I concede Adobe Photoshop is an amazing piece of software for users … below sixty years of age! Okay, I confess to have struggled with compositing images with Photoshop layers and masks. Layers and masks still don’t make any sense to me even after I had to write out in detail literally every single step and follow it like a parrot – and you know, I still don’t get it!

In desperation I tried using HDR software but did not have much luck with the results that seem to turn merged images into rather sick looking results and so I abandoned the idea until a photographer demonstrated Photomatix Pro 4 during a workshop. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Photomatix can do a pretty good job of producing a merged HDR image of up to five bracketed exposures. Exposure Fusion and Tone Mapping settings are all adjustable from a single window panel so the personal control is not lost. It also has a pretty effective Selective Deghosting Tool that is very helpful when you have images with movement in a series of bracketed images.

Photomatrix will save me a whole bunch of hours because most of my indoor/ outdoor high contrast scenes need to be composited to merge bracketed images. I do have a lot of respect for Adobe Photoshop and it can help photographers achieve amazing results but I am afraid that unless you are using it everyday most mature photographers like myself would be relieved to know that Photomatrix Pro 4 is an option worth a try – you can download a demo version.

Oun Beach House_0029_30_31_32_fused

Merged image from 4 bracketed images