The HDR Tutorials I’ve written on this site come from the perspective of someone who, prior to 2009, not only didn’t know anything about HDR Photography, but who also knew very little about plain ole Photography itself. If the images I’ve posted throughout this site impress you, have comfort in knowing that I, a complete amateur/newbie/wannabe photographer, shot and post-processed them… And you can too!
There are many ways to process HDR images by using either stand-alone products, such as Photomatix Pro, or by using a combination of products, including Adobe Photoshop along with additional plugins. I personally use a combination of the following programs and plugins:
Adobe Photoshop CS5
Adobe Lightroom 3
Dfine, Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 3.0, Silver Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro – All of these are by Nik Software
Topaz Adjust by Topaz Labs
Photo Tools 2.6 by onOne Software
If you only have access to a single program, you’ll be somewhat limited with what you can do. Don’t fret though, the images you create will still impress the heck out of you and your friends.To truly create some of the best HDR images, however, you really need to use a handful of different programs. The stunning HDR photos you’ve already seen online were created by extracting as many details from a scene as possible. Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a stand-alone software product that can extract the fine details from every area of an image with the fine tuning that’s necessary.
If you don’t yet have even a single program, I highly recommend you use Photomatix Pro. Photomatix Pro is what I first started with and is the reason I developed such a passion for HDR Photography. You can download a 30-day free trial at the HDRSoft.com website.