High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG states “how to convert simple images into awesome and inspiring one”. Specially beginners will find this tutorial very useful in passion of increasing their HDR skills (HDR using Adobe Photoshop and Photomatix)

Finalized High Dynamic Range (HDR) using tutorial given below…

you will need Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix and this image

1. open this image in Adobe Photoshop
2. decrease image size (683 x 1024)
3. change exposure and save
Image > Adjustment > Exposure > Presets > Minus 2.0
4. Close without save.
5. Change exposure and save
Image > Adjustment > Exposure > Presets > Plus 2.0
6. Open Photomatix, click “Generate HDR Image” Button, Browse and open all these images (original, exposure with Minus 2.0, exposure with Plus 2.0)
7. Specify “E.V. Spacing: 2″……, IF this dialog box appears… then press OK
8. Click “Reduce Noice” in “Generate HDR – Options”… then press OK
9. As processed image appears, click “Tone Mapping”
10. In Photomatix under “Detail Enhancer” Tab, Always remember don’t touch more than these 3 options ….1. Strength, 2. Light Smoothing, 3. Microcontrast
Set other option e.g., color saturation, luminosity, Tone setting etc. in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Lightroom etc.
Because Adobe Photoshop is best to deal with these, on the other hand Photomatix is best to generate HDR Image from multi exposure images.
I used here, Stregth > 100, Light Smoothing > Very Hight, Microcontrast > 0

11. Click “Process”
12. File > Save As > Save as tiff
13. Open Adobe Bride, Browse to ‘saved tiff’, right click on ‘saved tiff’, Open in Camer Raw….
14. Here in Adobe Camera Raw, you will only change in ‘Basic’ Tab , exposure > +0.50, Black > 7, Brightness > +20, Clarity > +80, Vibrance > +20, Saturation > +10
15. and your High Dynamic Range (HDR) is ready.


  1. July 28, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for the how-to! I hadn’t heard about PhotoMatrix and I haven’t tried doing any HDR images yet.



  2. August 14, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Awesome didnt know it could be effectively done with one photo. THanks

  3. James Stevens-Reply
    August 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks. Good tutorial. Will definitely be useful.

  4. Faisal-Reply
    August 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

    very nice ~ thanks alot for charing !

  5. Paul-Reply
    August 22, 2009 at 2:16 am

    I think the original looks better.

  6. August 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Hello. Thanks for this tutorial, but you have to mentone that by using a minimum of 3 REAL CORRECTED EXPOSURE SHOTS, the result will be much more powerfull and a way better. Overall i think we can call this a Dynamic Range picture, but it does not deserve HIGH Dynamic Range.

    Greetings from Austria
    – These are my HDR’s: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41305243@N03/

  7. August 26, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this awesome technique …

  8. Kimmy-Reply
    September 1, 2009 at 11:33 am

    If those of you would notice… He was doing us a FAVOR by showing us the right way to do a single exposure HDR. Threre isnt a right way and a wrong way. As long as it is multiple exposures. If he went thru all the ways you ‘could’ make an HDR PERFECT we’d be here all week. It is all subjective. Mabye you could have said thank you – or not said anything at all? Just my opinon. I am grateful for it even though I already know how to do it. I certainlyl don’t complain about any tutorial which is mean to aid in our better photography outcomes.
    Thank you –

  9. September 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    With older version of Photomatix you dont need to first create 3 artificial images in Photoshop.

    I use version 2.x, and you can just open the jpg once, then open it again, so you have 2 times the same jpg image opened in Photomatix. Then you click Generate HDR, and just leave all exposures on 0.

    Then tonemap, and voila. Same result as making 3 exposures, but a lot less work. I dont know why Photomatix removed this possibility from their future versions, thats the only reason I went back to the older version of Photomatix.


  10. September 23, 2009 at 8:06 am

    thanx for sharing, you cn make HDR from a single layer (raw) too using tone mapping via photomatrix…

  11. mark-Reply
    October 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry but I cant get it to work. I get entirely purple cast image after i click tone mapping.
    I load jpg into photoshop then use two variations on the same original image +2 -2 exposures and save them.
    Then I load all three in Photomatix and wait…..I get semi-nice photo and only thing left to click is Tone Mapping. When I click it the image turns purple, like with a purple filter. ?? I tried saving as tiff, jpg and NO, tried newest version of program..NO. Only thing I have not done is to lower image size since that seems irrelevant.

    What is the problem? I have plenty of potential great HDR jpg-s and would like this to work.
    Help please

    • kim-Reply
      October 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

      you need to adjust your levels. That is normal to have a cast.

      What options show on your screen now? It has NOTHING to do with image size. 🙂

      Tell me what shows on your screen when you Click Tone Mapping, dont you have a bunch of options to adjust?

  12. October 15, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Almost all photo at my blog using his technique..lately shot in RAW..get more control ….try it you will love it

  13. Robert-Reply
    October 16, 2009 at 1:16 am

    You can do this with just Photoshop… It’s a little more involved but the result is the same.

  14. Jim Radtke-Reply
    October 16, 2009 at 6:45 am

    THANKS! great tutorial. High Dynamic or Low Dynamic, the beauty is still in the mind of the beholder, whoever that might be. There are times that we just can’t get multiple images and this is a good solution.

  15. December 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    What happens here, actually is tone-mapping. It doesn’t have to do much with HDR, since true HDR catches a *greater* range of stops by shooting a series of differently exposed photos.

    Pseude-HDR or tonemapping like above example, is just optimizing the available light/ info within one photo. Apple’s Aperture will almost fully be able to recreate above (which I use alot).

    But in the end: it’s the result that counts. But if you really like to do HDR, go shoot using bracketing mode. The results will be alot better!

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