Lesson 7

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Pseudo HDR

What is HDR?

It stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. The aim is to present the human eye with a similar range of luminance as that which, through the visual system, is familiar in everyday life. The human eye, through adaptation of the iris (and other methods) adjusts constantly to the broad dynamic changes ubiquitous in our environment.

Easy Pseudo HDR in Elements

A real HDR photo is composed of 3 or more images or of the same exact scene but each having a different level of exposure, then using an HDR software like Photomatix or easyHDR to merge these images into one dramatic photograph. It’s a bit tricky to accomplish especially if you’re a novice.

You can download this utility to simulate HDR with one-click:  Download AutoHDR

Pseudo HDR is a method of simulating an HDR effect using a single shot from your photo library.  Follow these step to do this in Elements:

Step 1

Duplicate you original layer (Ctril + J).   Rename to “Layer 2” by double clicking on the name.

Step 2

Change the Blending option of LAYER 2 to “Overlay”

Step 3

Convert Layer 2 to Black and White.


Enhanced > Convert to Black and White or Alt + Ctrl + B.

Step 4

Now invert LAYER 2: Filter > Adjustments > Invert (CTRL + I)

Output sample: after you apply the Filter > Adjustment > Invert  or Ctrl + I

Step 5

And add a Gaussian Blur to it (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) around 40-60 pixels.


If you look at your “Layers” panel you should have something like this.


Step 6

Now duplicate your original Background and place it above LAYER 2,

Rename this layer “LAYER 3″


Step 7

Change the blending type of LAYER 3 to “Linear Light”

Give LAYER 3 an opacity around 25% or tweak it until you like it.