How To Blend Braketed Exposures For HDR In Adobe Photoshop | DENIS L. | Skillshare

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How To Blend Braketed Exposures For HDR In Adobe Photoshop

teacher avatar DENIS L., Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Exposure Blending

    • 3. Project

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About This Class

While some HDR programs nowadays produce very natural, clean HDR images, luminosity masks do not affect the original files at all, so there is literally zero image degradation during the blending process. That is why so many digital photographers are beginning to make luminosity masks a staple in their workflow.

Ideally, the exposures you choose to blend should cover the full range of light in a given scene. Your brightest exposure should contain information in the darker areas, while your darkest exposure should contain information in the brightest areas. You are not limited to the number of exposures you can blend. Sometimes, in scenes of extremely high contrast, you may need to use as many as five to ensure a smooth transition between exposures and to cover the full range of light in the scene.

The order you choose to layer the exposures in Photoshop is dependent on your personal preference and the exposures you’re working with. Usually working with your normally exposed image as the base layer will derive the best results, but sometimes you may need to work with a darker or brighter exposure as your base layer. In this tutorial we will select three exposures using the normal exposure as our base layer to blend and create a natural looking HDR image. My blogs

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Denis G Lemay was brought up in a little coastal town of Biddeford Maine, served in Vietnam in 1968 in the army corps of engineer, then in 1971 went to school in NY to persue the field of professional photography, and relocated to a little Dutch town of Kutztown Pennsylvania where he owned and operated Rembrandt Studios in two different locations. In 1998 Denis relocated to Wilmington North Carolina where he now owns and operates Ocean View Photography located near Wrightsville Beach NC. 


Past affiliations are PPA, WPPI, IPPG, OPHF, and CFCC. Exhibited at KU, WPPI, OPHF,NYIP. 

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. I'm Dennis LeMay today. I want to talk about exposure, blending using layers, layer masks and luminosity masks in photo shop. Now you're going to run into situations where your highlights and shadows have a drastic difference in exposure. And what we're going to do is combine three exposures to create a natural looking hey HDR image. So we're going to go from this to this. So in our next segment, we're going to cover that in photo shop, and so I will make sure that I talk to you that 2. Exposure Blending: Hi, everyone. I'm Dennis LeMay. Welcome to exposure, blending and photo shop. Just remember that, um, in order to get best results in your post processing, you need to acquire the best possible exposure. That's important. So familiarize yourself with your settings on the camera and, um, showed for the best exposures when shorting for exposure. Blending I use a tripod. I use the same f stop. I used manual mode, manual focus and live you. If you don't have live you, that's fine. Normally I shoot five or six exposures of the same image at one stop increments, usually by changing the shutter speed. The F stop needs to be the same on all of the exposures. Sometimes I'll shoot more than five or six. I will shoot 10 maybe 15. That's up to you. In this case, I have a an image of a an old church with the cemetery in the background. And, um, we have five images of ah, at one stop increments. I have chosen number 74 76 78. Ah, 76 is my zero. Exposure 74 is minus two and 78 is plus two. I feel that those three will suit my purpose for exposure blending so that we can acquire a natural looking HDR. I've already loaded these into Photoshopped and if you use bridge, all you need do is go to tools, photo shop load files in Photoshopped layers or you can copy and paste. If you have light room, edit as layers in photo shop. No, I have these in photo shop already. So let's ah, let's run over there and start working there. Here is my top image, which is minus two or minus two. Ref stops our normal exposure and these were all taken with same f stop. It's minus two Ah, shutter speeds actually not have stops. These were all taken in F 18 and by changing the shutter speed one stop. This is my zero exposure and this is my plus two exposure or to shutter speeds. Okay. But it's important that you use the same f stop for all your exposures. Now, in order to do what we're going to do, you need to be familiar with layers, layer masks and luminosity masks. If you're not, you need to view my tutorial on understanding layers and layer masks and also my tutorial on how to create and use luminosity masks. All right. Once you loaded your three images into photo shop, you need to highlight all three images and then go to add it. Auto align layers. Make sure it's on auto and click OK, which I've already done, and photo shot will automatically align your photos according to subject content. And if you want to make sure that they're lying, highlight the three images. Go into your blend modes and click on difference. And if you don't see any white lines where the roofs are or horizon are any white lines anywhere, you're good. All right, Now we're ready, and then you can crop. All right, this image has already been aligned and corrupt. Now I have already created my luminosity masks. I have 18 masks that have created already. I have in action for luminosity mass and photo shop automatically creates these six bright masks, six dark masks and six mid tone masks. Now first thing you need to do is to make sure that your foreground background is black and white. If it's not click D on your keyboard, that'll automatically change it. The black and white Also, there's a narrow here where you can alternate between black and white on the foreground background. Next thing we want to do is to create two masks because we're going to take the detail in this building where the highlights are, and put some of that into here, where it's a little bright, and then we're going to take the information from here and put some of that in here where it's fairly dark so that we can blend this image together to create the first mask we need to put a black mass on. The first image on the way to do that is option. Hold the option key down and click on Create landmass icon on the bottom. It creates a black mask. Black match will cover that first image on the second image. Zero image. We want to create a white mask. You don't have to hold a keyboard, and you just click on. Create a layer mask and it's white. Okay, no mask on the bottom. You're zero images, usually in the middle all the time, and you're under exposing overexposed or either on the bottom or top. All right, we're going to start by putting some information into the highlights where it's a little bright. So we're gonna go to our bright masks and select a bright mast for that area. In this case, we're gonna go to rights for by selecting Brite's four and command click on Brite's Four for a Shop has selected on Lee the bright areas and this image that we want to work with. Everything black will be unaffected. Any graze will be proportionately affected. So let's go to layers, click on the black mask and to remove the ants. We click on command hedge, but the selection is still there. Now we're going to get our brush and we need to set it. Ah, medium brush about 50%. And, uh, we're gonna expand brush a little bit about here now because we're using a black mask. We need to make sure that the foreground is white by clicking here, White adds, Black takes away what we add, and we want Theo pay city at about 100% for this. So we're gonna change that 200%. Sometimes I use 50% sometimes 75 but in this case is going to use 100% All we need to do now is to go across the image and you can see Photo Shop is taking that information from the top image and placing it on to the zero image, the top images and minus to okay, we're gonna go over it again until we're satisfied with the amount of information that's on there. Your image is gonna look flat. But that's okay, because we're going to correct that later. Okay, maybe one more time. That's about it. All right, that's plenty. You can see photo shop is only affecting that area, and it's splendid in your all right. Hey, once it's done now, I can still put a little bit of, um, more mid tone in there by selecting a, um, mid tones to mass. Let's say and go back to layers, click on my mask again. Commander H and I don't want to put too much on there, so I'm gonna go with a 10% or pasty on the brush this time right up here. And then I'm gonna run that across, and that will put a little more mid tone into this building, particularly in those windows. Shorten the brush a little bit right in here. We don't want to overdo it with that. That's about right. Really? Maybe a little more in here. All right, maybe in the grass. A little bit. Yeah, for some tone, and they're a little more. Okay, now we're gonna work with the dark areas, so we need to click on the white mask, go into channels and pick a darks luminosity mask. In this case, I think we're going to choose a darks four command darks for that's how you select a mass command docks for. And Photoshopped has selected all the dark areas. Anything black will be unaffected. I'm not gonna worry about the sky because we're not going up there anyhow. Okay. White mask, command age to remove the ants and expand its brush a little bit. Put it at 100% now because we're using a white mask this time. We need to reverse this to a black on top before ground. Now we can go over these dark areas and you can see photo shop is lightning those dark areas. Okay, You do that once more. I'm here. Here we go. But, um, grass here and tombstones. I'm here. I'm here, and we might even hit these windows a little bit. Okay. All right. Here. All right. Okay. It looks bit flat, but again, don't worry about that just yet. Now, let's go to channels again and select the mid tones to very seldom today. Not too often I use the midterms, but in this case, all right, go back to the mask. The white mask, command age. And I'm just going to go over the dark areas here, and we're gonna put it a 10% again, maybe even 20% and go into the grassy area. It's not putting a whole lot in there, but it is putting some in. You can see that. I think we could have gone to 30%. Okay. All right, that's just enough. Okay, Now, let's see what happens when we had some tonal contrast. This so we're gonna do is in this case, select a top image go to before we do that. Let's create a flatten image. And the way I do that is a select all three layers. I don't want to lose these three layers. So if I hold my option key right, click and click on merge layers that will give me a flattened image, but it also preserves the layers underneath in case I want to come back and work on this some more. Now I'm going to go to adjustments. Well, before I do that command D to remove any selection I might have. All right now I go to adjustments, click on curves, goes my blend mode, click on overlay and look what happened. Okay, that might be a little too much. Let's try soft light. That's a little better. Look at that tremendous amount of detail there. Okay, now the blue is a little strong, or if you want to tone it down, all you need do is go toe up a city and slide all the way down and then come up until you feel comfortable with the amount of contrast. It's on the image. I like it 100% but the blue is a little strong, so I can go to adjustments. Click on hue and saturation and right where it says master, scroll down to blue and just kind of slide back on the saturation until you feel the blue is where it needs to be. All right about there I think. Okay, now, I'd like to merge these three with the flat damage, so I'm gonna click on the top image. Hold, Chef, select these three option right click merged layers that will give me a flattened image on top of these three layers so that if I want to come back, I can. Okay, Yeah. Let me show you another trick here. I'd like to see some a lot of detail in here make it look really rough. And one way to do that is to go to you're burning Dodge too. But before I do, let me duplicate this center so we can compare it. Command J duplicates the image. So if you go to the Dodge and burn tool, click on Dodge and right up here where it says range scroll to highlights, and about 9% is good and just got kind of go over the tombstone and just keep doing this. Just make it brighter and brighter on the highlights. Same thing here. Just keep going over it. If you want to increase that, you can. Let's say you increase it to 20%. I just go over the tombstone. Look at that. Okay. over here. Now you're going to find that sometimes you get a color change or colors shift. If that happens like this tombstones turning blue. Just put your blend mode to luminosity That will keep the color from changing. Okay, just I'm gonna exaggerate this. Some just gonna keep going over this. Enlighten those highlights. Really make the stone look old. All these stones here they get that. I can even change that. Teoh, let's say mid tones and right in the mid tones up a little bit. And that's it. About 20% yet. And then I'll go to burn, put her on shadows about 6% and just burned shadows. Some make the shadows darker, like attack is before and after. Now I went beyond this tombstone here. Um, So you what? You need to take a time when you do this. If you do go beyond it, just put a mask up there and, ah, grab a small brush. Put 100% and you can remove that very easily. Click on that. Ah, the brush 100% make a small brush and just kind of remove it. You can do that, but if you take your time. You won't have to do that. I'm doing this fairly fast for the video sake. Here you go. Yeah, there is difference right there. Beautiful. Okay, there you are. That's how you blend in your images. If you want to see a before and after, that's easy enough to Dio. I'll take this zero image duplicated. Take out the mask hair, put it on the bottom And all you have to do is hold the option key. Click on the eye on the bottom and there's two before and after. Now again, I did this fairly fast. You want to take more time when you do this to be more accurate and, um, do a better job on the collar and the blending and all, but this gives you an idea of how to blend exposures. So try it out. And, um and good luck 3. Project: Okay. It's project time. What I'd like you to do is to find an image where you have ah, drastic difference between highlights and shadows. Shoot 5 to 6 exposures. At least six exposures use the same F stop showed at one stop increments. Changing the shutter speed. Use a tripod shoot manual mode. Manual focus. Once you've done that, load him into for a shop. Choose three that you think you could use to blend together. Used a technique that you learned through this tutorial. And once you're done, I upload that image into our project files. Everybody can learn from that. We learned from each other. Remember that. And, um, show us a before and after image and, um, hope to see you there. Thank you for listening. And we'll talk to you next time again. Dennis LeMay.