A few months ago, I discovered and started using a new HDR tool that I later reviewed on my blog in an article entitled, HDR Expose 3 – King of Natural Looking HDR. Many of my readers expressed interest in this tool and, as a result, I am releasing a step by step tutorial on how to achieve natural looking HDR images using HDR Expose.
If you want to follow along, please download the fully functional HDR Expose 3 30 day trial here and, in the event you decide to purchase the full version, please use the coupon code PHOTOTRACES at the checkout to receive 10% off.
Make sure you install it as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom and not as a standalone application.
You will learn following:
- How to prepare (preprocess) bracketed images before merging them for HDR
- How to use HDR Expose 3 plugin in Lightroom
- How to align multiple images in HDR Expose 3
- How to tone map bracketed photos for HDR
- How to bring HDR image back to Lightroom
- How to achieve the desired look in Lightroom and Photoshop
Below you can find my Before&After Widget which illustrates 11 editing steps of my workflow. By clicking through numbers (orange squares) you can see how image transforms from step 1 (original raw image) to step 11 (final published photo).
Before & After Widget[meteor_slideshow slideshow=”ba-08-cruise-ship” metadata=”height: 600, width: 800″]
Also, I’ve included the source files with this post (original RAW files, layered Photoshop file (PSD), and Lightroom preset). You can download all files at the end of the post.
Step 1. Original Image
For today’s tutorial I selected photos I took in Montreal from the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the tallest bridge in the city. I originally took 5 bracketed shots but +2EV was too overexposed and soft. In my previous post I discussed the challenges of shooting multiple exposures from the bridge.
Below are 4 bracketed shots (-2, -1, 0, +1) I used to tone map HDR image.