5 pictures straight from the camera from -2 to +2 exposure. Under–exposures optimize the sky, over–exposures
optimize the shadows, and the even exposure optimize the midtones.
Bringing them into Post
Choosing Bracketed Images
Choosing Single Image
Photomatix will be your first stop in post processing. Hit "Load Bracketed Photos" and bring in
all your brackets. After they've loaded you'll want to enter them into the process of "tonemapping" (another one of the
very few buttons shown on the Photomatix menu). The beauty of shooting in RAW is you can tonemap a single RAW image to get
the HDR effects as well. Simply open a RAW image within Photomatix and click, "Edit>Tonemapping". This is a great way to
get HDR effects when shooting moving subjects such as animals, sports scenes, your children and so on.
Watch Your Sliders
Upon entering the tonemapping screen you will be encountered with several sliders. Move your "strength" all the way to
100% for many situations. Don't touch "saturation" in Photomatix – HDR is not about over satuating your picture
– it's about light (although there's certainly a time and a place for some colorbursts!). Besides, your main editing
software will be better for dealing with saturation settings. The next slider you will see is "luminosity" – the
further right you go the less "halo" effect that makes most HDR photographers and HDR disbelievers cringe. Also the
further right you go the more of a "painterly" effect you will get in your tonemapped image. Microcontrast is next and you
will adjust this on a per picture basis. White and Black point shouldn't be messed with too much – you want to stay
within your histogram so you don't lose light or blow out the image. The most important/dynamic slider is Smoothing. To
keep your final product realistic keep your smoothness in the range of -2 to +2. The further right you go will also help
in taking out the "halo" effect. Of course the sliders are all up to personal preference. Your best bet is trial and
error and you will quickly discover the wrong slider positions. There is a lot of room for personalizing your slider
controls – no one way is right for every image. This is why you will always want to reset to default slider
positions every time you load your brackets.
Photomatix Deghosting Tool
Choose Semi-Manual Deghosting
Mark Selection as Ghosted Area
Change Which Bracket to Use
Preview Before Tonemapping
Just to backtrack a tad I did want to touch on "ghosting" for a moment, especially since Photomatix 4.0 has absolutely
revolutionized manual ghost removal, making it a breeze and should keep you from shying away from shooting crowds, waves,
or trees on a windy day. Right after you load your brackets and click proceed you will be presented with a menu that has
the option for semi-manual deghosting. If you know there is movement in your brackets choose this. Before you even get to
tonemapping you'll get a nasty looking image with brightness and zoom sliders on the bottom. Find where the ghosting
occurs and zoom in all the way so you can be precise with your selection. With your mouse circle the area of ghosting.
Depending if you're on Mac or PC right click or select "mark selected area". You will then either right click or select
(within the selected area) "set another photo for selection". By doing this you will have the option of choosing to use
any of your other brackets for that selected area. Click "preview deghosting" to review the change. If you're happy click
"OK" on the bottom left. You can do this for however many points you'd like in your image and this takes so much of the
tedious layer masking out of the mix. Then you will tonemap your image like we previously mentioned.