HDR for Creativity

Going to the Grunge side of HDR

I was on a photo shoot this week and came back with a set of photos that begged to be processed as HDR images.

Rusty Door Even ExposureRusty Door HDRRusty Machinery Even ExposureRusty Machinery HDR

With most of them, they could have been captured in one single shot since the dynamic range was within what my camera could capture with one shot.  Instead, five bracketed shots were taken for each so that the grungy textures could be brought out.  Here you see the single “even exposure” next to the tonemapping that was completed in Photomatix Pro.  The grunge look was brought out with 100% strength, 100% detail contrast,  and a boost in saturation. I also moved the color temperature all the way to the blue side.

Watch Your Step

This one started out with five exposures that were tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.  After processing, instead of closing the image, I tonemapped the tonemapped image one more time.  To take this one step further, I added a scratchy texture layer above the result and used a blend mode of overlay at 80% opacity.

Watch Your Step First ProcessWatch Your Step Double ProcessedScratchy TextureWatch Your Step with Texture

 Single-Shot HDR

These were made from one single shot tonemapped in Photomatix Pro.  In addition to increasing the strength, detail contrast and saturation, the lighting effects presets were used.

Cap OriginalCap ProcessedHeart OriginalHeart Processed

The Rutledge Building

This started out with five exposures that were necessary since outdoors the sun was so bright that the shadow side of the building was dark and lacking detail with a single shot.  After processing, a texture layer was added with the overlay blend mode at 100% opacity.  I liked the effect but wanted more, so the texture layer was duplicated with the same blend mode, but turned down to 65% opacity.  The texture helped to distract from the power lines and fences.

Building TonemappedBuilding with one texture layerBuilding Final

The Final Images
Rusty MachineryRusty DoorWatch Your StepCapHeartRutledge Building

This grunge look is not my normal style, but for the subject matter, it worked for me.

This entry was posted in Photoshop Creativity.


  1. Jan Rollow April 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Wow! You sure do a lot with one photo. Very, very nice.

  2. Sue Rolle April 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Very nice photos. You do well with seeing the “grunginess” in grunge. Great colorplay too.