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HDR Photography — Blend Material from Alternate Sources

Be on the lookout for areas where you may need to blend material in from alternate sources. For example, if part of the sky is blown out, you might want to replace the blown-out sky with a version that has been tone mapped differently so the sky looks better (what often happens is the rest of the photo stinks, but that’s why you’re looking to blend the sky in and not a complete image).

(This step happens after you take bracketed photos, create and tone map the HDR image, and then save the tone mapped image as a JPEG or TIFF — then you can continue to edit your image in Photoshop or other photo editing software.)

It’s not easy to say in every instance at what point blending should take place. Sometimes, it’s best to do this as soon as possible — before sharpening, noise reduction, and so forth. However, you might have to wait and blend later in the process, depending on the tonality of the images you’re blending.

This figure shows two areas that use alternate sources to blend with the tone mapped background. The sky was a bit blown out, and the lighting in and out of the garage looked bad in this version. The red layer (named helper) is so you can identify the extent of the new material and is not part of the image as you would edit it.

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