If you don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom coupled with Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro, you can get a a surprisingly realistic HDR image by merging exposures in Photoshop Elements. To merge exposures in Photoshop Elements, follow these steps on the computer on which you installed the HDR software:


Choose File→Open.

The Open dialog box appears.


Select the images you created with bracketed exposures.

Photoshop Elements can merge exposures for a minimum of two images and a maximum of ten images.


Open the images.

The images appear in the project bin.


Select the images and then choose File→New→Photomerge Exposure Merge.

The Photomerge Exposure dialog box appears with a message telling you Photoshop Elements is examining the images. This process may take a while. After the images are analyzed, you see the final image in a window.


Accept the default Smart Blending option, or click Simple Blending.

The default option lets you tweak the final image. Simple Blending blends the image, and you have no control. The following steps are based on Smart Blending. But hey, if you’re in a hurry, give Simple Blending a shot. You can always select Smart Blending if you don’t like the results you get.


Adjust the Highlights slider.

Drag it to the right to brighten highlight details or left to darken them.


Adjust the Shadows slider.

Drag it to the right to brighten shadows or left to darken them.


Adjust the Saturation slider.

Drag it to the right to add more saturation to the colors or left to desaturate them. If you drag the slider all the way to the left, you have a black-and-white — grayscale for you purists — image.


Click Done.

Photoshop Elements blends the images. The time this takes depends on the speed of your computer. After the blending is complete, your HDR image appears in the main window and the project bin.


Choose File→Save As and follow the prompts to save the image in the desired file format.

You now have saved your HDR landscape image.