HDR, or high dynamic range imaging, is a technique that takes a series of frames at slightly different exposures and merges them together to create a composite photo with more detail than a single frame.
It’s a polarizing effect. Some photographers love how the technique can bring out all of the detail in an image, others don’t like the look, especially when taken a little too far.
In this round-up, we share ten HDR photo effects for Photoshop. These actions and tools can take your images and create HDR style images. You won’t always have a series of frames at with perfectly-bracketed exposures, so I’ve included a few that simulate the effect from a single image.
Click on any of the images in the round-up below to jump over to Envato Elements and try the actions out.
With 18 different looks, this is the perfect HDR Photoshop action to try out if you’re new to the effect. You can use this action with either JPEG or RAW files. Make sure to jump over to see examples of how impressive these actions are.
2. HDR Pro
HDR Pro really does feel like a next-level effect to create high dynamic range imagery. Not only does this tool allow you to combine multiple images for true HDR effects, it can also create a “good enough” version from a single image. Try this out for complete creative control in creating high dynamic range images.
3. HDR Action
This action embodies a more classic HDR look with highly enhanced details and wide tonal range. Try out these single click styles to add contrast.
Many people tend to think of HDR as a single look, but not so with the SoHDR Photoshop effect. Not only do these actions layer in an HDR effect, they also apply stylized coloring as the example below shows. This is a great twist on the typical HDR look, and there are 30 different styles you can try.
Portraiture is one of the most challenging scenarios for HDR, but this set of Photoshop HDR effects somehow finds that balance between bringing out the details and not over accentuating the skin flaws of a subject.
This set of Photoshop HDR effects doesn’t require a complete range of images to create high dynamic imagery. Instead, the contrast and highlight to shadow balance effects can simulate that HDR effect with just a single click.
Not every action in this FilterGrade package is a faded or light-leaky look. In fact, there are several Photoshop HDR effects that balance a classic look with the modern feel of HDR.
This sect of actions is one of the simplest Photoshop HDR effects I’ve come across. Twenty different styles, each of which only take a single click, will style your landscape imagery with enough dynamic range to bring out all the detail.
Don’t be mistaken that this seemingly retro package contains only vintage looks: the Lomocam set of Photoshop HDR effects contains seven special effects in the package that beautifully simulate an HDR image.
Rounding out our Photoshop HDR photo effects round-up, here are actions that are suited specifically for landscape imagery. Apply these to your landscape imagery to see extra dynamic range in your landscapes!
More on HDR and Photoshop
HDR, when done properly, is a stunning effect that brings out more detail in an image than a single frame can show. In this round-up, you saw 10 Photoshop HDR photo effects.
Here’s more about HDR, examples of how it’s done properly, and more: