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7 Examples of Why Exposure Blending Is More Important than HDR

In: 
Published: 22/09/2018

Larry Lohrman

6 comments on “7 Examples of Why Exposure Blending Is More Important than HDR”

  1. We all start the year with goals and for me 2018 was no different. One of my goals was to improve the exterior images I was delivering. I had long since thrown-in-the-trash the use of traditional HDR for interiors, but occasionally I still used it for difficult situations regarding exteriors. I knew even then that traditional HDR would not fly with higher-end shoots like designer, builder, architectural or even commercial retail and/or restaurants. Let's be honest, not a single one of the previously mentioned client types would accept images that are muddy, lacking contrast, color shifted with color cast everywhere, halos around lights, ghosting in the trees, ect. Why should they? I wouldn't. So in my search to improve my exteriors, I learned of exposure blending, luminosity masking and triple processing a single smart object. Along with a few other techniques I have picked up throughout the year. I will forever be free of the chains that bind the traditional HDR user. Maybe give some consideration to learning about exposure blending.

  2. Jimmy McIntyre's site is a great resource for those wanting to learn about exposure blending with luminosity masks.

    I often say to clients that we see with our "brains," not our "eyes."

    Until Artificial Intelligence (AI) improves to the point that it can recognise the elements of a scene and the correct exposure that is required for each different element of a scene, any HDR program will struggle with RE images.

    Software simply doesn't understand that the window frame in a dark interior around an bright exterior view is a different element to the outside scene and will always give you some haloing as it blends the tonal values.

    However, never say never -- given the rapid progress of AI the day isn't far off maybe where our cameras may be able to handle interior scenes well.

    Even so, that is OK if the ambient light is OK (that isn't always the case in Real Estate). When it isn't, even luminosity masks will only get you so far.

  3. @Charles - I think you are right, HDR image processing is going to get smarter and smarter and the computer processing power applied to image enhancement is increasing. An example is the new Aurora HDR Pro coming out soon and the new smart HDR in the iPhone.

  4. @Rick - Aurora HDR 2019 is being released Oct 4 and it is claimed to be much better at real estate... it has built in real estate feature. If you just purchased Aurora HDR the coming upgrade will likely be free.

  5. What he describes as exposure blending (manual combining of different exposures in Photoshop with masks, layers and selections) is certainly more flexible and versatile than any sort of automated process for combining separate exposures. However, as he mentions, there are significant differences between HDR processes, and HDR still has its uses for less complex technical challenges, when the tones and tonal range of a particular image suit that process, without the need for the greater control that Photoshop blending offers.

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