Photoshop Post Processing

Photoshop Post Processing of a HIgh Dynamic Range (HDR) image can take the image from great to absolutely fabulous.

What you do with your image is entirely up to you and your creative talents.

Probably the normal way to think is that the HDR image is finished and complete after the conversion but that's not necessarily so.

These are simply a few post processing guidelines you can try or you can simply leave the image as it was out of the HDR conversion.  If, however, it seems advantageous to do some additional adjustments then some of these Photoshop post processing may be exactly what you need.

The additional adjustments that can be used include the normal Photoshop techniques you are already using.  Adjustments such as ...

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Sharpening
  • Adding surface effects
  • Black and white conversion
  • Hue and Saturation
  • Soft Light Dodge and Burn (a fabulous adjustment)
  • And pretty much anything else you want to do ...

The most dramatic results may be obtained with a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer and a Soft Light Dodge and Burn Soft Light layer.

Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer

Hue and saturation Photoshop post processing is something you can do to add punch to a High Dynamic Range image.

This is the one we will work with ... not bad and the HDR version is superior to each of the three bracketed shots used to make this image.

photoshop post processing original

The converted image looks good but it lacks some "oomph" - it's a technical term.  Photoshop did a nice job of combining the three images in a natural way but more can be done.

The project started with a Curves Adjustment layer to add a bit more contrast to the image - not too much, just a bit.

The next step was to add a Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer and here it is ...

photoshop post processing hue saturation panel

This is a very useful palette because there are so many adjustments here.

Edit: - this allows you to adjust the Hue/Saturation/Lightness of the individual colors (Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, Magentas) in an image. This one increased the Saturation of the Reds as well as darkening up the reds by lowering the Lightness slider.

When one of the colors is selected and either/or the Saturation and Lightness slider is moved then only the selected color will change.  This means you can individually target the six specific colors and that gives you lots of options.

To go even further then start messing with the Color Range Adjustment at the bottom of the palette.

Color Range

The Color range control at the bottom of the palette provides lots of great options.  With one color selected in the Edit: menu the Color Range slider will be sitting over the selected color and there are additional adjustments that can be made..

photoshop post color range

The fall off is similar to feathring - the color range can be wide or narrow.

This is the type of adjustment that needs to be experienced so open your HDR image, bring up the Hue and Saturation Adjustment layer, select a color range and work with the sliders.

By combining the Saturation and Lightness and then working with the color range you can create some interesting changes to the individual colors in your HDR image.

Here is the previous image with Hue and Saturation adjustments on the individual colors.

photoshop post processing hue saturation adjustment

The colors in the sky, the clouds and the grass are more intense and the image is a tad more dramatic.

But wait - there's more - how about some dodging and burning using a soft light layer ...?

Soft Light Dodge and Burn

If you don't know about dodging and burning with a Soft Light Layer then you are missing a totally fabulous Photoshop post adjustment for an HDR (or any) image.

If you need a soft light layer dodge and burn refresher just click here ....

OK - here is the image with the initial Curves Adjustment, the Hue and Saturation Adjustment Layer and finally the Soft Light Dodge and Burn Layer.  The Dodging and Burning was done only on the sky area ...

photoshop post soft light layer

When this image is compared to the original HDR conversion there is a visible difference.

The sky is more menacing and the greens are more vibrant.


There are so many different adjustments available for Photoshop post processing and most of them can be applied to your HDR image with varying degrees of success.

The adjustments can take you from a mild upgrade to a wild upgrade and anything in between.

Photoshop Post Processing Page LInks

Hue and Saturation

Soft Light Dodge and Burn


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