HDR – Using The Dynamic Photo HDR Program

Above, I have five images exposed for HDR. That means one properly exposed image and one to two over- and under-exposed images. The images are of a tree showing off its fall foliage:

Open the Dynamic Photo HDR program. You can get a free trial version on their web site.

Go to the File menu and bring in the images that you want. This is what it looks like:

A dialog box opens up called Create New HDR Image. Click OK:

The next dialog box asks to “Align Files”. Click on each image and use the dials to align them. Even if the images don’t need aligning, click on each image or the program won’t let you go to the next step. Then click OK:

This next step will take a few moments while the program creates the HDR image:

Here, you can correct the exposure and gamma by moving the sliders:

Now it’s time to click on Step 2 – Tone map HDR file:

Here the “Tone Mapping” dialog box opens up. Go to the left side of the box where it says “Method”. Check out which one you like best. Then go to Setting. This is where you can tweak the brightness, shadow/highlights, saturation and radius. On the right of the box there are the curves, color equalizer and the hue shift:

If you want more options, you can click on the Kelvin tab, which brings up this dialog box. There are a lot to choose from. The thing I don’t care for is that the boxes are too small, and there is no way to make them bigger:

Then there’s the Match Color tab. Another cool feature, but again the boxes are too small:

When you’re happy with the way your image looks, click Process. This will take a few moments. You can see the blue line going across as the image gets processed. When it’s done, your computer will ask you which folder you’d like to save your image in, and to name your image:

The program won’t close, or even seem like anything happened. You should check the folder where you saved the file before closing the program.

There are a lot of different features in this program. I’m still learning them, myself. This is just another HDR option for your creativity.

Here’s the finished image:

Don’t forget to download your free trial version to check it out. Enjoy!

White Balance While Using a Flash – Blue Photos

Ever take pictures of friends and family inside or even outside, and your photos have a blue cast while using a flash? Maybe you even got used to the color and thought that it’s just the way the camera takes the photo. Well, it is the way the camera takes the photo, until you change one easy setting.

The white balance — no matter what other setting you have set on your camera, while using the flash it’s important to have the flash setting on your camera “on”:

Here I have an image of a mannequin head. I took this with my flash, but the setting on my camera was set to “Auto”. The image has a blue cast:

Here I have the same image that I took with the flash, but I also had my camera setting set to “flash”. See the difference between the two images?

The same goes for outside photography. Here I took a shot of a bird feeder I have in my backyard. For the first image, I used a flash with the camera setting on “Auto”. For the second image, I used a flash, and had my camera set to “Flash”. See the difference?


In some images the difference is subtle, but in other cases the blue cast is overwhelming. Just remember when you are finished using your flash, to put it back on “auto”.

Simple, easy tips can be very useful.

Creating Lightning in an Image using Photoshop

Above, I have an image of the Portland Headlight that I already turned black and white in Photoshop. I think lightning shots look more dramatic in black and white.

The first thing I do is drop the image into Photoshop. Next I go to the brush icon on the tools palette:

Then I go to the top of the screen to the options bar. Click on the arrow that’s pointing down to open the brush menu:

Here’s the open menu box:

Next I’ll pick a lightning brush that I’ll give away at the end of this tutorial. The number of the brush is 445.

Make sure that the color picker box is set to white in the foreground, so that the lighting will be white:

The next thing you’ll need to do is to make a new layer. Just click on the layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, and rename layer 1 to “Lightning” by clicking on the word “Layer 1”:

The next step is to apply the brush. Hover the brush over the image without clicking. See where you want to put it. It will most likely start out to small. Make the brush larger using the [ ] bracket keys on your keyboard. When you’ve decided where to put the lightning, click once. Don’t move the mouse in case you’d like to give the brush a second click to make the lightning streaks a little stronger. I had to use it twice with two clicks of the mouse:

Now that the lightning is on its own layer, you have the option to move the lightning. You might decide to move a little to the left or right, or even up and down. If you just used the lightning brush on the image without having it on its own layer you wouldn’t have the option of moving it around.

Now that that lightning is on its own layer you can you can even transform the scale of the lightning. Let’s say you like the lightning the way it is, but you wish it was just a little longer or a little wider. It’s easy. Go to Edit, Transform, Scale:

You’ll see the transform box appear around the lightning. Just grab the little square boxes and drag the mouse slowly to see how the lightning fits into your image:

Then click the check to apply the transform:

Here’s the finished image:

Have fun trying this on your own and don’t forget to download the lightning brush here.

Replacing a Color in Photographs Using Photoshop

Below, I have a photograph of a tulip that I had taken not too long ago. I like the color of the tulip, but for this tutorial I’ll change the color of the tulip using the Replace Color tool from the Adjustments menu in Photoshop:

The first thing I’ll do is drop the image into Photoshop. Next I’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Replace Color:

Here the Replace Color dialog box comes up:

Let’s concentrate on the top part of the box for now. In my photograph I want to change the color of the tulip, which is the red part of the image. When I hover my mouse over the part of the flower I want to change, I can see an eyedropper appear in the box. This is telling me, pick the color I want to change.

Here I clicked the eyedropper once over the red part of the flower. It’s only capturing one specific shade of red. I want it to pick all of the red:

What I need to do is go to the top of the Replace Color dialog box and pick the eyedropper with the + next to it:

Once I have the positive eyedropper selected, I’ll go back to the highlighted tulip and click around. Take your time, one click at a time and see how much of the color is being selected. In this example I want to get all of the different shades of red. If I miss any, I won’t be changing all of the red in the flower. Notice how all of the red is selected. Compare the next image to the one above to see the difference:

I literally had to click around 14 times to get all of the different shades of red.

Now it’s time to do some color changing. The first slider I’ll go to is the Hue slider. Here I’ve decided to make the tulip blue:

I can see that the base of the tulip still has some red, and I want to get rid of it. If you want or need to get just a little more or a little less of the color you’re selecting, go to the Fuzziness slider. This is where the Fuzziness slider comes in handy:

So, I’ll go to the Fuzziness slider and bring it to the right until I’m happy with the results. Here I brought the slider to 134 and I like the way it looks:

Now I can go ahead and play with the Saturation and Lightness sliders. These sliders have nothing to do with changing the color. They just enhance the color being changed.

These were my final settings:

Here is my end result:

This blog post is dedicated to Bobby.

Don’t Miss the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York City

It’s that time again when photographers from around the universe collect themselves and their photo gear, and head off to the PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC.

The very first time I went to the show, it was call the “PhotoExpo”. That was in 1984. I’ve gone every year since then. Times have definitely changed. When I first started going, the expo was all about film cameras, enlargers, chemicals, film, etc. Now it’s all about digital cameras and software, along with all the digital accessories a person could want. They’ll be names like Nikon, Canon, Wacom, Photek, Inc, Lowepro, Adobe, B&H, NAPP, and so many more. The great thing about the expo is that when you go, you find out about what’s happening in photography. All the latest technology from the leading manufacturers to the hottest products you didn’t know existed, and have to have. Lots of people show up to see booth after booth of new products and galleries.

Not only will there be booths to explore, but there are over 100 seminars given throughout the three days — October 23rd through October 25th.

I look forward to it every year. When I go, I feel like I kid in a toy store. It always gets my imagination going, thinking about all the things I could do with photography over the coming months. And I always end up buying a couple of goodies while I’m there. It’s definitely worth the trip. I highly recommend it!

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
New York City, NY

Don’t miss it.