The 10 Steps Every HDR Photographer Goes Through

Step 8: Realization That Photoshop > Photomatix

Photoshop is by far the most incredible and powerful tool for editing your photos. Photomatix is not. That’s not to say that Photomatix isn’t an incredible program that does incredible things, but one should never use Photomatix to edit photos and when you realize this it’s a big step in the right direction. Photomatix should be used for one thing; getting all the light into one file. Any and all stylization should be done in Lightroom/Aperture and/or Photoshop.

Step 9: Screw HDR

Now HDR sucks. When you see an HDR image you silently rebuke it and judge it. Instead of appreciating a good image, you search for it’s flaws and convince yourself that you would never make that same mistake now. You are an enlightened photographer like all the rest of the HDR haters out there and can capture plenty of light with just your camera and some brush techniques in Photoshop. But then you go out on a shoot somewhere and realize that you honeslty, legitimately , absolutely cannot capture all of the dynamic range of light in the scene before you. You refuse to ‘bracket’ the scene but you do take some ‘extra shots’ at different exposure levels so you can blend them together later if you need to. You sit down at your computer the next day and spend an hour blending the different exposures together in Photoshop and then come to another conundrum: When does an image cross the line and become HDR? What is an HDR image? If I blend two exposures together in Photoshop to increase the dynamic range of light that would not otherwise be possible to capture in camera, did I just create an HDR image? Because after all, HDR simply means ‘High Dynamic Range’ which hints at an image that has more dynamic range than what a camera can capture. Ahh! My whole life is still a lie!

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