Lake Annecy With HDR And Photomatix

Lake Annecy, French Alps

This week I’ve been experimenting with HDR and Photomatix a little. I originally processed this shot of Lake Annecy exclusively in Lightroom, but wasn’t completely happy with the results even though I liked the composition.

I didn’t have multiple exposures of the same scene as you typically would with HDR, so I used Photomatix to create an HDR image from a single RAW file. It gave me some extra detail in the foreground and the mountains on the horizon which is just what I was looking for.

While I’m not a fan of the over processed, saturated HDR images you see a lot these days, I do appreciate the more subtle effect the process can create. I still don’t have the patience for taking more than one exposure of a single scene but I do think I’ll be using Photomatix a little more in the future!

Have you ever used Photomatix? Maybe you’re a big fan of HDR images? I’d love to hear from you!


13 thoughts on “Lake Annecy With HDR And Photomatix

  1. Heyjude

    like you I am not a fan of the over-saturated effect, especially in natural photos such as landscapes, though it can be used effectively in architectural photos, but used subtly to enhance a colour or texture it can add vibrance. I love the colour of the water here, and the texture of the foreground. I think you have done well 🙂

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Jude. I agree that HDR is probably most powerful with architecture photography, both interiors and exteriors. I’m still exploring how best to utilise it for a subtle effect with landscapes. Whilst the differences between this and my Lightroom only output were minor when taken individually, as a whole I felt this image worked much better.

  2. kazg10

    Hi Been I totally agree with you. I don’t always take multiple images either. Photomatix if used responsively can look great with that extra kick. I’d be interested to know how you did it. Do you process in light room first, save then as jpeg or can you still save as RAW and keep your changes, then photomatix? I just have Photomatix essentials but wondered if it was worth the extra dollars to upgrade to the full software?

    1. Ben Post author

      Actually I dragged the RAW file into Photomatix to apply the HDR effect, made my changes there with the sliders (using the Natural preset as my starting point) and then exported a .tif file back into Lightroom to make a few further changes, mainly increasing contrast in the sky.

      But I need to do some more research on the best workflow for using Photomatix and Lightroom together since it’s the first time I have done it. I guess if there are major changes you’d like to make that can only be done to a RAW file (like White Balance adjustments) it makes sense to make those in Lightroom first and then export.

      I’ve not used Essentials, but based on my reading it sounds like the main difference between the two is the user interface, with Pro having a few more options. There is a free trial for Photomatix Pro which adds a watermark to your images. So I’d suggest trying it for free and comparing the results with your output from Essentials 🙂

      1. kazg10

        Thanks Ben I appreciated your reply. I will look into the free trial. I look forward to more posts like this. They are very informative and its nice to know what other people do. I am a novice with post processing so always interested to hear ideas. 🙂

    1. Ben Post author

      I’m glad to find other people who feel the same way as me about HDR. Those super HDR’d photos seem so popular these days! Thanks for stopping by Mani.


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