To create High Dynamic Range pictures, you need at least 3 different exposures of the same photo, but in this Photoshop tutorial you will learn how to create HDR from a single image.

This technique will make the bright portions of the image darker, and dark portions of the image lighter. This also gives the image a lot more realistic look.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Photoshop
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 15 Minutes

Step 01

First of all, open any photo that you want to convert to HDR.

Step 02

Now, go to Image> Adjustments> Shadow/Highlights. Set the "Shadow" and "Highlights" amount to 40-50%

Step 03

Duplicate the layer, then go to Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (for CS3 users, choose "Image> Adjustments>Black & White" and click "OK").

After that, change the layer blending to "Hard Light".

Step 04

Let's add some extra color to the picture. Duplicate the original picture (we will call it Blur), and put it on top of the other layers.

Next go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set the Radius around 40 pixels.

Change the layer blending to "Soft Light".

Final Result


This is quite an easy Photoshop tutorial to create a HDR photos without the actual (time-taking) HDR process. Download the .psd file from here.

About the author

Alex Roman

I'm a 26-year old independent graphic artist and architect based in Bucharest and also co-owner of icanbecreative.

I specialize in branding for small businesses and startups: logos, websites, flyers, posters; mostly everything a brand may need to put the word out there in a professional way.

I really love what I do. Want to hire me? Follow me on Facebook.

Post a comment


  • Danielle
    2010-07-10 07:17:48
    I tried this for the first time today and the end result was amazing.
  • Wiliam Waith
    2010-07-10 07:18:27
    Thats a great tutorial. I tried it out and I am very impressed with the result. I will be using this method more often!
  • Scott
    2010-07-10 07:19:52
    Thank you ... verrrry easy to follow and very helpful! :)
  • Sarah
    2010-07-10 07:20:29
    Thank you for sharing this I will give it a try... Again Great tutorial! kep them comming man!!!
  • Miaowlicious
    2010-07-10 07:23:13
    Woohoo thankyou SO much! Glad I found this :O)
  • Nikky
    2010-07-10 07:23:32
    great tutorial. Simple and effective :x
  • Michael Plant
    2010-07-10 07:23:47
    GREAT tutorial! Honestly I have read at least 10 tutorials regarding HDR in Photoshop and this one is by far the simplest method and produces the best results!!
  • Andrew
    2010-07-10 07:24:07
    Thanks for the tutorial. I tried your method and got these results. I had loads of fun playing with different opacity settings.
  • Ferreira Dani
    2010-07-10 07:24:44
    Best quick cheat HDR tutorial yet. Easy to follow, was able to do it with no mistakes in 5 min. Very well written.
  • 2010-07-10 08:36:21
    Great tutorial. Will help my content creating for tourism.
  • joka232
    2010-07-12 11:59:02
    wow dude you made it so clear what u need to do its cool thanks for this tip!
  • Ashocka
    2010-07-18 02:09:47
    This is great, thank you!
  • MT
    2010-07-27 08:33:27
  • sam
    2010-07-29 23:07:36
    Thanks mate works great.
  • 2010-08-04 00:39:44
    Nice effect, works great. thanks
  • Jordan Gray
    2010-08-07 17:24:30
    Absolutely amazing thank-you so much!
  • 2010-08-18 01:57:57
    very quick and nice tutorial..
  • Rachana
    2010-09-05 22:03:19
    Nice tutorial very quick effect.. :)
  • Dona
    2010-09-17 09:43:11
    Thank you for the tut--awesome effect!
  • Nicolette
    2010-10-08 07:13:53
    Excellent tutorial, simple and effective. Thank you very much. To enhance the effect, I may add, when necessary, 2 steps: 1) Adjustements->Shadows/Highlights: increase Highlights 2) Filters->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen: increase sharpness between 20 and 40% with a high value radius, according to need
  • Ronald
    2010-10-30 19:24:46
    I just have a question. For Step 3, do you duplicate the original or the "Shadow/Highlights" layer?
  • 2010-11-23 04:39:13
    CS5 has already a HDR Tool that You can use very easy. But the efect achived in this tutorial is way better.
  • 2011-01-06 15:54:20
  • steph
    2011-01-29 12:52:04
  • Hanan alawadh
    2011-02-28 05:52:59
    Thats Great job , keep it up :)
  • 2011-04-24 19:28:54
    Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept
  • 2011-04-24 19:30:03
    Hello.This article was really fascinating, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this issue last Wednesday.
  • ririe widjajantie
    2011-09-21 05:37:18
    really do <3 it! simple..n amazing result...
  • 2011-12-05 18:15:26
    this very amazing ! thx man :)
  • 2011-12-05 18:16:26
    nice piece of work. :)
  • seo
    2012-01-31 16:22:13
    I do like the way you have presented this situation and it does indeed give me a lot of fodder for consideration. Nevertheless, because of everything that I have personally seen, I simply just hope as the opinions pack on that individuals keep on point and not start upon a soap box regarding the news of the day. Yet, thank you for this superb piece and even though I do not really go along with it in totality, I regard your viewpoint.
  • Silvia
    2012-04-09 13:38:03
    TE IUBEEESC pentru tutorialul asta...stiu ca suna dubios :)) dar chiar am cautat muuuuult asta, un coleg de munca mi-a zis ca imi dezvaluie secretul daca ii calc 10 camasi :))) yep tough life, dar acum sunt super happy ca pot sa ii dau peste nas...graciaaaaaas
  • 2012-04-12 05:08:31
    thnx tutorial...
  • Deee
    2012-05-19 18:54:23
    Great tutorial! Easy to follow and the results are excellent!
  • chang
    2012-05-22 12:50:11
  • Tim
    2012-05-24 10:02:20
    Great tutorial! Really nice result
  • naveen
    2012-09-26 07:01:22
    Great technique bro, i like it
  • Rotoscope
    2013-06-12 21:39:06
    Brilliant! I did a render in CS and it looks great. Thank you, Alex!
  • 2014-10-30 03:14:19
    wow .. . this is new technic for me to make fake HDR . .. . thank you
  • Jitendra Kumar Yadav
    2015-08-11 09:18:49
    Its really nice and easy way to create in hd image.