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HDR in Lightroom, Photoshop and image blending compared - HDR Pro was worst

Explorer ,
Feb 08, 2024 Feb 08, 2024

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I am new to Photoshop and have used Lightroom for several years. I have found HDR in LR to be very useful.

 

With LR, I used 3 exposures, 2 stops apart with good results. After reading a technical article, which stated something like the middle exposure is unnecessary, I repeated an HDR with 2 exposures, leaving out the middle exposure. The result was indistinguishable.

 

Subsequently, I have only used 2 exposures for HDR situations. Usually it is a nighttime shot or a shot where the difference between sky and foreground is large. I shoot one exposure for foreground and one exposure for the sky, use LR HDR and all is good.

 

With PS, I took an image, for which I used 2 exposures for LR HDR. I opened the images as layers in PS and blended them with a gradient so that I had a good result. It looked very similar to the LR HDR, with the exception that the HDR retained some fine tonal differences where the buildings and trees met the sky. The LR HDR was also less work. However, I was able to do some adjustment layers that made a better image than the HDR. I suppose I could make the same adjustments to the LR HDR in PS also, but have not tried that yet.

 

Today, I tried to do the HDR Pro in PS with the same 2 exposures. Total fail. There was terrible banding in the sky. I tried both 16 bit and 32 bit. The foreground was fine.

 

Did I do something wrong or is this a problem in PS? I read that it is recommended to make exposures 1 stop apart for HDR Pro. Is it the case that HDR Pro cannot handle more? I have already observed that LR can.

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