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What Software Do You Use for HDR or Enfuse Post-processing?

Published: 12/03/2012
By: larry

Back when I did the polls on post-processing several readers asked me to poll everyone to see what people use for processing HDR. So here you have it.

My sense (confirmed by the poll on the left) is that more people are using Exposure Fusion (not really the same as HDR, some times called blending) for shooting interiors than are using HDR so this pair of polls is setup so that it gets at the whole subject of shooting brackets. The general lighting poll on the left hand side was started last summer (July 2011) that's why it already has 400+ voters.

I think it is interesting to see that more readers actually shoot brackets than use small flash. This makes sense since most people start out shooting brackets of some form and then eventually progress to shooting multiple off-camera flash. It's a natural progression.

If you use some software that isn't on the right hand poll be sure to leave a comment about what you use.

 [polldaddy poll=5215999]  [polldaddy poll=6028757]

13 comments on “What Software Do You Use for HDR or Enfuse Post-processing?”

  1. This is a bit more complex for me than a simple one choice fits all approach. Oloneo stands out for externals where the DR is large but not excessive. SNS-HDR is the absolute kings of apps when you have complex scenes that require selective processing - windows blended differently to the room itself for instance. LR/Enfuse can be a great starting point for subsequent use of luminescence masks for manual exposure blending - a process I am more and more utilising as it gives a very fine grain control over the scene. If you have a great deal of ghosting to control, then Photomatix is still superb - create the 32-bit file then process in SNS etc,; Photomatic's processing options are archaic.

  2. If you truly understand flash photography, and how to use/balance speedlights vs ambient, you should never need to use HDR, blending, whatever you want to call it, with interior shots.
    HDR is a copout, and tends to highlight a lack of basic photography skills.

    Learn to get it right in-camera, and in the single frame, and avoid the horrible "HDR look".

  3. Harold, I've been shooting for well over 20 years and use multiple flash to light my interiors. With that said I've also used HDR to great effect to create some very natural looking images. HDR, when used properly, is just another tool available when needed/wanted. Photomatix is my tool of choice. Best Regards, Ron

  4. Larry Oloneo should maybe just be stated as that as there are two versions. The full Oloneo Photo Engine and just the stripped out HDR Engine.

    Harold, there are many ways to skin a cat. It has been shown that people in the PFRE forum are achieving great results what ever method they use for what ever reason they choose to do it. Flash, HDR, Fusion or a combination of all three.

  5. I'd like to know the technique that the Exposure fusion/Flash hybrid folks use -- number of bracketed exposures, number of flash exposures, and how they relate to each other (i.e. sequence of shots taken).

  6. Since being a part of the PFRE, and seeing some of the best interior mixed lighting images, I have gone back to multi-speed lighting (or speed and Q-flash, or mono-light and speed light.

    I keep one speed light on camera bounced back on wall or a 32" round white Flex-fill reflector (so I always have a white bounce surface) and add another speed light (or 2) on a stand, bounced off a wall (or ceiling). I am shooting RAW (mostly) with a Nikon D-300 or D-700 (haven’t noticed a difference). But I find if I am shooting at a high shutter speed/f-stop to get the window exposure, then the room lighting looks too much like flash and not as natural as I like. I have tried strobe & Photomatix, or strobe and LR-Enfuse, but am still struggling to get a natural balance. The Nikons have an issue with on camera flash. When you switch on the hot-shoe flash, the white balance changes from neutral to warm (even if you are in Daylight setting). When the flash, is switched off or removed from the hot-shoe it goes back to neutral.

    But as many of you have stated in the past, I would like to be able to get it right in-camera than in post. I just don’t know if my speed lights are powerful enough, or I have lost the technique.

    I have been shooting for over 40 years as an industrial photographer, and am always impressed with the ultra-hi quality of interior images the PFRE group have been showcasing.

    Thanks for always sharing the great combined knowledge of this special group.

  7. I shoot HDR using Photoshop to blend and Lightroom4/Photoshop to fine tune... at the moment, I ONLY shoot HDR for properties... and I think with very good results: http://viewme1st.net/4330. I definitely am interested in learning more about multiple flash (I have 3 SB-900's)... if I can achieve the same quality/results it could shorten my post processing time.

  8. Multiple flashes for interior photography is of course a good choice when used properly, but usually there simply isn't time on site to do this room to room. Therefore, HDR, Exposure Fusion done properly can yield very good results albeit at the expense of more time spend on post processing instead of on site. It's a case of where you're able to spend the larger portion of your time - in the property or at your computer

  9. "HDR is a copout, and tends to highlight a lack of basic photography skills.

    Learn to get it right in-camera, and in the single frame, and avoid the horrible “HDR look”."

    Wow, this gave me a laugh and couldn't be further from the truth. Welcome to 2012.

    How about a link to some of your work so we can judge your qualifications to make such a ridiculous comment, Harold?

  10. I use both multi-flash and blending of bracketed images(whatever works best). Only using the single frame approach is not practical when shooting for clients with a tight deadline. You cant for example allways shoot your interiors at the right time of the day for this reason.

  11. A typical example last Saturday. Travelled a long way to photograph some properties with hotel facilities on site. The only day they could do was Saturday as the properties were booked later that day. The marketing manager came in especially but had to leave at 2:30. So, after a meeting I had from 10:30 to 2:30 to shoot 2 complete properties, (inc pools and terraces etc ), the restaurant, the outside dining area, the reception, entrance area, bar and large bar seating area. If I had to rely on a strobes set-up I wouldn't have even got half the job the done so I relied on multiple exposures and post processing at home. As for tethered shooting with my laptop, that would be a complete non starter. You have to be flexible and work to your clients needs and you don't always have the luxury of time on site.

  12. Wow, I'm surprised to see the number of people that say they are using the Exposure Fusion/flash hybrid method! I've had a lot of success with this approach myself and I feel like it's a technique that still hasn't been explored fully. As far as flexibility in shaping the final image in post, however, its hard to beat.

  13. [[“HDR is a copout, and tends to highlight a lack of basic photography skills.

    Learn to get it right in-camera, and in the single frame, and avoid the horrible “HDR look”.”

    Wow, this gave me a laugh and couldn’t be further from the truth. Welcome to 2012.

    How about a link to some of your work so we can judge your qualifications to make such a ridiculous comment, Harold?]]

    Exactly right Matt.

    Thinking you have to add light to every scene highlights a lack of understanding of modern digital capture.
    Strobes are nothing more than another method of adding/controlling light in a scene. Nothing more, nothing less.

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