Editing HDR Images for Real Estate Photography, by Hunter Lomayesva

In this instructional video, Hunter Lomayesva presents a comprehensive guide to image editing, focusing on blending multiple exposures for a cleaner and more appealing result. The tutorial begins with Hunter explaining the process of layering three different exposures of a single image to create a balanced composition. He emphasizes the importance of smooth blending, paying particular attention to the highlights and shadows for a seamless transition between different brightness levels. The technique involves using the middle exposure as a base, then adjusting the highlights and shadows using the other two exposures, demonstrating the use of channel-based selections and layer masks for precise control.

Hunter then shifts focus to refining specific elements of the image, such as windows, where he showcases the ease of using the pen tool for selection and the advantage of the rubber band feature for accuracy. He illustrates how to create and modify selections, emphasizing the need for subtle adjustments to achieve a natural look. This part of the tutorial is particularly insightful as it delves into the nuances of window correction, a common challenge in exposure blending.

The latter part of the video covers advanced color correction techniques and exposure balancing, aiming to achieve a more visually appealing and balanced image. Hunter demonstrates the use of various Photoshop tools, including the replace color function, color range selection, and curves adjustment to fine-tune the image’s color and exposure. He also provides tips on using the history brush and setting up custom keyboard shortcuts, which streamline the editing process. The tutorial concludes with Hunter applying final touches such as sharpening, saturation adjustments, and guide alignment, ensuring the image is both sharp and vibrant.

Throughout the video, Hunter Lomayesva’s approach is both methodical and user-friendly, making complex techniques accessible to viewers with different levels of experience in photo editing. His emphasis on learning through practice and not being deterred by imperfections in the editing process is particularly encouraging for beginners. The tutorial is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills in exposure blending and color correction in Photoshop.


Okay, so we’ve got three brackets here, and I’m going to blend them in a way that is very smooth and very clean. I also need to cut out these windows and do a little bit of color correction here and there. But let’s go ahead and get started. So, I’ve got the middle exposure on the top, and I just bring that in the middle so it goes from top to bottom: dark, mid, and then bright. The bright is going to be our base. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to use our middle exposure to bring down the highlights, and then if we need to, we can use our dark exposures to bring down the highlights even more. So let’s go ahead and do that. I’m going to use the channels.

So what we’re going to do is hover over the RGB channel and then hold down Ctrl or Command, make a selection, and then hit function Shift F6, or just F6 if you have a keyboard that is a full layout. We want to feather this by 200 percent, or 200 pixels I should say, and then just add a layer mask on here. Basically, what we’ve done is create a little luminosity mask out of this RGB Channel, and that is blurred so it’s really smooth. It’s really blending in very well, and I like it a lot. So now what we need to do is blend in these windows. These windows are actually very simple because there are no blinds or anything like that on them; it is just very easy. So what we’re going to do is bring up the pen tool, make sure that our rubber band is turned on, and we’re going to start from the corners. We’re going to complete that path and make it a selection. We’re going to go ahead and hit Ctrl Shift Enter, and that will create a selection, and we’ll do that for all of these window panes. Just make sure we get that looking nice.

And I’m not too worried about this, but I’ll show you what I do in case it actually bothers me. But these things like this, where you have these little, I don’t know, pieces in the window, I usually just cut corners right there and I just leave them in there. So let’s go ahead and just bring this in here. I’m going to feather that by one pixel and I’m going to add a layer mask to this dark layer. It looks pretty good, and if you have an issue with these being a little bit too dark, just group this and we can go ahead and start to make a little selection. These little selections around here don’t need to be perfect because nothing in life is perfect. I learned that the hard way. So let’s go ahead and just keep making these selections. I probably won’t need to do them on the east because that actually looks pretty decent. I’ll feather that by one pixel and hold down Alt or Option to make that into an inverted mask.

So that’s what our masks look like. This is what our other masks look like, so when you group things, it’s super easy to keep track of. So that looks pretty good so far. Now what we need to do now is fix the ceiling. I always fix the ceiling in my shots or in my edits because I like my ceilings to be white, or at least be close to white. So I’m just going to make a quick little path around here, make that into a selection using the same method that we used for the windows. We’re going to go ahead and make sure that our keyboard shortcut is set up for image, scroll down all the way to replace color, and I usually set it to Ctrl Shift Alt R, and I accept that. Now let’s click OK. So when I hit Ctrl Shift Ctrl Shift Alt R, there we go. It brings up my replace color prompt. So what we can do now is just bring this down to about like negative 45, seems about good. And then if we ever have an issue where this corner is like a little bit not desaturated enough, we

just hit the Alt key, select an area that is the color that we want, that’ll sample it and bring it down to our swatches. Hold down Shift and make sure the blend mode is set to color, and we can just blend that in. It’s real subtle, but it does make our ceiling more even. And I’m going to make sure this is set to off because this is kind of annoying. So now, we just need to do a little bit of exposure balancing to make it a little bit more appealing.

Let’s go to select color range shadows, and we’re going to bring up the fuzziness to about 90. I set the range to 60. I’m going to click okay, and we’re going to feather this anywhere between 150 and 200. I’m going to go with 200 for the time being. Hit Ctrl M, that brings up the curves prompt. I’m going to bring up the mid-tones up to about here, and I’m going to bring down the Black Point. So what we can see is that the exposure just gets more balanced. See right there, beautiful. And just so I can get the highlights a little bit more evened out, I’m going to go to Ctrl Shift I. I’ll invert that selection, so we’re basically selecting the highlights instead of the shadows. Ctrl M brings up our curves, and then that looks pretty good. So before and after, subtle but way more balanced, I like it.

Now what we need to do is study a bit more color correction because we have edges that are more saturated than the overall image, like this is a little bit more saturated. But I’m mainly looking at this, so let’s go ahead and go to Ctrl Shift Alt S. I’m going to set this to 45 and make sure that’s selected. I’m going to bring this down. As you can see, that’s the area of uh that’s really weird-looking. I think it looks pretty good. Cool, that looks good. Now we just need to do some sharpening. So I do my sharpening with unsharp mask, and I always use an amount of 115. That’s a little bit high for some people; maybe 100 is probably better. I like my images to look pretty sharp. So let’s go ahead and bring up our rulers, which we can do with Ctrl R. We’ll bring in some rulers, or some guides I should say. Ctrl T will bring up your transform prompt. Hit Ctrl Shift and we’ll drag these corners so they are aligning with these guides.

I think it looks pretty good. I’m going to add a little bit of saturation back into the image, add about like 10 just

to lighten it up. This is bothering me, so I’m going to go ahead and hit Ctrl Shift Alt A, and I’m going to select this area. Bring up the feathering a little bit, or the fuzziness I should say. It looks pretty good, but it’s a little bit desaturated, so I’m going to bring this back in the history state. I’m going to bring that to the previous history state and I’m going to check this box. This box will basically allow me to use the history brush, which is Y on the keyboard. So, history brush, and I’m going to resize the brush and just paint in the areas that I need.

So that looks cool. Alright, cool, that looks pretty good. Now I think that’s pretty much it. Let’s check our colors here. It’s a little bit of magenta, so I’m going to go ahead and get rid of that. Let’s go ahead and get rid of a little bit of blue. I’m going to go with 84 blue, 64 sans, bring the Greens down by like 15, and then I’ll bring in saturation to about 10. Cool. I do think it’s adjusting this too much, so what we’re going to do is go to our previous history state that has that color information, and we’ll bring that back in with our history brush. So I’m going to use a flow of 10% just to bring back some of that color. Now, I love using the history brush; it’s super weird, it’s a weird brush, but I love it because I use the history panel a lot. So being able to switch through my history states is really nice. So that looks pretty decent. So let’s go ahead and flatten that image, and we’re done. Get rid of these guides, and it’s looking pretty good. No, it’s good.

So that’s pretty much how you do a really good, really basic image. I will be expanding on this with a lot more difficult images. I just wanted to get the basics out. So that’s pretty much it. If you guys have any comments, questions, concerns, advice, just let me know and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Alright, thanks.