HDR Photo Editing: Perfecting Light and Detail | Learn with macphun | Matt Suess | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

HDR Photo Editing: Perfecting Light and Detail | Learn with macphun

teacher avatar Matt Suess, Fine Art Photographer

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      HDR Editing Basics: Presets


    • 3.

      Adding Your Personal Style


    • 4.

      Working with Layers


    • 5.

      Snapheal Mini Lesson


    • 6.

      Ghost Reduction and Lighting


    • 7.

      Selective Editing: Painting the Detail


    • 8.

      The HDR Look in a Single Exposure


    • 9.



    • 10.

      Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Ready to take your HDR skills to the next level? Join photographer Matt Suess as he walks through his editing process for crafting artistic, high-contrast photos that jump off the screen!

This 45-minute class uses step-by-step screencasts to show techniques and tricks, including:

  • Editing with layers to "paint in" detail
  • Ghost reduction (i.e. a fix when images don't merge perfectly)
  • Creating the HDR effect with a single exposure
  • Quickly removing unwanted objects with Snapheal

Throughout the lessons, Matt works in Macphun's Aurora HDR software (free trial here) while sharing tips applicable to all photo editing.

This class is ideal for those seeking an intermediate, in-depth look at HDR post-processing. It's a follow up to Matt's first Skillshare class on the basics: Intro to HDR Photography: Shooting and Editing.

By the end, you'll have a strong understanding of how to process your own HDR photographs — and be ready to share them for feedback with the class community.



What is HDR? Cameras can't always capture the full tonal range of an image, from the brightest brights to the darkest darks. That's where HDR (high dynamic range) photography comes in: a special technique to help you capture as much detail in your highlights as in your shadows, creating vivid imagery in otherwise tricky-to-photograph scenes. For more background, be sure to check out Matt's first class.

© Matt Suess Photography

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Matt Suess

Fine Art Photographer


A professional photographer for 26 years, Matt Suess has established himself as one of the leading fine art landscape photographers and photo workshop teachers in the Southwest, if not the US. Specializing in large panoramic photographs - some spanning 12 feet - full of bright bold colors, contrast, and detail printed on aluminum, Matt has obtained collectors worldwide.

He has exhibited in 8 states out west at such heavily juried shows as La Quinta, Utah Arts Festival, Jackson Hole Art Festival, Indio Arts Festival, and the Crested Butte Art Festival. His main exhibition each year is the prestigious 10-week Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale where he has been showing and selling his fine art photography for the past 3 years.

He is also an accomplished photography educat... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Matt Suess, and welcome to my online class on post-processing your photos with MacPhun's awesome Aurora HDR Pro software. If you saw my earlier class, it's going to give you a really nice background on HDR photography. HDR photography stands for High Dynamic Range. It's a technique that we use to compensate for the lack of detail and lack of tonal range that our camera sensors can photograph when we're out there. Our cameras are great but they can't always capture the full spectrum of the tonal range from the brightest brights to the darkest darks. So we use HDR and we use multiple exposures to take all those pictures all at once, and then in special software, we blend all those exposures together so that we can then have a photo that has detail in the shadows and still has detail in the highlights, especially on those really tricky to photograph scenes. By taking this course, you're going to get a really great understanding on how to process your own HDR photographs. You may not have photographs of old cars and trucks but you may have HDR photographs of landscapes or of interiors. This class is going to give you a really good working knowledge of working in this program, and hopefully, spur some creativity. Photography is a really great art form, and in a sense, it's personal too, there's not a whole lot of right and wrong. I mean, you have some technical things here, you want to make sure your exposures are right but when it comes to the post-processing, that is where you can really become an artist and express your creativity and your vision through photography the things that you can do to your photo creatively, artistically. It's the best HDR software out there. I love it. I use it all the time and you're going to see why. We're going to be able to work in layers which none of the other programs can do. There are so many cool presets that get you started and so much other fine tuning control that I know you're going to love this software. So, let's start working on some photos and we'll bring in our first bracketed series into MacPhun's Aurora HDR Pro. 2. HDR Editing Basics: Presets: I'm using the Aurora HDR Pro as the standalone version and I'm keeping it simple here. I got my raw files, they're on my hard drive and I'm just going to use the finder. The easiest way to get these into the program, this is so cool, just go ahead and select the three photos that you want to bring into our Aurora HDR and just drag them right onto Aurora's program icon. Once you do that, you're going to have this dialogue come up, and this is prior to being able to work on the photo. We have a couple key settings that we have to establish here first, and you can see here that we have the three bracketed photos that I did. I happen to do these on a plus two, a minus two, and a zero for my exposure differences between all three of the exposures. So, I was able to get all the detail in the highlights and all the detail in the shadows. This is what we're seeing here. So this is my brightest photo, that would have been the plus two. Here's my darkest photo, this is at the minus two. Then here's the one that had the middle, the average exposure. Down below here we have three check boxes. The first one is alignment. You're going to want to use the alignment checkbox and have that checked if you did your HDR bracketing handheld, or if you had to manually trip the shutter and hold on to the camera each time you took all three of those exposures. If like me you had your camera lock-down on a tripod and you were using a cable release and you know that camera wasn't moving at all between those three exposures, then you don't need to have that alignment checked. The next checkbox to pay attention to closely is the ghost reduction. Now, ghost reduction is designed to help you if you have any objects that are in the frame itself that are moving. What could those be? That could be people walking through the scene, that could be cars moving through the scene. Typically for me, it is tree branches and leaves and things like that move in on a windy day. If you have any of those in your scene, you're going to want to check the ghost reduction. Because if you don't, the software is going to have a hard time lining up those areas and you might see, especially if it's a person walking, you'll see them actually look like a ghost. Right now in this photo here, there's nothing moving in the background so I am safe. I don't need to do that. The chromatic aberration reduction is the last check box. This one I almost always do just as a default. What this does is it gets rid of those nasty red halos that you'll see especially in the corner of your frame when you have an area that goes from really bright to really dark. Think of those as tree branches in the corner your frame. Tree branches are dark relative to a little lighter sky in the background. If you can see that nasty red going around the branches, check that and that's going to knock out all of that chromatic aberration for you. So, I'm going to check that and I'm going to click on Create HDR. Now, it's important to note that if you have a lot of those checkboxes checked, it's going to take a lot of computing power to process that all in the background. Aurora is going to do that for you but this is one time where it might be a little slow. It's going to take a little while for that to do those calculations and then once it does, you're going to be inside Aurora and everything is going to be fast again. So, now here we are sitting here in Aurora HDR Pro. We're looking now at the interface and on the right hand side is the important part. This is where all my tools are, and there are presets. Aurora comes with some really cool presets and if I click on them here, we have presets that are just basic presets, we have some for a realistic type of an HDR look. If you're not going too crazy into artistic, look through the preset sign. These presets are designed to work with any photo just to try and get you a starting place. So, what I like to do is click on this All on the bottom. If you click on the All, that's going to show you all the presets along the bottom, and you can just click and scroll through. It's always a good idea, I mean, just scrolling through here. Look at all the different looks that I have on this photo. So, when I was looking at this photo a little bit earlier, I came across a preset that I really like that I want to start with, and that was in the indoor presets. This photo here is a really good example of HDR photography because we're photographing the interior of a truck, and we can also see the sky outside. So, in a normal photograph without using HDR, this is a really tough photograph to to get to be able to see all the detail inside and still have detail outside. The only way you could really do this is to use lights and have the interior lit up. But with HDR photography, we take multiple exposures and we blend those altogether and we don't need be bringing studio equipment and studio lighting with us. We're able to do all that magically inside of the software. This one's really cool. There's indoor soft glow. I'm going to start with using this preset. So, I click on that preset and in a moment it loads up the preset and shows us what the look is. If we look on the right hand side under the Tools, every single tool control here that is in orange, that tells me that that is how that preset is created. Presets are combinations of sliders that you use based in all of these categories on the right hand side. If it's not in orange, that means that no settings were done in that particular panels. So, you can use these presets just as is and click on a preset and go ahead and hit File and Save and be done with the photo. But that's only half fun. Presets are really good to get you on the way of where you want to go, and I use them a lot to get me started, and then I like to do a little bit of tinkering and making some adjustments to really modify the look specific to the photo that I have, and also specific to my own personal style. For the most part my style, I like a lot of color and I like a lot of contrast, and so you'll see that in my photos. There's no right or wrong way for personal style. 3. Adding Your Personal Style: Again, photography is an individual art form and we all see things differently. So, I'm going to go through here and I'm going to make some adjustments and these aren't necessarily right or wrong adjustments, they're just adjustments that I kind of like that I want to bring out of this photo. I picked this preset because it had a nice glow to it, you can see detail, but there's also this neat little glow coming out and this is in that image radian. So if I open up this drop-down here, yeah, I had a feeling the amount here is plus 61. If I click on this orange icon over here, what that does is that turns off the panel. So, I just turned off the image radiance. Now, that that's off, you can see how that glow disappeared and little bit of the color saturation also disappeared when I turned that back on. So that's a cool way of seeing a preview of just the panel. If you want to see a preview of all the panels at once, click on the backspace and it's right above your Enter or Return key on the Mac. Click and hold on the backspace and that's going to show you just the raw HDR photo just as it came into Aurora HDR with no adjustments at all and you let go the backspace and you're back to working on the photo with all the adjustments. So, I want to tinker with this photo a little bit and again, I'd like how the presets starting, but I want to see what else I can come up with to maybe put a little bit more of a spin on this photo. First thing I'll take a look at is the raw tone mapping and we have three sliders here; spectrum, spotlighting and final touches. The most sensitive one is that spectrum slider and when you're new to a program, any photo program it is, whether it's Aurora HDR, any other program, the best way to learn about what the sliders do is to just max it out all the way in one direction and then minimize it all the way in the other direction and see the difference in the photo and then start narrowing down the slider to where you really want to have that photo be affected. So, if I'm axis out the ADA, we can see how it brightened up everything. What's really cool though is looking at my histogram, it's not really pushing a whole lot out of the histogram. So, it's still really trying to retain the highlight detail and brighten up the image overall. If I bring this all the way down to minus 100, and we'll take a look, so the histogram started to take shape, it moved to the left and it's bunching up a little bit there, but I can still see a lot of detail in my shadow. So, this spectrum is a nice balance of bringing up and down the mid tones and it does a good job of trying to protect the highlights and the shadows. So, think of it as a nice brightness control. I'm going to adjust the slider to a plus 21 just to brighten up the image just a little bit more. The spot lining and the final touches, these are a little bit more sense or a little less sensitive. So, if I max out this spotlighting here to plus 98 and see what it does, it's going to flatten the image a little bit. I'm almost starting to see a little bit of haloing just around the edges of the photo and I'm going to minus this a little bit and while it's calculating that, that's one thing that I'm trying to avoid with all my photos is I don't want to have halos going around objects. I'm all for artistic expression, but I think at that point there you're starting to get on the technical thing where halos for the most part are objectionable and I'm guilty of it too. In my old days of HDR, I had halos in my photos, but I've now since dial that back, it's always good to push things and then dial it back because by pushing things, you find out where is that threshold for you, you know, you're never going to know where that boundary lies until you push things. I'm going to have the spotlighting being a negative area here and again, it's all personal preference, I kind of like and the same thing with the final touches. I'll bring this up at a maximum, take a look at it and bring this down and you can see that this is doing hardly anything to the photo, just a little tiny fine tuning here and there. Don't stress too much about these sliders here. All the sliders, again, it's all personal preference, there is no right or wrong way to use these. So, it's all how you want to have this final image shown. Highlights, midtones and channels, those are all normal, you know, you have that and any other software program, I'm not seeing any highlights getting blown out, I might actually increase my highlights a little bit here just to brighten up that top edge of the tonal spectrum in my photo. Midtones look pretty good, maybe just boost that up just a little bit more and the shadows. So, I'm going to increase the shadows a little bit more just to try and bring out a little bit more detail underneath the dash. Now, I get this question a lot and it's, how far up can you bring the shadows? With HDR photography, I mean, you can bring up the shadows and get detail everywhere in the shadows, but I'm not really convinced that you need to have all the detail that you can physically bring out of the photo and that's where that whole threshold of your own personal style and taste is. I don't need to see all the detail in the shadows, I'd like to have some dark shadows, you know, even the human eye sometimes can't resolve all the detail that's in the shadows. I think having a nice balance from dark to bright is what really gives your photo a nice pop and a nice contrast. So, bringing up all the shadow detail, you're losing any blacks in the photo and you're going to end up with a really flat photo. The whites, blacks and contrast works the same in any of the other program, I'm happy with the settings that are there right now. I'm going to add though, just a little bit of contrast. Just to give it a little bit more pop inside here. So, let's scroll down and I'm probably not going to go through every single one of these, but I want to see what's going on here with the image radians because I do like that glow, but I want to maybe boost that just a little bit more and pop that just to really there we go. We can see how that, it's given a glow, but it's also affecting some of the contrast too and it's given the image a lot more pop and let's see, I maybe increase the brightness of that a little bit too. Let's see what that looks like, oh, there we go, yeah, actually let's increase that a little bit more. We'll scroll down, this has a lot of color in it already. I'm almost starting to push it where it's getting to be too colorful, but I do want to see what the smart colorized does to this photo, yeah. You can see I added 33 on this and the reds on my door is starting to get a little too bright. So, I'm going to skip that just a touch like a plus five, there we go. You know, in terms of saturation, one thing that I try and stay away from, that is a tell-tale sign that I'm given too much saturation is that if I start losing detail in that particular color. So, this door being red, I was increasing the saturation and starting to lose a little bit of that texture into the door. So, I want to back off on that. The warmth I don't need to adjust this photo's plenty warm, looks good. I have color adjustments here, but I'm happy with the color adjustments, I don't think I need to do anything with that. Okay, all these other settings, I'm pretty good with. So, what I want to do now is, I'd like where this photo's going, I have a nice base of adjustments here. I got some good tone, some good raw tone mapping and so nice image radians and color. I want to really fine tune a little bit of the detail in this photo and rather than continuing doing this globally, I want to do what's called selective editing and I'm going to paint in this effect in specific areas into the photo and that's where Aurora just really so awesome because, what I'm going to do, I'm going to make a new layer and I'm going to have those detail adjustments on that separate layer and I'm going to paint in just where I want to have that. 4. Working with Layers: So, check this out. Up on top here, I got this plus, and I'm going to click on that, and it's going to add a new layer. I can rename it, and let's just call this interior details, and I'll hit enter. Now, I know that I'm working on the interior details layer, because that one has a little bit of a lighter gray, and right along where the words are. All my controls, have now all zeroed out. So, check this out. I have a new layer, with a full slate of controls that I can do. So, let's go down into the structure, because I want to bring out a little bit more detail inside that car, let's add a little bit of clarity, and let's take a look at this HDR look. I'm going to bump up the amount, and look at what it's doing. We're getting just tons of detail inside here. Now, notice what else is happening in this photo. I'm getting haloing up around the top, where the sky is coming along the edge of the car. That's what I want to avoid. Right now, ignore it. Just focus on the interior, and the detail that's going on in the interior. So, I'm going to add just a little bit more HDR detail inside there, and just look at how this interior is just popping. Now, I don't like the halos, I want to get rid of the halos, so, check this out. I'm going to go up on top, and I'm going to click on my brush tool. This gives me brushes, and it starts with an opacity of 50, and you can control the size, and softness, typical brush controls that you have in any other software package, I could decrease the brush size, which is what I want to do, there's a really cool shortcut, keyboard shortcut, that you can do to increase and decrease your brush size, and that is your left and right bracket keys. So, if you click on your left bracket key, that's going to shrink your brush size, click on the right bracket key, it's going to increase your brush size. In addition to that keyboard shortcut, you can also use a keyboard shortcut to increase and decrease the feathering. You're going to be using those bracket keys, but hold onto the shift key while doing it. Then that's going to increase, or decrease your feathering. So, I'm going to get a real nice feathering on here, and I'm going to shrink my brush size down to about here, and watch what happens to my image once I start using the brush. As soon as I start using the brush, all of a sudden, the image reset to what we saw in my original layer, and now, I am painting in all that detail that we saw globally, I'm now painting it in just to the interior of the car. How can we tell that? Well, if we look over here in my layers palette, we can see that that's lighter gray, everything else is black, and this is lighter gray. The lighter gray, that's telling me where I'm painting this in. I can also click up on top here to the right of mask, on that eye dropper, so now I can see that red mask overlay on my photo, and know exactly where I'm painting. Now, I started painting in an opacity of 50 percent, that is cumulative. So, each time you use your brush, if I brushed over this again, that's now going to be at a 100 percent in the center here. If I started with a lower opacity of say 20, each time I use the brush, it's going to be 20, then it will be equivalent of 40 percent, and so on. So, use the brush opacity to really feather in you're brushing, and you're masking, and then you can make it so that no one can even tell that you are using any brushes and masks. So, I'm just going to finish off, just giving this a little bit more on the interior here, and you can see I'm spilling over just a little bit, yeah. I don't have to be super accurate, and we'll verify that once I do this painting in, and see if what we see any spillover. So, we'll get that edge there, and I'm gong to leave the top. I don't want to add detail to the top. So, let me turn off that mask preview, and yeah, look at that. Look at how that center just totally pops. We want to see the before, and after of just that layer, to the left, we have this orange circle, if I click on that orange circle, that orange disappears, and it turns off that layer. Turn that back on, and we can see the detail that I brought in. I just want to give just a little bit more of a pop into the interior. Now, I'm pretty much happy with this photo. I like the results that I have here. At this point, I've achieved the goals that I wanted to. I wanted to have a natural look, but I wanted to push it a little bit, especially where there was a lot of cool detail, and texture, and that's all in the interior of this car, and I was able to achieve that by adding an extra layer. I could go further with this photo if I want by adding additional layers, and control in other areas of the photo, but, for me, I like this photo. The only things I don't like about this photo, well, when I photographed this, I got this line up here, it's a plane contrail, and I have some dust spots. I'm going to detour for just a second out of Aurora HDR just to show you how easy it is to switch between programs, in particular, some of the other programs that MacFun has. Before I do that though, I want to save this file. I'm going to click save as, and if I do a save as, it is going to allow me to save this with the file extension MPAU. Now, that is proprietary to Aurora HDR. If you save it in that file format, it saves everything. It saves your layers, it saves all your adjustments that you made, so, you may be done with this for right now, but you want to take a break, and come back to it later. So, save it this way, you have your master. So, that finished saving, and we're going to take just a real quick detour, I know this is all about a Aurora HDR, but MacFun makes some other cool software. We're going to click on this, and we're going to go to snapheal. So, I click on that, and it's going to process the image into a format that snapheal can use. 5. Snapheal Mini Lesson: Okay. So here we are in Snapheal, just going to do this real quick here. I'm going to shrink down my brush size, and I'm going to switch this to a local adjustment, and I'm just going to paint over that contrail, and while I'm here, get rid of a couple annoying dust spots that are always in my cameras because I'm always out shooting in the desert and getting lots of sand and dust in there and everything. Okay. So I have the contrail highlighted and all the dust spots, I'm going to click on this big erase button and it's going to do it's magic. It's done. The contrail is gone, and from here, I can now Save As, and let's say I'll save this as a TIFF and bring that back to my folder. I don't like saving TIFFs with compression so I'll save no compression and click on Save, and then that finished photo is all set and on my hard drive. 6. Ghost Reduction and Lighting: All right. So, we got some pretty cool results out of that first photo. I'm going to take another series of bracketed photos and I want to show you a couple other cool features and tricks inside of Aurora HDR. So, let's take a look at this three photo bracketed series here. Again, I'm just going to drag this into Aurora HDR onto the icon. Now, this photo here, we got that tree in the background. I remember when I was photographing, we did have a little bit of a wind. So, on this one here, I'm going to want to check that Ghost Reduction box. As I mentioned in the last videos, I always have the Chromatic Aberration box checked. Alignment, I don't have to worry about. The wind wasn't that bad so my camera wasn't moving on the tripod. So, that will leave unchecked and I'm going hit create HDR. Now, this didn't happen before when we didn't have the Ghost Reduction box checked. But now, because we're doing ghost reduction, it has these options for us. The first option that we have is the referenced image. So, what that means is that it's going to base all the calculations off of one of the specific images that we're choosing. Usually, I like to choose the one that was underexposed. The reason why I like to do that is because that's the one that usually has my fastest shutter speed. So, if I'm using the fastest shutter speed that's going to minimize any chance of me having any of the leaves that are blurring because of that motion. The second thing that we can choose here is the amount. Now, it always defaults to medium and we have options for low, medium, high and highest. I'm going to choose medium and I always start with that. Then what I'm going do is click on "create HDR." What you want to do is once this photo loads into the program, you want to check in zoom in onto your unto the tree branches and see if you see any ghosting at all, see if you see any movement. If you do, you're going to want to close out the photo right away, open it up again and then try adjusting the settings. I would first start trying with the amount and maybe try a higher amount. Then if that's still not getting to where you are, try using one of the different reference images. If you have one of those tricky photos, it's going to be one of those combinations that's the magic formula for that particular scene. Most of the time though, it works just good for me on that medium. Okay, here we are in Aurora HDR and it has now merged all those bracketed photos together. Remember because I was doing the Ghost Reduction, the first thing I want to do is zoom right and I'll just click right up here to 100% and zoom right in and take a good look at this tree. I'm just going to wait for this orange bar to stop moving along the top there that means that tells me that it's going to be finished processing. I'm just looking for anything that looks a little crazy. I'm not seeing anything so that means that the Ghost Reduction did a good job. I'm not seeing any ghosting of the leaves or the trees, I'm not seeing any duplicates or any errors at all or anything like that. So, I don't need to reopen this. Ghost Reduction did a great job on medium. Let's zoom back out. I'm going to hit my keyboard shortcut command zero. I'm not even going start with a preset because I liked the tone mapping that it did right out of the bag here, right out of the gate. I got nice detail in my clouds in the sky. I have nice detail in the foreground. I'm going to go though to the tone controls and I am going to increase the shadow detail. Look at how that's opening up the shadow detail in those buildings in the background. That is really cool. Let's see here maybe open up the mid-tones just a little bit as well. Looking at my histogram, I have a little bit of space here in my brightest areas there. So, that tells me I can increase my whites just a little bit too. This is going to give the photo a little bit more of a brighter appearance and also give me a wider tonal range now between white and black. My blacks look good. I am going to increase the contrast just a little bit and that's shaping up pretty good. I'm going to take a look at clarity and increase it a little bit. I'm not going to and the reason being I have enough texture in detail in the sky. I don't want to add more clarity or detail or any structure to this base layer. If I wanted to add more detail and I think I might want to do that to the trucks in here. I'm going to do that in a separate layer. Before I do that, I'm going to scroll down and just make a couple other base adjustments to this layer. Let's take a look at the image radiance. That worked out really good in that last photo. I'm just going to bump this up to 50%. It looks a little bit too much for my taste on this photo. So, I'm going to back off on the image radiance and just give it just a little bit of a boost. Plus 15 on that, let's increase the Smart Colorize a little bit. Enhance those colors in there, good. We're going to scroll down. Now, this slider here or this panel here I love. Now, this is top and bottom lighting. Check out how this works. I have controls for top, bottom and blend. If I click and drag and increase my top control here, what that's doing is brightening up the top part of my photo. I can go and in the negative direction, darken the top part of my photo. Same thing with the bottom. I can increase the brightness of the bottom and decrease the brightness of the bottom. This blend slider by clicking and holding on that, that allows me to increase the feathering of those two control. So, the top controls and the bottom controls, I can feather those together and I can bring this all the way down with no feathering at all and let me just make a real hard adjustment here so you can see. See how that hard edge line that I have gone there right now. That's because by blending this like basically nothing. If I increase my blending, that increases the feathering, smooths out that transition, so it hides that effect. You can creatively hide that effect and this top and bottom lighting, especially the top lighting, this is going to mimic your graduated neutral density filter that you would use out in the field. So, if you're going to be able to do this now in Aurora HDR, you don't have to spend all that money on getting those really expensive filters. Minus the top just a little bit here. So I'm going to minus that at 20 and I'm going to increase the bottom and brighten up that bottom just a little bit. So, it looks through the HDR processor was darkening that just a little. The blend. I'm going to have a real nice feathering on that and then under orientation, we can adjust the shift. So, I can recenter this and move this up and down depending on where I want to put that. Where I want to have the tonality line B and rotation. So, if you're doing this, this is a horizontal photo and I have a level landscape. But if you had a, let's say, you had a mountain or a hill that was going down at an angle, you can adjust that rotation slider and you can then angle your top and bottom lighting. So, I'm just going to leave that back at zero. Let's see. Let's turn that on and off that top and bottom lightning and look at the difference that made. So, I'm just using slight adjustments but even slight adjustments you do a whole bunch of slight adjustments and they add up to big adjustments. Tone curve, for those of you who use to use curves in Photoshop, you're familiar with them. I don't use it all the time but it is a good quick way to give you a little bit of pop in your photo. You can add a nice S curve and give a little bit more contrast to it. Let me see how that looked before and after. So, add it just a little bit of contrast in there. Color filter, this is really cool if you want to adjust specific color ranges in your photo and you want to adjust the saturation or the luminance, we can take a look here. I've increased the saturation of the blue. I'm doing this at an extreme just to show you how it's affecting all the blue in my sky. I have some good saturation in the sky. I might just add that as a plus eight and the luminance, you can switch on to luminance and you can darken the sky by minusing that blue slider. Look at how much of a real deep rich blue you can get out of this. I'm not going to go too crazy. Maybe just minus that a- I already did some darkening of that sky with the previous adjustments that I was doing. Just a couple of quick tours of some of the other things, we have some color toning. This is really cool if you have a color cast in your highlights or in your shadows. You can adjust these and you have the hue and saturation adjustments here. Give those a whirl if your shadows, you need- you need to warm up your shadows. I sometimes have to do that a lot. That's one aspect where I'll click on the shadows and bring the tint to a warm color and increase the saturation and then I can vary the balance and the amount. Vignette, I liked doing vignettes to a lot of my photos. So, maybe I'll just add just a slight vignette here. 7. Selective Editing: Painting the Detail: Okay. Now, through all the adjustments that I've made, it made my shadows go just a little bit darker, so I'm going to scroll all the way back up to the top and just give a little bit of an extra boost to my shadows. While I'm here, I want to scroll down and let's see here, under color temperature, I'm going to add just a little bit of warmth. There we go. I can increase my whites a little bit now as well because I had darkened them down a little bit through some of the other corrections that were happening and maybe just increase the smart toning just a little bit too. There we go. Let's take a look at the overall before and after. So, got a flat photo here, not bad, straight out of the gate with the HDR toning and now look at this photo, it's really starting to jump. Let's make a new layer and we'll just call this details and hit enter and I'm just going to go down to my structure and add some of the HDR look. Now here, here's a great example. I'm going to max out my HDR look. Here is what you see when it's typical where people say that you've gone too far. Look at this hail that came around the tree here, look at my clouds, the shadows and my clouds have almost gone black. There are times that you might want to break the rules and have it go that dark. But if you're going to break the rules, you got to ask yourself why you're doing it and you got to give a good reason as to why you're doing it. And maybe for some reason you wanted to have a real moody photo and you needed that dark cloud because your whole foreground is dark, okay, that's going to be a good way to break the rules. In this photo here, this is photographed in the middle of the day pretty much, your clouds are not normally going to be that dark. So, I can't really give a good reason why I can break the rules and have my shadows be really dark in the clouds. So, this is where, it's not really a good idea to have this HDR look pushed that far and in addition to that halo going on around there. Because I'm on a new layer, because I'm going to be painting in the detail, I can ignore all this up here because we're not going to see this in the final photo, I'm really just concerned with the detail that I'm getting down in here. So, if I turn on and off this structure, and look at the structure that I'm bringing out in here and look at that popping inside there. That's not as noticeable or objectionable because that's all heavy machinery and I'm bringing out the detail in there. So, now that I cranked out that HDR look, I am now going to go up to my brush, click on my brush and I'm going to adjust the brush size and the feathering and now as soon as I start painting that real nasty HDR look that I have in the sky is going to disappear and I'm just going to be painting that in to the middle area of the photo. All right. As I mentioned before, I can turn on and off that layer and we can see the detail before and after. I got some really good detail and they're really cool. Last thing I want to do is crop this image. We can crop this up on top here, click on the scissor icon and we have the Ratio here, I can click on a Free form. This was shot in a two to three format, so I'm going to click on two to three so it's going to lock in those proportions and I just want to crop in just a little bit and maybe have too much foreground in this picture, give that a little bit better of a crop there. There we go, just a slight adjustment and I'll click on crop. So aside from having some dark spots in here that I might want to get rid of. All right, I definitely want to get rid of, not many, but I definitely want to get rid of in snap heel. This is a finished photo for me and I really like the results of this. Let's take a look before and after. You can see I'm not pushing the envelope, I got a real nice, crisp, detailed photo that even photographed at almost high noon. This looks pretty done good. 8. The HDR Look in a Single Exposure: Before this class ends, I've got to show you just a couple other tricks and some cool features about Aurora HDR. I'm just going to go through this real quick here. I've been working in multiple exposures, bracketed shots. Don't be afraid to just bring in a single exposure into Aurora, and you'll be amazed at what it can do even on a single exposure. So, I'm just going to take this. I did shoot this as a bracketed photo, but let's just take one photo going into Aurora, and I'll drag that onto the program icon. So, the dialogue pops up, we have just one photo. We don't have the other controls that we had before, the other adjustments. There is no alignment because there's only one photo. There's no ghosts reduction. Again, there's only one photo. We do have chromatic aberration though, chromatic aberration reduction. So, again, I'll check that and click Create HDR. This time, because it's only one photo, chromatic aberration is going to go a lot faster, and we're going to start working on just a single exposure. Now, because we are just working on a single image, we do not have that tone mapping control anymore, so we have regular tone controls. We just don't have that tone mapping. The tone mapping is for merging multiple exposures. I'm not going to go through and adjust all these settings. We know how to do that. I'm just going to go down here and take a quick peek at a preset, and let's just take a look at Landscape Enhanced. Pretty good job. Gives me some good color here. I can go down my, the top half is still a little bit too dark. How do we take care of that? We add one of those digital neutral density filters, graduated neutral density filters by scrolling down over here in the top to bottom lining. Might darken that just a little bit. Look at that sky coming into shape. Maybe it will open up the bottom just a little bit, and I will scroll up to the tone controls now, and open up my shadows. There we go. Add a little bit of the midtones, and look at that. In just a couple of seconds here, before and after. Peak difference already on this photo, so that's one thing. I want to tell you is that, don't be afraid to put single exposure images through Aurora HDR. Look at how good this photo is just really quickly. Again, I could go with the multiple layers and do a whole bunch of things, and speaking about layers, let's do that. Let's add another layer, and I'm just going to, we'll just call this details again, and I'm just going to do this for dramatic purposes only for this video. I'll bump up the HDR look, and okay let's look and really grungy. I'm going to paint in. So, I grab my brush and I'll paint in because I just want it, just in that car area here. Let me give it another hit with the brush, and let's see here. Let's do a before and after. So, look at that. We've bumped up the detail right inside of that truck. Now, one thing I didn't mention is that, we have an opacity slider. So, let's say you liked the detail, but it was just a little bit too much. You could brush out, and if we hit X on the keyboard, we're now brushing now. It gives us a minus, so I can brush out that effect in that area, but let me show you something else too. If we scroll down over here on the right, we have a layer opacity. If I lower that opacity, that's going to lower the opacity of just that specific layer that we're working on. So, check that out when you're working in your layer workflow. So, I'm giving you a little bit of a tip on that. Let me do one other layer. You want to do a quick black and white inside of Aurora? Let's scroll down here, and let's go find our saturation. Here we are. I'm going to minus my saturation. It's going to completely make it a black and white photo. I didn't tell you about the undo. Control Z or Command Z gives you an undo, and Shift+Command Z gives you a redo. So, I'm going to reset this mask, and if I hit clear up here, that resets that mask. If I hit minus, it's going to minus and delete that layer. Okay. So, I'm going to add a layer again, and let's do that same thing again. We'll call this black and white. Hit enter and we're going to scroll down and I'm going to minus saturation again. Now, I'm going to click on the erase, and what I'm going to do now is paint over where the truck is. So, now I have a full black and white photo. But now, I'm doing what's called selective coloring, and I'm painting back in the center of the truck. So, now the center of the truck is in color, and then I have black and white all surrounding it. So, that's another kind of fun creative way you can work with your photos, and that's again using layers in Aurora HDR. You can't do this on other programs, really cool stuff here. 9. Conclusion: All right. Hey! Thank you so much for taking this class, I hope that was fun and I also hope it was inspirational, too. Part of my goal as an instructor is to teach you some of the technical stuff but I also want to inspire you and hopefully make you more creative and open up your eyes to different ways of seeing things and different ways of processing your photos. With that in mind, I want to encourage you to upload your photos into the project gallery. It's a great place here on Skillshare where you can share your photos. Other people that are taking this class can see them, they can comment on them. I'm going to poke my head in there every once in awhile and take a look and see what everyone's doing with their photos. So please, please, I encourage you, share your photos and let me know what you thought of the course, too. We're sort of just scratching the surface with Aurora. There's a few more advanced techniques that can be done with this, and I don't know, maybe if a lot of people want it, I'll think about doing a more advanced course at some point in the future. But that's a wrap here from sunny Arizona, and thank you once again for taking this class. If you missed the Introduction to HDR class that I have, be sure to check that out, and that's where I talk about all the exposure bracketing and whatnot. Until next time. Thanks. Bye. 10. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: