Have you seen some those stunning photos, with the brilliant arrays of colors and brightness and contrast, that really seem to pop out of the photo? Yes, I’m talking about those HDR (high dynamic range) photos that are very popular around the web, especially on Flickr. You can create a similar look and feel by editing them right in Windows Live Photo Gallery. It’s really all about the exposure (in the brightness and contrast), and you could tweak it a little more.
1. Launch WLPG (Windows Live Photo Gallery)
2. Find a photo you want to HDR. Double click on it.
3. Now you should see the enlarged photo taking up the space. Click "Fix" right on the menu bar (circled in red on picture)
4. Now the right pane should open up with a bunch of tools you can use. To do the HDR effects, I’m mostly going to use Adjust Exposure. And maybe a little Adjust Color. HDR is really about the exposure.
5. Click on Adjust Exposure. Crank up Contrast to the highest you can. Contrast really makes the shades of color pop out more noticeably. You’ll immediately notice the image to be very colorful and vibrant all at once. You can pull the slider back slightly, if you want less effect.
You can also adjust the Brightness, so that the light source can appear really bright, or very dark. I generally prefer to keep the brightness the same, or a bit higher. It feels like a real capture of time. If it’s too bright or too dark, then you don’t really see all the colors, which is why keeping it in the middle is generally good.
6. You can mess around with the other sliders too if you want. If you feel like you want to go back to the original picture you had before, go to the bottom of the Fix pane, and click on the down arrow next to Undo.
You can either go back on a step, or undo it all. Really nifty feature. If you (accidentally) back out of the image view, and right back into the library, the picture will automatically save what you edited. Luckily, if you didn’t mean to, you can double click on the image again, click the down arrow next to Undo, and select Revert to original.
So that’s how I typically give an HDR effect to my photos. Give it a try sometime. Here’s two photos, a before and an after shot.
See the difference? The HDR effects in the second photo really pop out! Best of all, you don’t need a fancy photo editor or software like Photoshop. WLPG is free to use.