Using Luminance HDR

Yesterday I’ve had a go at using Luminance HDR. This is a free program which you can download from the
internet, and which is all about High Dynamic Range imaging (HDR). HDR is said to work best when you’re
faced with very tricky photographic lighting situations, such as church interiors. I won’t say any more
about this, as there are excellent online articles on the subject, such as this one written by Pat David …

He makes the point that a lot of HDR images you see are “craptastic” … they are badly overdone.
I have seen some wonderful HDR photos on Flickr, but many others look rubbish.

Using Pat’s article my guide, I used LHDR on three RAW images of shelving, to try it out. I used different
EVs (exposure values) for each shot of the same subject.
I used LHDR variations labelled as Mantiuk ’08, Fattal and Reinhard ’05, tweaking the results with various 
sliders in the tone-mapping section to optimise them.

Overall I wasn’t impressed with any of the LHDR results, though I thought Fattal gave me the best result.
All of them were lacking in terms of colour, brightness and contrast, and had excessive noise plus loss of
detail, so I had to spend extra time tweaking the images in Photoshop Elements to improve them.
My best quality image was obtained by simply editing my baseline RAW image in Photoshop. I think that this 
one looked the most realistic, though I imagine that some of you might prefer the Fattal one, as it looks more 

Here are two of my images, the first one of which I enhanced in Photoshop Elements ….


Next, the HDR image I made using Luminance LDR Fattal, plus Photoshop Elements …


I will have another go with HDR photography sometime, but if this is typical of the quality I get, then I will 
abandon it.


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