Dramatize Photos — Give Them the HDR Look

Add Punch to Your Photos — Use Our Photoshop HDR Tutorial

HDR is a very popular style of modern photography today.  For a photographer, High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) is the process of shooting a number of exposures and merging them together into one image. Take a shot with normal exposure, then an underexposed shot, then an over-exposed shot that captures shadow details. Finally, merge the three photos together to create your single HDR image, highlighting the elements that make HDR photography so unique and beautiful.

Technically, HDRI is an imaging technology developed to capture the entire range of light present in a scene. It can far surpass the dynamic range restrictions of traditional chemical and digital photography. Adobe Photoshop (or other specialized tone mapping software) is used to compress the greater tonal range of HDR images into a range that can be displayed dynamically on conventional monitors, tablets, and smartphones.

To create successful HDR images, it takes a good photographer, experienced with photo editing software such as Photoshop. However, if you're not a photographer, but you want to give photos the HDR look, Warren Camp provides tips, techniques, and a tutorial below — with before and after images — to show you how to develop your own faux-HDR images using a single photo and Photoshop.

Three Pages of "Before-and-Afters" = Outdoor, Indoor, Portrait

Thankfully, any image can be tone mapped, even single low-dynamic-range (LDR) shots, so it's a matter of taste. Warning: Not every situation benefits from HDR shooting. It's almost impossible to add HDR to scenes with a lot of movement!

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Warren's "HDR How-To Steps" Using Photoshop

This tutorial is suitable for intermediate/advanced users of Photoshop CS5 and newer.

Dramatic Effects — "High Dynamic Range"

Following Warren's "how-to" steps above, here's a stunning HDR-effect sample!

Sample HDR photo taken by David Orias of a colorfully dynamic and detailed breaking ocean wave.

Original photo from David Orias on artsfon.com

You may download a jumbo of this HDR "Rainbow Wave" image: Click here.

Here's another of Warren's impressive HDR-effect samples that he made following his tutorial.

Here's a sample of a 'beach sunset' photo that's been dynamically accentuated by giving it the HDR effect.

Original photo from Wallpaper Castle

To download a jumbo of this HDR "Beach Sunset" image, click here.

Here They Are!

Warren Camp has divided his collection of faux-HDR-effect photos into three categories.

Photos in each category have undergone different HDR styling efforts.

Check out all three HDR "before and after" pages!

Outdoor HDR

This is one of Warren Camp's 'HDR-Effect Outdoor Samples.'

Page 1

Evening at Big Sur

Indoor HDR

This is one of Warren Camp's 'HDR-Effect Indoor Samples.'

Page 2

Well-lit living room

Portrait HDR

This is one of Warren Camp's 'HDR-Effect Portrait Samples.'

Page 3

Billy Graham portrait

< < < Return to our Opening HDR Page with Warren Camp's HDR tutorial.