HDR From a Single RAW

Bonus – HDR from a Single RAW

I have told you that you can do HDRs from a single RAW.  Well the techniques are similar to what we did in the full tutorial, you’ll only be working with one RAW source file rather than 3 (or 4,5,6…).   This is a great technique for those times when there is too much moving in a scene, or when you only have time to get off one shot.

  • In Lightroom, find the RAW file you wish to work on, with the Photomatix export plugin (HERE), right click on the file and export to Photomatix.   If you are in Bridge, Apeture, etc, I don’t know of an export plugin, but you just need to find the RAW file in your explorer, then direct Photomatix to it via the ‘File-> Open’ menu.

  • In Lightroom, it will give you the message below, letting you know that you’ve only selected one photo, rather than a set of brackets.  If you open directly with Photomatix it will tell you you’re about to open a “Pseudo-HDR” image.  It’s telling you the same thing, that you only have one file rather than a set of brackets.

  • Finally, the processing in Photomatix is exactly the same.  Set your sliders, and click on save.

As we saw in the full HDR tutorial, you can call it a day right here.  BUT, and this a big but, I recommend a little light reading about the Advanced Techniques that will really bring your photos to life.  Check out the Advanced Blending section HERE.

Here’s a few examples of Single RAW HDRs.  (note that all of these have gone thru exactly the process described here, including the advanced techniques)

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