How to Create HDR Images from Digital SLR Photos in Photomatrix Pro - dummies

How to Create HDR Images from Digital SLR Photos in Photomatrix Pro

By Robert Correll

As you might expect, you have to use specialized HDR software to create HDR images from your dSLR photos. After you load your brackets into the software, the HDR software takes all the data and creates a single image.

Before you start, consider this:

  • Save your image if you can’t immediately start tone mapping. Reload it at your leisure.

  • If you know that you want to use all the same HDR settings, try batch processing. In this case, you set up rules for the program to follow as it creates HDR images out of any number of bracketed sets. This is very nice.

Creating HDR images in Photomatix Pro is incredibly easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Start Photomatix Pro.

    Download the free trial. If you like what you see and buy it, you won’t have to put up with watermarks once you register.

  2. Select Load Bracketed Photos from the Workflow Shortcuts dialog box.

    You can drag and drop the brackets onto the program interface.


  3. Select your brackets and press OK.

    You can also drag and drop the brackets into the dialog box.

    Check the Show Intermediary 32-bit HDR image box if you want to see the actual HDR image.

  4. Set the HDR options.

    You click your way through the Preprocessing Options dialog box in no time.

    Select from the following options that appear in the dialog box:

    • Align Source Images: Adjusts for slight camera movement. The two major alignment methods include perspective correction. You can also have Photomatix Pro crop the aligned image. This is pretty helpful when loading brackets shot without a tripod.

    • Remove Ghosts: Attempts to remove ghosts, which are caused by moving objects that appear in one bracket and either move or disappear from the other brackets. You can identify problem areas yourself or have Photomatix Pro handle it automatically.

    • Reduce Noise On: Reduces noise in a variety of ways. You can set a strength.

    • Reduce Chromatic Aberrations: Reduces red/cyan/blue/yellow fringing.

    The following options are visible only if you’re using raw photos to generate the HDR image:

    • White Balance: The default setting As Shot is often adequate. Change if needed.

    • Color Primaries Based On: Choose between sRGB, Adobe RGB, or ProPhoto RGB. You can choose Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB now without much concern for portability if you plan to edit the image after tone mapping. Convert down to sRGB when you publish. On the other hand, if you’re going to post the result directly to the web (save directly from Photomatix Pro as a JPEG), choose sRGB.

  5. Process (or press OK) and prepare to tone map.

    The HDR image, which you may or may not see, combines all the contrast of the brackets into a single 32-bits-per-channel image. It’s not usable like this. The reason is that your monitor is incapable of displaying photos with a wide dynamic range. You have to tone map the HDR image to make something useful out of it.