How to Create HDR Photoshop Effect | Tutorial

HDR means High Dynamic Range, which is actually a technique that implies combining several photos into one image in such a way that details from all constituents (shadows, highlights and mid-tones) are visible in the final HDR picture.

However, there’s a way to perform HDR in Photoshop, without combining multiple exposures together into one photo. Below, there are 3 methods that will teach you quick ways to achieve Photoshop HDR effect with a single photo.

Method #1 Through HDR Toning

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Photoshop has a dedicated HDR editing tool called HDR Toning. HDR Toning in Photoshop is a powerful tool, that allows to quickly and easily extend your image’s dynamic range. Follow the steps below to find out how to use it.

Step 1. Open HDR Toning Menu

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To access the tool, go to Image – Adjustments – HDR Toning. You’ll see the HDR Toning Window come up on the screen.

Step 2. Adjust the Settings

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Move the sliders until you get the desired HDR Photoshop effect. Press OK.

Method #2 Through Camera RAW Filter

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Another way of achieving impressive Photoshop high dynamic range effect is to recover your photo’s shadows and highlights in Camera RAW. Here’s how you can do it in 3 steps.

Step 1. Duplicate the Background Layer

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First, let’s duplicate the background layer. Drag the background layer to the “Create a new layer” button at the bottom of the Layers panel. For a quicker result use a shortcut: Cmd + J (for Mac)/Ctrl + J (for Windows).

Step 2. Open Camera Raw Filter

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Next, open Camera Raw by going to Filter – Camera Raw Filter. You can also use a shortcut: Shift + Ctrl + A (for Windows)/ Shift + Cmd + A (for Mac).

Step 3. Adjust the Settings

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Now, all you have to do, is move the sliders until the image obtains a desirable HDR Photoshop appearance.

Method #3 Through High Pass

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If you want to learn how to do HDR in Photoshop through High Pass filter, you should follow the simple steps below.

Step 1. Duplicate the Background Layer

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Duplicate the background layer first. Drag the background layer to the “Create a new layer” button at the bottom of the Layers panel. For a quicker result use a shortcut: Cmd + J (for Mac)/Ctrl + J (for Windows).

Step 2. Open High Pass Menu

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Access the High Pass menu through Filter – Other – High Pass. You’ll see a menu pop up.

Step 3. Adjust the Radius

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Next, adjust the radius of the filter. I recommend moving the slider to values greater than 100 pixels. Press OK to save the result of your HDR Photoshop manipulations.

Step 4. Set the Overlay Mode

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To get an accurate Photoshop High Dynamic Range result, change the Blend Mode from “Normal” to “Overlay”.

HDR Photoshop Freebies

Though the above mentioned HDR Photoshop tutorials are very simple, you may still get the same result in a quicker way using special Ps actions. I have selected the best HDR filters that you can download free of charge and turn your regular images into spectacular HRD masterpieces.

Light HDR

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This action imitates the traditional HDR look with highly pronounced details and wide tonal range.

Black and White HDR

black and white hdr photoshop action black and white hdr photoshop action

Using this free action, you can quickly transform your shots into B&W HDR images with a bold vibe.

Contrast

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This action is specifically developed for landscape HDR photos. Apply it to see how mesmerizing your landscapes can look.


Ann Young

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