HDR techniques are usually associated with surreal landscapes and architectural photography, but you can create HDR Efex Pro portraits for some unique and powerful effects. This works best with male subjects because it creates a dark, brooding look where every pore and wrinkle is emphasised. I’m starting with this informal photograph taken in the family […]
HDR and how it works
HDR stands for 'high dynamic range', a style of image processing that's become both popular and notorious. It's a technique that's used to capture scenes with a very high brightness range and employs various tools to bring the brightest and darkest parts close enough together that they can both be seen in a single viewable image.
There are two parts to this. The first is capturing a series of exposures (or even a single exposure, maybe with a RAW file) that captures the full range of tones on the scene.
The second part is using 'tonemapping' or HDR software to manipulate the very brightest and darkest areas so that the details in both become clearly visible. Some programs (Lightroom, Affinity Photo) offer HDR merge and tonemapping tools as part of their regular feature set while others (HDR Efex Pro, Aurora HDR) are designed specifically for high dynamic range imaging.
Some photographers try to make HDR images look as natural and 'unmanipulated' as possible. Others revel in the hyper-real colours, contrast and detail afforded by some of the more outlandish HDR tools out there.
How to use the HDR Efex Pro merge tools
Like other HDR tools, HDR Efex Pro 2 is designed to work with a sequence of bracketed exposures which cover a wider dynamic range than a single image could record. This means you need to pay special attention to the HDR Efex Pro merge tools. You’ll see these whenever you open a series of images, […]
Learn how to use HDR Efex Pro 2 presets
Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2 is now part of the DxO Nik Collection, but the software itself is unchanged – it remains one of the most approachable and most effective HDR tools you can get. But while the bundled HDR Efex Pro 2 presets are many and varied, you can also create and save […]
Ho to get an HDR effect from a single image in Color Efex Pro
There are so many filters in Color Efex Pro that it can take a long, long time to work out all the things that it can do. Some of the tools are obvious, like Levels and Curves or Graduated Filters, but some are less so, and the Detail Extractor is a prime example. It sounds […]
How to get the most from the Capture One High Dynamic Range controls
Capture One Pro 7 is not just an excellent RAW converter. Like Adobe Lightroom it has some quite sophisticated adjustment controls. In particular, the Capture One High Dynamic Range sliders are very good at extracting the maximum latent highlight and shadow detail in RAW files. This is not HDR in the usual sense, where you […]