Combo Apps/HDR Special

Horton Plaza-2

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s to bring out details in your shadows and highlights and give it that dynamic look. HDR really dates back in the 1850’s by a guy name Gustave Le Gray. You can click on his name and get the history of the man who invented the technique. The photo above is one of my HDR photo’s, I’ve shot and processed. It was shot with my Canon 40D and Sigma 10-20mm lens. The software I use to make the HDR magic happen are Photoshop Element 7.0, Photomatix 3.0, Topaz Denoise 5 and Topaz Detail 2. The best HDR program hands down is Photomatix. I’ve tried a few different programs, this has better control in the toning mapping.

This is how I do the one exposure HDR:

1. I load them from my compact flash card to my laptop.
2. I open them as a RAW File on Photoshop and scroll thought what I want to do first.
3. Convert the RAW File and save it as a TIFF. I don’t really ever edit the RAW File if it’s at a good exposure.
4. I load that TIFF File in Photoshop again and I make one at -1.5ev and the other +1.5ev. Then I save each of those files as a TIFF.
5. I load up Photomatix and pull up those three TIFF Files from Photoshop. Then merge the photos together.
6. After they merge together, I do the toning mapping to my liking. Then save the photo as a TIFF. Toning mapping helps give it that metallic, shimmer look to your photo. It also makes your details in your photo to pop out.
7. Load the photo up on Photoshop, and convert image to an 8bit file, the reason is not all software can do 16bit files.
8. Go to my plug-ins and use Topaz Denoise 5 first, this takes a few minutes to so because of the file size
9. The use the next plug-in called Topaz Detail 2, to smooth out details. I like my image to look smooth with no gradation in the sky or in a big colored areas.
10. I save the image as a TIFF and JPEG. Lots of store photo labs can only print JPEG files and I only post JEPGs on Flickr.

Now this recipe is not perfect, but it took me awhile and many different HDR programs and plug-ins to make something to my liking. Everyone is different in how they like their HDR to look. A friend of mine name Candace Van Assche taught me how do this type of HDR. She is an amazing photographer. I’m really glad we got to do a few Photo Adventures together. Please check out her photos on Flickr and leave comments.

There are a few pros in using the one exposure HDR:

1. No tripod needed or I like to call it “The Burden”.
2. You won’t eat up your memory cards.
3. Makes it possible to have people in your photographs, because you can keep no one still if your out in public. You can also add cars, airplanes, and animals.
4. No more messy alignment and cropping after you merge your photos together.

Now lets talk about how to do this on your iPhone and two apps I use to make my HDR on the phone. You will need two programs, Pro HDR and Filterstorm. You can get them both at the App Store.


Here’s the picture I’m doing to use for the step by step lesson. This is my nephew Boyce, I told him to jump off the wall. I wanted to use a person in the picture and get a good exposure. There’s a guy name Dustin (dvl) on Instagram who shoots with Clear Cam, which is suppose to give you a higher resolution picture. His combos are Clear Cam+Filterstorm+Tilt Shift Gen. My combo will be a little different, Pro Camera 3.0+Filterstorm+Pro HDR+Filterstorm+Tilt Shift Gen.


I load up Filterstorm and you will see 8 different buttons to touch. You can ever watch a video tutorial of how to use the program. I did and it help me get started in using the program. This app was the most expensive camera app i’ve purchased. It’s $3.99 at the App Store. Well worth the money for what it can do. It’s also iPad ready, which is great because you don’t have to repurchase the app on your iPad.


Now I touch where it says load photo where the camera is and this screen pop up. The I touch Library.


This is what it looks like after you upload the photo from your library. I will hit the button with the 2 small arrows up at the right end.


You will always get the Canvas first. You can also scroll up and down with your finger to see more options.


I touch the Filters to get to what I need to do to make the proper exposures. You will see lots of options, but what I’m going to use is Curves. I use Curves because it’s easy to manipulate the exposure of the photo to how you like it.


This is what the Curves option will look like, you can also watch the video tutorial in how to use the curves. You can make your HDR on this program alone.


Each exposure I manipulate I save at the highest resolution. You will see two different exposure pictures down below. Also when you make your manipulation for light and dark, you want to bring out the lost details in your highlights and shadows. That’s the whole point in making your HDR.


My light exposure.


My dark exposure.


Now I load up my Pro HDR app. This app is $1.99 at the App Store. You can see it’s a pretty self explanatory program. Pretty much what you see is what you get. I really like easy simple programs, makes it more enjoyable to edit your photos.


Settings and you can see it’s set at high resolution.


They even have a help area in case your unsure about how or what HDR is.


When you touch the Library HDR, this will pop up. You touch the dark image first.


Then the lighter image next.


Then this will happen after you touch your lighter image.


After it’s done processing you can edit your photo to your liking, I usually will save it like it is and do fine tuning editing after I’m done with the major processing. Fine tuning editing is the last thing you really want to do to avoid halos in your photos.


Saving…after it’s done saving I will load the photo back on to Filterstorm.


I will do my fine tuning editing in Filterstorm. I’ll do the toning mapping, saturtaion and sharpness there. You can also hot the sprocket button and they have two Automations there. One is Enhance and the other is Vintage. They work ok but I prefer to do my own editing. That is the final edit in Filterstorm and my HDR is done…now lets add one more touch.

Boyce Flying
My final photo with Tilt Shift Gen added and I’ll use Photogene to makes a white border to upload it onto Imstagram.

This concludes my HDR Special, if you have any questions, comment or ideas please feel free to leave your comments on Word Press or e-mail me ashcroft54@yahoo.com. You can also check out The Combo Apps Group too. You cna also follow me on Twitter & Tumblr.

Last thing I wanted to add was this blog was made possible because of antonioj on Instagram. He asked me the app question about HDR. This is deadicated to you !!!

Next week’s blog will be about Hipstamatic & Swanko Lab…

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About ashcroft54

Photographer~Blogger~Artist
Gallery | This entry was posted in Combo Apps: Mobile Extreme Editing, iPhoneography, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Combo Apps/HDR Special

  1. S says:

    I’m really behind on reading the posts, but this is a great one for sure. I hope you keep them coming! (@justsarah on IG)

  2. emebadan says:

    AKU (Another Killer Update). I’ve been fooling around with HDR, nice tip on the filterstorm to fake it. Thanks again.

  3. Pingback: Review – HDR Darkroom Pro Beta « Mike Hardisty Photography

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