I have never done HDR. Recently I took some bracketed RAW images in Arches NP. The intent was to try my hand at HDR. My exposures are -2,0 and +2 EV. I am also pretty inexperienced in editing, do some minor corrections, warming etc. Could you advice regarding workflow? I have CS5. I would get Photomatix if you feel that is good. I am somewhat familiar with the steps but some questions:
- My RAW images are about 25mb each, do I merge and then edit the resulting image or edit first and then merge?
- If I edit first and then merge do I convert the edited images to jpg?
- If I merge 3 RAW images does the file size become roughly 75mb?
- I have seen some of your work here and think I prefer the natural look rather than the grungy look.
- I primarily do landscapes on a 5D MK III. Are three exposures optimum or should I do more in the future?
- Is -2,0,+2 correct separation?
Something to start with. Thanks in advance.
Looks like you have been waiting along time for an answer. I'll do my best to answer all the questions, but these are my opinions, not gospell.
-Photomatrix is great. Get the trial version, see if you like it.
It is best for over the top HDR, that some hate and some love. BTW Photomatrix does a great job with single RAW images. So you can go back and "HDRify" some of your older images, including sports/action and people photos where subject movement makes theee images impossible.
-Merge first and then edit. if you edit first, you'll be editing 3 images to uncertain results.
-Does the file size become 75MB? No.
-Natural HDR is great, do what you like. Here is a secret never before revealed tip: If you make an HDR in photoshop/Photomatrix/in camera etc, you can always calm it down in PS by making it a layer with the normally processed image. Then just adjust the top layer's transparency to get an image somewhere between.
-Three exposures is great, but 5 or 7 is slightly better, especially if noise is a concern, or the scene was VERY contrasty. If you were making HDR your main thing in Photography I'd say do more. If you are experimenting, three at 2 stops is great.
-Bonus. When I find myself shooting the ultimate landscape I just walked 9 miles to get too. i always bracket for the sake of bracketing. These can later be HDRifyed, or just processed, or both.
-2nd Bonus, try B&W HDR.