Using Adobe Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro feature

Much of this info comes from here:


In Photoshop, select File | Automate | Merge to HDR Pro. When the Merge to HDR Pro dialog appears, click on the Browse button, select the images you want to process, and then click OK.


The Merge to HDR Pro dialog appears showing you a preview of the processed file. Below the preview window, you’ll see a filmstrip with all the different exposures that made up the image, and the options on the right side of the dialog allow you to make adjustments to the image.


Turning on the Remove Ghosts checkbox at the top right of the dialog will have Photoshop reprocess the image and remove any ghosts. If you’re not happy with the results, you can always select one of the other exposures down in the filmstrip to use as a new “source” image, and it will reprocess the image with this new source file.


Press the Refine Edge button up in the Options bar. Set the Radius to 5 pixels. Choose Layer Mask from the Output To pop-up menu, and click OK


Once you have the overall effect dialed in, you can use the Tone and Detail section to make some fine-tune adjustments. With the exception of one slider, Gamma, all of the sliders in this section easily make sense to anyone who has ever worked with digital photography and Photoshop. The Gamma slider controls the relative amount of brightness and darkness of an image—dragging it in one direction makes more of the image brighter; dragging it in the other direction makes more of the image darker. Think of it as a seesaw: one side is shadows, the other is highlights, and the center is Gamma. Moving it to the left or right changes the overall balance of the image. Here, I set the Gamma to 0.68, lowered the Exposure to –0.25, and increased the Detail to 50%.


Once your processing is done, it’s time to add a bit of color to the image. You’ll notice that there are Vibrance and Saturation sliders in the Color tab at the bottom right of the dialog.


To adjust the overall contrast in the image, use the Curve tab

The “Scott 5” Preset

This preset just makes Adobe’s implementation of HDR much better! You can download it on the site


Once you get a setting that you like, click on the Preset Options icon to the right of the Preset pop-up menu, and select Save Preset. Name your preset and click Save.  You’ll find this preset in the Preset pop-up menu.
Presets are saved in the following locations:

  • Mac: Home/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Presets/HDR Toning
  • Windows 7: UserAppDataRoamingAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS5Presets/HDR Toning