Important Starting Points for HDR Images - and a Finishing Tip

I use both HDR Soft's Photomatix and Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro to create my HDR images. 

When I use Photomatix, I always start by adjusting the White Point and Black Point sliders. First, I move the sliders all the way to the left. Then, I move each slider to the right until I lose either Highlights (White Point slider) or Shadow detail (Black Point slider). Then, I move each slider back to the left just a bit.

The goal is not to lose Highlight or Shadow detail - which is the goal of HDR photography.

When using Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro, I first select a preset. Then, I adjust the Tone Compression slider. It's amazing what this simple slider can do . . . for you!

As a finishing tip... you'll find that your HDR image will probably need a bit of sharpening. I do that in Photoshop, using: Filter > Convert for Smart Filter > Unsharp Mask. Using this technique, you can sharpen selectively.

Whatever technique you use, sharpen selectively. For example, in the image below, there is no need to sharpen the sky.

You can get a discount on Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro by clicking here.

If you would like to see my latest HDR images (some below in a montage created by Dr. Dave Wilson), and learn more about HDR photography, check out my app, Rick Sammon's iHDR.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you are really into HDR, check out the Promote Controller. Makes bracketing images very, very simple.