want to edit.

Once this is done, click on the item Instrumentspresses on the option HDR and adjust the degree of application of the filter by sliding your finger to the right or left. When finished, tap the button (✓) located at the bottom right, press on the item Export located at the bottom right and choose one of the many saving or sharing options available.