Photomatix Pro

23 March 2017

Photomatix Pro 6 is coming!

Posted in: finland, Photomatix Pro|

It was very difficult for me to keep this as a secret for much longer but I’m now allowed by my company to tell you this:

Photomatix Pro 6 is coming!

Finally 🙂 The release date hasn’t been announced yet and there is a lot of info I still can’t share with you at this point (like show you how the new UI looks for instance) but I’m allowed to talk a little bit about new features that will be available in Photomatix Pro 6 😉

One of them is new rendering method. And today I would like to share HDR image edited using this brand new rendering method, called Tone Balancer, which is especially useful if you’re after that natural look.  It means it’s perfect for landscape, architecture and real-estate photographers. It’s very easy to use and the results are really fantastic! I love it so much that it became one of my favourite rendering methods already (besides Contrast Optimizer, which is available since version 5).

BTW make sure to follow official Photomatix account on Facebook for news and updates. Especially if you don’t want to miss public beta tests which are expected in the future and in which everyone will be able to participate.

HDR photo edited with Photomatix Pro 6
4 December 2015

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

Posted in: capture one, forest, hdr, landscape, long-exposure, mexico, Photomatix Pro, tutorial|

Capture One & Photomatix Pro HDR workflow

As you probably know I love Photomatix Pro and recently I also felt in love with Phase One Capture One. Before moving to Capture One I used Lightroom and my HDR workflow was simple: select the bracketed images in Lightroom, export them to Photomatix using a plugin, make adjustments in Photomatix, save the image and it would automatically show in Lightroom allowing me to make final adjustments there or send the image to Photoshop for instance.

As much as I like Capture One, it made my HDR workflow a bit more complicated because it doesn’t support plugins (unfortunately just released version 9, hasn’t changed anything in this regard) so it’s not possible to open bracketed images directly in Photomatix from Capture One level. It means different approach is needed and I would like to share my current HDR workflow with you.

Here are main steps:

  1. First I do basic adjustments like lens correction, removing chromatic aberration, white balance or noise reduction in Capture One
  2. I export the images as 16-bit TIFF files to a folder where my source images are stored (of course recipe is needed for that).
  3. I load exported TIFF images to Photomatix and merge them to HDR where I post-process them as I would normally do.
  4. After doing the adjustments in Photomatix I save the image as 16-bit TIFF in the directory where source images are located
  5. I switch back to Capture One. As I saved HDR image in the same directory as source images, it appears there automatically.
    Note: make sure to disable following option in Capture One: main menu View -> Global Filters -> Always Hide Processed TIFF . In my case it was checked by default and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my tone-mapped images didn’t show in Capture One.
  6. I do fine tuning in Capture One. This includes working on colors and contrast, removing dust spots, local adjustments etc.
  7. If I need more control I export the image from Capture One to Photoshop.

It seems to be quite complicated but apart from steps 2 and 3 it doesn’t differ much from my previous Lightroom workflow. In case of Lightroom these 2 steps were one – export the images from Lightroom to Photomatix and it happened almost automatically, a bit more work is needed here.

Sunset in Mexico

Today I’d like to share long-exposure HDR taken in Mexico in 2014, post-processed in Capture One and Photomatix (yes, above workflow applies here). I really like this silky smooth water. It looks sort of dreamy or painterly.

Sunset in Mexico (more…)

27 November 2015

Photomatix Pro Black Friday Deal

Posted in: hdr, london, long-exposure, photomatix, Photomatix Pro|

Photomatix Pro Black Friday Deal

If you have considered getting yourself Photomatix Pro or Essentials, now might be the best time to purchase it as HDRsoft offers 25% Black Friday deal on its website. To get it:

  1. Visit HDRsoft website.
  2. During check-out use following coupon code to apply your discount: BLF2015

Note: the coupon is valid until 6th of December!

And to get you started with Photomatix, I highly recommend my free HDR tutorial:

Blue hour in London

Today I’d like to share a bit older high dynamic range image taken near Tower Bridge in London. As you can see I wasn’t the only one photographing on that day. Despite most of the photographers already left (many leave as soon as sunset finishes – big mistake!) but there were still a few taking photos.

Blue hour in London (more…)

28 September 2015

FAQ on Photomatix and HDR by HDRsoft

Posted in: hdr, long-exposure, photomatix, Photomatix Pro, warsaw|

FAQ on Photomatix and HDR photography

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but on HDRsoft website there is excellent FAQ section on Photomatix and HDR photography in general.

Of course many questions & answers are related to using Photomatix or issues that you could potentially run into but there are also some more general questions like: “What is the ideal exposure spacing?”, “How do I capture a very high contrast scene?” or “I am getting noisy results. Is there a way to avoid this?” – each with very detailed answer that should help you in making your HDR photos better!

So if you have questions about HDR photography make sure to visit that FAQ as there is a chance it’ll answer them. Of course if it doesn’t you can always try asking me here on my blog and I will try to provide as detailed answer as possible (provided I know it of course 🙂 )

You can visit the FAQ under the URL below:

Featured photo – Busy morning in Warsaw

Today I have a sunrise image from Warsaw for you. It’s a light trails image taken during Sunday sunrise so I didn’t expect much traffic but quite to my surprise there were quite a few cars there on the streets already. I took 44 exposures in total in this case – 5 of them were bracketed images to create HDR photo (and make shadows brighther because they were almost pitch black) and remaining 39 frames were used to create light trails by blending the images together in Photoshop.

If you would like to create such photos yourself, make sure to read my HDR tutorial.

Busy morning in Warsaw (more…)

5 February 2015

Photomatix Pro Presets – 111 Free HDR Presets

Posted in: download, hdr, landscape, photomatix, Photomatix Pro, presets|

New Photomatix Pro Presets

It’s been a while since I shared any Photomatix Pro presets. For that reason today I decided to update my Mega Pack collection to add new presets I created in the last few months. This time collection features 111 free presets!

You can download the presets below:


What’s in the bundle?
  • 15 completely new and never released presets, most of which use my new favourite processing method, i.e. Contrast Optimizer,
  • All presets that I shared up to now (96 presets).

Summing up, the collection contains 111 free presets good for landscape, architecture and street HDR photography. There are both very realistic presets and more artistic ones, colourful and black & white – everyone should find something for himself.

Please note that some of the presets will only work in Photomatix Pro 5 or newer as some of them require Fusion/Real-Estate or Contrast Optimizer which were introduced in Photomatix Pro 5.

Note: if you downloaded some of my presets previously you can delete or overwrite them as all of the previous presets are included in this pack.

Here are the instructions, on how to install the presets*:

  1. Download the presets and extract them on your disk.
  2. Start Photomatix Pro 4.2 or newer. If you haven’t updated to 4.2 visit HDRsoft homepage and download your upgrade (in case you’re eligible to it).
  3. Open any image and tonemap it to go to the tonemapping preview mode.
  4. In the Presets window change tab from “Built-In” to “My Presets”.
  5. In the combo-box in the upper part of the Presets window select “Import Presets…” item.
  6. Navigate to the directory where you extracted presets and select all the files you want to import. You might also want to specify category for the imported presets (eg. “Downloaded”). To do this just fill in the text field at the bottom of the Import window.
  7. Accept the selection and wait for the thumbnails to appear. Voila!

* In case of older versions than 4.2 you can follow instructions I posted here.

Daily photo – Golden Sunset

And it’s time for a daily HDR photo – it was taken during beautiful golden sunset in Warsaw, Poland. I took as many as 7 exposures here (because by including the sun in the frame dynamic range of that scene became really high).
Golden sunset in Warsaw
11 December 2014

Natural HDR images using Contrast Optimizer in Photomatix Pro 5

Posted in: hdr, Photomatix Pro, tutorial|

High Dynamic Range photo tone-mapped using Contrast Optimizer.


As you probably know, one of the many changes introduced in Photomatix Pro 5, was addition of 2 new processing methods:

  • Contrast Optimizer and
  • Fusion/Real-Estate

Both can produce very natural looking images but today I would like to focus on the first of them.
When I first tried Contrast Optimizer while we were still implementing changes for Photomatix Pro 5 at HDRsoft I immediately felt in love with this tone-mapper. It produces results which I always wanted and made my workflow a lot easier. Ever since then Contrast Optimizer has become processing method of my choice – I use it almost exclusively for majority of my new high dynamic range photos.

What I love about is, is that its output is very clean, natural, halo-free, has nice clarity and can be processed even further in Photoshop. It’s closer to Lightroom’s tone-mapper (yes… Lightroom does tonemap images too) than to Details Enhancer. Also it’s one of the simplest to master methods available in Photomatix Pro as default preset, which is Balanced, is great already. I usually just move one or two sliders and I’m done. It doesn’t require me to spend several minutes fiddling with the settings. Also I found out that it can produce results similar to Oloneo in terms of naturalness and realisticness. So if you’re fan of Oloneo Photo Engine you might want to give Photomatix’s Contrast Optimizer a test drive.

Although Contrast Optimizer works best for me when doing natural HDR processing, it can be also used to produce more surreal or grungy type of effects. Even though I’m advocate of natural tone-mapping there are cases when this might be useful, eg. in so called urbex photography (which means ‘urban exploration’) which are often quite heavy on the post-processing to produce this very special mood of loneliness, danger, etc. However, I’m not expert on this. In fact I have never captured any urbex photo.

Using Contrast Optimizer

Now, back to Contrast Optimizer. Generally speaking, as I already mentioned, default options for Contrast Optimizer are a good starting point because they produce natural looking images already. There are, however, a couple adjustments that you might want to make.

  1. The first thing I usually do is to drag Lighting Effect slider to 0. This works really well for landscapes. However, for night scenes in the city it is often better to leave this slider on its default, i.e. 20 because this slider is responsible for prominence of shadows (and in landscape scenes making them brighter might result in surreal look).
  2. In some cases doing above might darken the image. If so, there is easy fix – drag Midtone slider a bit to the right (to around 2.0 – 3.5). Alternative would be to move Strength to the right to around 55 – 60.
  3. Often I also decrease White Clipping and Black Clipping to avoid clipping highlights and shadows respectively. Note that although it’s often good to drag Black Clipping as far as to 0, it’s not always the best idea for the other option. Usually you have some bright highlights in your photo (like sun, bright sky, street lamps, etc.). If you drag White Clipping to 0, they will look a bit dull and artificial. So in case you have strong light sources in your image, I suggest to go to around 1.5 – 3.0 depending on the image.

And that’s basically all the changes you need to make to make your image look really great and natural.

But if you’re still not happy with the results, try dragging either Strength or Tone Compression just a little bit to the left.

Finally, one interesting thing. If you have a single LDR (low dynamic range) photo you might also see great improvement in how it looks when you use Contrast Optimizer on it. The effect of using Contrast Optimizer in such case are better colours and clarity. Just load your single LDR image into Photomatix Pro, select Balanced preset and voila – exposure and colours of your image will be generally much better.

13 May 2014

Panorama of Warsaw

Posted in: architecture, hdr, landscape, panorama, photomatix, Photomatix Pro, warsaw|

Daily photo – Panorama of Warsaw

Today I would like to share HDR panorama from Warsaw, Poland.

Original panorama is very wide and has almost 200 megapixels but unfortunately I had to crop it on the sides to make it look better on my blog. Otherwise it didn’t look nice here. I also recommend viewing it in large by clicking on the image below.

Panorama of Warsaw

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM (read my review here)
Focal length: 221 mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Exposure time: 0.4 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 200
Number of exposures: 5 x 20
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity
23 April 2014

Photomatix Pro Presets downloaded 2000 times!

Posted in: architecture, hdr, landscape, photomatix, Photomatix Pro, warsaw|

2000 downloads of free Photomatix Presets

Just a few days ago I announced that my free HDR tutorial has been downloaded 4000 times, and today I reached another milestone with my free content – my Photomatix Pro presets have been downloaded over 2000 times!
Note: If you haven’t downloaded them yet, you can get my free presets for Photomatix here. It’s a huge bundle with 100 presets that will work in both Photomatix Pro 5 and older versions (there are just a few version 5 exclusives). They are good for all types of HDR work so make sure to give them a chance.

Daily photo – Sunset over Warsaw

Today I would like to share another HDR image from Warsaw. It was very late sunset already when I took this picture but there was still some beautiful light on the buildings.
Sunset over Warsaw

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM (read my review here)
Focal length: 221 mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure time: 1/4 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 3
E.V. Step: 1.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity