HDR tonemapping is the Marmite of photography. It’s something people either love or they hate, but even if you hate it, when used subtly it’s a technique that can still help to bring back some shadow and highlight detail where you need it.
This quick tip from photographer and YouTuber Jimmy McIntyre shows you a method for creating an fake HDR-like look from a single exposure within Photoshop, that you can easily adjust and tweak to suit your image’s needs.
In the video, Jimmy shows a method which can easily be wrapped up into a Photoshop action, saving you valuable time in the future, and while the look may be a little strong for some, it can easily be dialled back, and masked off to apply it to only specific areas within an image.
Here’s a before and after of the image on which Jimmy worked from within Photoshop.
You can also see the changes in the image noted in the histogram on the right of the screen.
The principle of this techniques is similar to that of luminosity masks, using Photoshop’s “Apply Image” feature in order to create a pair of layers masking off the brightest highlights and darkest darks, allowing you to bring back some of the detail in just those areas.
Using something like Lumenzia would give you an even greater degree of control, but the technique shown in the video is a quick and handy addition to your actions toolbox.
What actions have you created to help speed up your Photoshop workflow, or to allow you to quickly test different methods and techniques on an image? Let us know in the comments.