I am a big proponent of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. I shoot multiple photos with different exposures and later combine them together to create rich images with extended dynamic range. I always try to achieve natural looking images with the right balance of highlights, shadows and saturation. I use different programs and techniques to achieve the desired effect of natural looking HDR photographs.
One of the techniques I started to use is digital blending. The technique is based on combining multiple exposures in Photoshop with the help of luminosity masks. This is an easy alternative for using standalone HDR programs.
For me, there are two main advantages of using digital blending over a dedicated HDR program:
- Level of control: You no longer rely on HDR application algorithm as you control every step of the process.
- Digital noise factor: The digital blending does not introduce excessive noise to your photographs.
Recently, to improve my digital blending skills, I downloaded a copy of the video course, “The Art of Digital Blending,” by renowned travel photographer and educator, Jimmy McIntyre. After watching the course only for a few minutes, I realized that up to that point I used only 10%, at most, of potential digital blending techniques.
I’ve used Photoshop for years; actually, I started using it with version 3.0, and thought that at this point nothing could surprise me about Photoshop. But, Jimmy managed to do just that.
After watching this course twice, I realized that I could significantly improve my photography by introducing changes and modifications not only to my post-processing workflow but to my shooting techniques as well. [Read more…]