How to Publish Your HDR Images

Publishing or printing your high dynamic range (HDR) photographs is the final step in the HDR process. Snap on your chinstrap, fire up Photoshop Elements, and get going:

  1. (Optional) Enter file info by choosing File→File Info and entering any file and copyright information you wish. Then save the final working copy as a Photoshop Elements (.psd) file.

  2. Choose File→Duplicate to create an identical copy of the Photoshop file, and then close the original.

    This step is for safety so that you don’t accidentally save and overwrite the layered Photoshop file and lose all your work.

  3. Make sure the right layers are visible, and then choose Layer→Flatten Image.

  4. Save the image as a high-resolution TIFF by choosing File→Save As.

    For archival and printing purposes, save the image as a high-resolution (that is, unresized) TIFF. Accept the default save settings unless you have reasons for changing them.

  5. If you want to create a JPEG to post on the Web, resize the image by choosing Image→Resize→Image Size.

    Although you can jump ahead to Step 11 and choose File→Save for Web, that routine is not optimized for large files, and you will get a warning to that effect. It’s best to resize at this point.

  6. In the Image Size dialog box, select the Resample Image check box.

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  7. Select a resampling method from the drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box:

    • Nearest Neighbor: Preserves hard edges. Examine the edges at 100% magnification to look for any jaggedness from the sharp edges.

    • Bilinear: A good method. The colors are good and the image is smooth. You lose a bit of sharpness, however.

    • Bicubic: Best for smooth gradients. Similar results to Bilinear but a bit sharper.

    • Bicubic Smoother: Best if you’re enlarging the image. When reducing, this method looks almost indistinguishable from Bicubic.

    • Bicubic Sharper: Best if you’re reducing the image size. Distinctly sharper than all the other methods.

  8. In the Pixel Dimensions section, select Pixels from the Width and Height drop-down lists, and enter new pixel dimensions in the Width text box. Then click OK.

    If the Constrain Proportions check box is selected, you need to enter only one dimension, and the other will automatically be calculated.

  9. (Optional) Add a text or graphic watermark.

    If you have a watermark to copyright your work, add it as a layer now. Elements doesn’t let you create embedded watermarks unless you use the File→Process Multiple Files workaround.

    Do not apply a watermark to your high-resolution final TIFF (created in Step 4). Save watermarking as one of the last steps before publishing so you can customize the size of the mark to your final output size.

  10. (Optional) Add a frame or other decorative elements.

    An easy way to add a border is to choose Image→Resize→Canvas Size. In the Canvas Size dialog box, select the Relative check box, enter how much to extend the canvas in the New Size section, and then select a color from the Canvas Extension Color drop-down list. Click OK.

  11. Choose File→Save for Web.

    If you want all the EXIF data preserved, choose File→Save As, choose the JPEG file format, and then click Save. At the next dialog box, enter the quality you want, and click OK.

    In the Save for Web dialog box, follow these steps:

    1. Select JPEG High from the Preset drop-down list.

    2. Select a percentage from the Quality drop-down list. A lower percentage makes the file smaller at the cost of quality. A higher percentage gives higher quality at the cost of a larger file size.

    3. Zoom in (use the Zoom drop-down list in the bottom-left corner) to see whether the quality you chose works.

    4. Select the ICC Profile check box to save the image with the color profile embedded. This is preferred because it gives a Web browser or other application the information it needs to accurately render the colors contained in the image.

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  12. When you’re ready, click OK. Choose a location and name; then click Save.

  13. Close the TIFF without saving it.

    This is important. Do not save the TIFF. After all, you resized it. If you make a mistake and overwrite it, you can go back to your Photoshop Elements file and re-create the TIFF.

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