After Before Friday: Week 51

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link.

Last weekend there was an arts festival running at our local village and I took a rare opportunity to visit the roof space of the old textile mill there. When we stepped into the room I was totally amazed, it is such a beautiful space. The Leeds Photographic Society were having a members exhibition there and whilst browsing the wonderful selection of members images, I took the chance to photograph the empty area at the end of the room.


As the room was bathed in bright sunlight, but had lots of dark shadows, I thought I would try out the new HDR feature in LR6 and took three bracketed exposures (at metered exposure, one stop under and one stop overexposed).

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.11

I imported the images into Lightroom and highlighted the chosen images and selecting the HDR function, I merged the three images together. This gave me an image that was very bright, I had assumed that it would choose an exposure somewhere between the highest and lowest, but it has moved the whole histogram to the left creating an overly bright image.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.52

It was the darkness of the interior and the contrast with the sunlight on the floor and in the roof lights that had drawn me to the scene in the first place, so this effect was not what I had wanted. Fortunately when you use HDR in Lightroom, it is saved as a DNG file so you can enhance it like you would a RAW file. I reduced the overall exposure, increased the contrast and clarity to get more of the tone that I had wanted. At this stage I straightened it too, with so many converging lines, it had to be level!

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.40.53

I was still not sure about the image, not dark and moody enough, so I darkened it again and after looking it at closer up, removed the horrendous chromatic aberration (is that a special feature of the HDR?) and here it is after all my adjustments…


And just for fun (and added contrast), I converted it to black and white.


I do like the HDR feature in Lightroom, it is easy to use, gives good results, there is no doubt that it is has a greater range of tones, even when the original (before HDR) is lightened.

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t forget to visit the other After Before Friday images at Stacy’s Visual Venturing. Next week is the One Photo Focus where we all edit the same image, contact Stacy via her blog if you’d like to join in too!



16 thoughts on “After Before Friday: Week 51

  1. Very helpful post. Plus the results are excellent. I think my preference is for the B&W version; it emphasizes the compositon on intersecting lines and shapes, removing the distraction of color. Impressive what you have done with a space that most people would not have given a second glance.

  2. Love the merge to HDR function in the new LR! I had never bracketed shots before this capability was offered. I agree that it does render a much brighter exposure, but as you pointed out, the dng file allows wonderful adjustments.

    Great shot, Katie. As we hear so often and forget to do, always remember to look behind you. You captured a wonderful shot with an abundance of visual interest!

  3. I think, because there is so little variation in colors in your original shot, the b & w works great. And I’m happy to hear the HDR works easily enough. Question, do you need a tripod when shooting the 3 bracketed shots? I haven’t attempted HDR yet!

    1. Thanks Emilio, I didn’t use a tripod for this, but I think that LR has a feature that tries to match up the pictures (de-ghosting – or I could have got the wrong end of the stick here!).

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