Jul 13

HDR in Photoshop Tutorial

HDR in Photoshop Tutorial

In photography, HDR stands for “high dynamic range.” By combining three photographs with different exposures, a more dynamic scene appears, a scene that’s closer to what your eyes see than what the camera sees. Because we’re in the 21st century, smart phones have an option for this and all you do it take one pictures and it spits out an “HDR” photograph. However, this doesn’t compare to HDR photos taken with a DSLR. You must take at least three different pictures and combine them in photoshop later. Or, for those of us who don’t think about taking three photographs of everything, there is a way to fake HDR in photoshop, which is what you’re about to learn how to do with this HDR tutorial. First, here is my original image:


Open your file in photoshop and start by duplicating the background layer twice so that you have three layers of the same picture. You can do this by pressing CTRL + J, or going to Layer -> Duplicate Layer two times.



While working in the middle layer, change the blending mode from normal to Overlay.

2 - Middle Overlay

Still working in the middle layer, desaturate the layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U. Your main image in photoshop won’t look any different just yet.

3 - Desaturate:Sht Ctrl U

Staying in the middle layer for two more steps, invert the image by pressing CTRL+ I (the letter i).

4 - Invert Ctrl I

Next, apply Gaussian Blur to the middle layer by clicking Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur, then selecting a radius around 50 pixels.

5 - Gaussian1

6 - Gaussian2

Now switching to the top layer, apply a High Pass filter by clicking Filter -> Other -> High Pass and choose a radius around 60 pixels.

7 - high pass

8 - high pass2

Switch the Blending Mode on the top layer from normal to Overlay.

9 - overlayTop

If you feel the effect is too intense, you may change the opacities on the top or middle layers in order to create an effect closer to what you are looking for.

10 - change opactiy

In order to really make those details pop, an extra step is to copy the top layer (select the top layer and press CTRL+J)

11 - copy top layer

You’re finally done! In order to save the file as a JPG, you can flatten the image and save.

12 - Flatten image

Here is my final result from my original photograph!


Share your HDR photos with me! Email them to visionsphotographybyashley@gmail.com


~ Ashley


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