Faux HDR

Do you remember this shot I posted a while back?

I really like this shot.  It was a cold, grey day and this is exactly how it looked and felt to me.  Pretty simple.  Well lately everyone has been shooting HDR of everything.  I like that too and have been trying a lot of different programs that offer free trials.  I am having a really hard time pulling the trigger, as my buddy Jeff likes to call it, when it comes to actually purchasing some HDR specific software.  They all seem to do a nice job.  I am very interested in just capturing all the detail of a scene as I see it.  I do like the highly stylized look of some of the wilder HDR shots also.  So here’s the issue.  Why spend a ton of money when I can produce an image like this one below in Photoshop.

I used the first image as my starting point and opened the image with Adobe Camera Raw.  A long time ago,  before the single image faux HDR was such a popular thing to do, I went crazy with the sliders and discovered that you can get the faux look without extra software.  What I usually do is start by pushing the Recovery, Fill Light, Blacks, Contrast and Clarity sliders all the way to 100%.  Then I will adjust the Exposure and Brightness sliders until I get the look I want.  Sometimes I will have to re-adjust the other sliders a bit as well.  Since every image is different in brightness and contrast your settings will end up differently for each.  But the above settings are a good jumping off point.  After it opens in Photoshop I may tweak it a little more with the Highlights and Shadows adjustment tool.  So before you jump into the pool and spend at least $100 try this first.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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About mikemeyerphotopro

I've been photographing beautiful clouds and skies and landscapes for 30 years. So that's about all you'll see here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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