These are the images before and after post-production. Below I’ll show how I did it step by step. I use a different workflow for every HDR photo, and this is one of them. All manipulations with this image are non destructive. You can go back to any step and change all parameters.
The source (middle image) is a good quality photo and I can accomplish this quality only by converting it in Adobe Camera RAW. There are no underexposure and overexposure parts, and I can create nice looking image for the web. But I prefer to create more dramatic, more bold, and more detailed image. To do this, I assemble 3 images in Photomatix Pro.
This is my Photomatix Pro settings:
As you see I’ve got a pretty grey image with all details I combined from the 3 shots.
Now I need to process the photo in Photoshop to highlight these extra details.
– First I open the TIFF file assembled in Photomatix Pro in Adobe Camera RAW. Then open image as a Smart Object by clicking Open Image with holding down the SHIFT key. The “Open Image” button will change to “Open Object”.
– Duplicate Layer.
– Change Blending Mode to Multiply:
– Image/Adjustments/Shadows & Highlight:
– Making sky a little bit brighter using Curves Adjustment Layer and Masks:
– Reduce Saturation in Yellow:
– Adding Contrast using Levels, excluding sky:
Change the Magenta tone of the image to a more Yellow tone using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:
Now you can reduce the noise of the image using any noise reduction plugins. I prefer the plugin for Photoshop Topaz DeNoise. I didn’t do it for this picture because I prepared it for the web and there is no visible noise on the web size.
The last steps are to crop, reduce the size, and sharpen. For sharpening I like to use this Action.
I hope it was a useful example. If you find it interesting, let me know and I will do more.