How to Create High Dynamic Range Photos With Photomatix Pro

Photomatix Pro

Photomatix Pro allows photographers to easily merge multiple exposures of a scene into high dynamic range photos. It automatically aligns bracketed images for optimal composition, offering styles ranging from natural to artistic.

Automatic or selective deghosting tools are provided in this software suite to address moving objects within the scene when taking bracketed shots.

Merge multiple exposures to HDR

Photomatix Pro makes HDR images by combining images taken at different exposure values into one HDR picture, creating one HDR image by combining details found in shadows, midtones and highlights of your scene photos. It’s an ideal solution for high contrast scenes that would otherwise be difficult to capture all at once and also can eliminate ghosting both automatically and manually.

Photomatix supports JPEG and TIFF files with either 8- or 16-bit/channel modes as well as Camera Raw files, making processing large numbers of bracketed images relatively quick; though your specific computer specifications will determine this speed.

The merge to HDR dialog lets you set your desired result image’s look from its initial step. Here, there are various options such as aligning source photos (align and show deghosting), including perspective correction if appropriate, taking hand-held or tripod images, as well as how many stops of dynamic range to combine.

Use sliders to fine-tune tone mapping, or choose from 40 built-in presets categorized as natural, surreal and grunge. There are also options available to you to control the strength of HDR effect, local adjustments that add contrast in different areas of an image, and midtone adjustments which affect mid tones rather than just making blacks darker or whiter.

Once you’ve selected your settings and are satisfied with them, click merge to create your HDR image. At this stage, a preview of the final result appears with its tone map to the right and sample thumbnails highlighting each effect of every setting applied.

Selective or automatic deghosting

Selective and automatic deghosting allows you to remove ghosts from an image without losing important details in its shadows and highlights. The tool uses an image preview of your selected image to identify which parts need deghosting and produces a clear, sharp image without ghosts or blurring. Furthermore, this feature makes shooting multi-exposure panoramas with handheld cameras featuring moving subjects, like people or cars much simpler!

Photomatix Pro can quickly process multiple images at the same time – even large sets of bracketed photos – with processing times dependent upon their number, tone mapping steps taken and computer specifications.

The new watermark tool makes it easy to add custom text watermarks to images. Customise its font, size, layout and position; perfect for photographers working with clients who wish to include contact info or copyright notices within the watermark.

An intuitive interface simplifies working with multiple images and presets. The “Overview Shortcuts” panel becomes an app frame window; settings adjustments, preview, and preset thumbnails are displayed all together in one window; context-sensitive help frames become available when clicking Merge to HDR Options; all these features make managing multiple images and presets simpler than ever!

Now, when using selective ghost removal, you have the ability to save any areas you mark – this comes in handy if you plan on merging another batch of bracketed photos together later on. Furthermore, you can reset your selection using the pop-up menu of this tool by choosing “Set another photo for selection.”

Now you can enable the option to automatically refresh your preview as you move sliders on the ‘Adjust & Preview’ window – this feature can be enabled on the General tab of Preferences dialog.

Crop or straighten your image

Photomatix Pro provides the ability to enhance photos with contrast and sharpening settings as well as crop or straighten options, along with providing an HDR “look”.

Use the Crop Tool to customize a crop or choose one of its presets for common aspect ratios, then click and drag any corner or edge of your crop to change its size – locking allows you to prevent accidentally moving any part of original image beyond crop boundary.

With the Straighten Tool, you can rotate and reposition an image by using click and drag, or by navigating using a grid displayed inside of cropped area. In addition, this tool can help correct an irregular image by drawing reference lines; for instance, to align buildings vertically along a horizon line.

When creating HDR from bracketed photos, you now have the option of manually setting a smaller maximum shift (instead of automatically selecting an amount equal to the greatest difference in exposures) so as to better match colors between images when merging them together.

By default, the Settings and Preview windows have been combined into one window by default; you may wish to separate them by changing this setting in Preferences. As soon as you make adjustments in the Workflow Shortcuts panel, your preview is immediately updated; alternatively you may opt to have it refresh every time a slider moves within Presets or Adjustments panels – this feature can be especially beneficial when working with large images where changing presets requires minimise-and-restore Photomatix multiple times before seeing its results.


Photomatix Pro offers an expansive library of presets that you can use to quickly produce various HDR effects. Each preset has a distinct tone-mapping algorithm to produce different results; some produce artistic HDR pictures while others produce realistic ones. Presets can speed up post-production time – for instance if an underexposed shot needs increasing exposure quickly you can select an appropriate preset and apply it with one click; similarly you can manage tone mapping parameters to reduce noise or adjust other aspects of photos quickly and efficiently.

Image Adjustment provides all available presets in its Presets panel (see section below for details). When you select a preset, your image preview is immediately rendered with those settings and results are updated immediately; if the result doesn’t suit you, simply change or select another preset from its list.

Presets can be organized into categories to correspond with different effect styles (Artistic, Realistic, Architecture and Black & White), using the drop-down menu at the top of the Presets panel to filter by these categories.

If you want to start with one preset and modify its settings to meet your personal taste, select Redo With Other Settings in the Workflow Shortcuts panel. In addition, use the Finishing Touch panel for extra contrast or cropping as necessary – using presets in this way can save both time and effort when dealing with bracketed shots or photos that don’t appear perfectly exposed.

Plugin for Capture One

If you have a Capture One catalog or session open, Photomatix Pro allows you to seamlessly merge a selection of bracketed photos into HDR automatically and easily adjust it with presets and options that reflect your personal style. In addition, this plugin helps eliminate ghosting in hand-held photos as well as automatically align hand-held bracketed exposures for optimal results.

Photomatix Pro supports all major file formats, such as JPEG and TIFF images produced by cameras as well as RAW format produced by numerous models of cameras, with support being added regularly for new cameras. Photomatix Pro’s processing speed makes it ideal for processing large sets of images quickly even when dealing with photos that contain different exposure levels.

Use of Photomatix Pro is simple and user-friendly, however compared to more costly software like Photoshop there are no fine-tuning features available here (though Photoshop offers these). While this shouldn’t pose too many problems for most users, those used to working with more flexible programs might find Photomatix Pro slightly frustrating in comparison.

Photomatix software provides all the tools you need to produce high dynamic range images that stand out. Ideal for architecture, landscape and real estate photography or any scene where more detail must be captured than human vision can perceive, Photomatix is easy and intuitive to use; although some experimentation may be needed before fully understanding how each option works. Should any help be required with its use or editing an image; Photomatix offers comprehensive manuals as well as video tutorials to guide users along. It even displays tips when editing an image letting them know about what options will do.

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