The biggest mistake made by beginning HDR photographers is that they think the photo is complete when they tonemap the image in Photomatix. Not so! Rarely will the photo look perfect after only tonemapping in Photomatix. Generally, photographers need at least one more step. The strength of HDR in a photo is a personal choice, but when it is too strong, it can be a major turn off. Be careful with this setting if you want to do it right. After tonemapping your HDR photo in Photomatix, open up the tonemapped image in Photoshop and place the original (non-HDR photo that you used to create the HDR) on top of each other in layers. I generally place the non HDR photo on top. Now use Photoshop's opacity slider to reduce the opacity of the original image to blend it with the HDR. This will drastically improve how realistic your HDR photo will look. It is always difficult to decide how much HDR effect to apply to your photography. I would suggest to make all the changes to where you like them, then reduce the HDR effect by about 20 percent. Trust me, the photograph will look much better. We always get sucked in to our own photos and think we can get away with making too strong an HDR effect on our photography, but this can be a mistake. Last, if you have tried to create HDR photography before and didn't have much success, then consider changing HDR post-processing programs. When I first tried HDR, I tested out nearly a dozen different programs with little success. Then I finally tried Photomatix and had immediate success that I was happy with. This isn't a commercial and I'm not being paid by them to say this. It's just honestly the best HDR software out there. Give it a shot.
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