HDR Before-and-After

Usually, you only see the finished image when somebody publishes their HDR work, and when you look at such an image, you tend to wonder what the original photos looked like and what the HDR process and the photographer’s personal post-processing skills really brought to this very image. Some time ago, I decided to add a little spice to the soup and also publish the source images and the intermediate result after the tone-mapping for each of my HDR images.

The result is the growing series of illustrations below that I call Before-and-After Comparisons. Just click on one of the posts below to open it and view a bigger version.

Also check out the Dynamic Before-and-After section: Pull the slider on each image back and forth to see the difference!

HDR Before and After: The Parliament

HDR Before and After: The Parliament

This is the before-and-after comparison of “The Parliament (HDR)”. At the top, you see the three original source images straight out of the camera. This image is based on a 6-shot exposure series with shutter speeds between 0.6s and 15s. At the lower left, you see the result of merging those shots into a 32-bit HDR and subsequent tone-mapping using the Details Enhancer option of Photomatix Pro 4.2. And finally, at the lower right, you see the final image after a number of post-processing steps executed in Photoshop CS6.

Before and After comparison of the 12-exposure HDR Vertorama 'Light my Way'. Created with Photoshop and Photomatix

HDR Before and After: Light my Way (HDR Vertorama)

This is the HDR before and after comparison of “Light my Way (HDR Vertorama)”. The final image was created from 4×3 TIFF files (4 series of 3 autobracketed RAW images, +2, 0, -2EV that were converted to TIFFs using Abobe Camera RAW). You can see the 12 source images in the left three columns. These images were merged into 4 32-bit HDRs and tone-mapped with Photomatix Pro 4.2 (Details Enhancer option) using the same settings for each image. The resulting 4 16-bit TIF images where then stitched using Photoshop CS5. The result of the stitching, perspective correction, cropping, and retouching can be seen in the middle column. In the right column, you see the final image after a number of post-processing steps executed in Photoshop CS6.

HDR Before and After - The Lounge

HDR Before and After: The Lounge

This is the before-and-after comparison of “The Lounge (HDR)”. At the top, you see the three original source images straight out of the camera. This image is based on a 3-shot auto exposure bracketing series with shutter speeds between 1/200s and 1/13s. At the lower left, you see the result of merging those shots into a 32-bit HDR and subsequent tone-mapping using the Details Enhancer option of Photomatix Pro 4.2. And finally, at the lower right, you see the final image after a number of post-processing steps executed in Photoshop CS5.

HDR Before and After - Closer to Heaven

HDR Before and After: Closer to Heaven

This is the before-and-after comparison of “Closer to Heaven (HDR)”. On the left, you see the eight original source images straight out of the camera. This image is based on a 8-shot manual exposure series with shutter speeds between 30s and 1/4s. In the middle, you see the result of merging those shots into a 32-bit HDR and subsequent tone-mapping using the detail enhancer option of Photomatix Pro 4.1. And finally, on the right side you see the final image after a number of post-processing steps executed in Photoshop CS5.

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