So you want that weird HDR effect but don’t want to buy HDR software…

No problem! My buddy Mike Meyer came up with this effect while experimenting in Camera Raw. I would advise using version 4.2 if you can because you really want the clarity slider to finish it off. So here is the deal, open an image using Camera Raw. This technique works on jpegs as well as raw files. For jpeg images, just open Photoshop and then go to Open As… (Alt+Shift+Ctrl+O) under the File menu. When the dialog comes up, just choose Camera Raw from the Open as drop-down menu and then select your image. Now comes the fun part. Once your image is open, move the following sliders to 100% :Recovery, Fill Light, Contrast, and Clarity. Now adjust the other sliders as needed. It doesn’t work for every photo but the results are very similar to those saturated, halo type HDR’s that everyone has seen floating around the web lately. Thanks Mike for being crazy enough to move the Fill Light slider all the way to the right, you are a rebel!!

Weird HDR effect from Camera Raw

Click on the image above for a larger view, if you dare 🙂






  1. mike meyer says:

    Thanks for the plug Jeff. For all those that want to check out my blog go to
    Remember folks always try crazy things and you might be surprised!! Most inventions are purely accidents.

    mike meyer

  2. Mike Palmer says:

    if it looks like it, it must be ….. there is a suprise behind every click— thanks for something new to try so does it mean if I have Fios, I should blog =)

  3. Mike Palmer says:

    Matt K posted a video on lightroom killer tips of this technique that uses lightroom for the effect also—

  4. mike meyer says:

    Hey Mike Palmer, don’t tell Jeff ( it drives him crazy ) but I have FIOS in my front yard, just haven’t hooked up to it yet. I hadn’t seen Matt’s site with the effect. After seeing Ben Willmore’s pics over the last month or two I started playing with the settings in Camera Raw and accidentally saw the similarity to the HDR effect and then refined my technique. Take care.

    mike meyer

  5. Mike Palmer says:

    I see, he is fiberoptically challenged, wow, would have never knew = ), must be like using a bogen 3001 for that really right stuff ball head =) it is a cool technique you stumbled on, have you tried making a higher range jpeg thru merge to HDR and using your twist on it?

  6. mike meyer says:

    I haven’t tried that exact technique. I’ve done HDR with jpg files. But the technique above is really about messing with the contrast. Now I have done a Stack/ HDR / Panorama. That was cool, lots of exposures to eliminate stuff in a high range scene and stitch a wide angle together. Now that’s crazy, but so am I.

    mike meyer

  7. Mike Palmer says:

    Crazy like a fox– So if I get you, your doing a true (multi-exposure) HDR, processing (tomemapping), pano (stitch in PS), — I have been thinking about this also, heading up to skyline soon, did you get the result you were after? I would assume since photomatix reverts to the last settings used you just saved all with those settings? Were you able to photomerge? or load each to a new layer? I have yet to get a pano to work with photomerge, I have to load layers and auto merge and blend.

  8. mike meyer says:

    I don’t have photomatix, I use Photoshop CS3 for all my work. I did a under and over exposure for HDR, several times so that the objects that were moving in the scene could be eliminated by using the Stack feature. Then I moved my angle of view to get the panorama. So basicaly you take about 4 unders, 4 overs on the left side and then 4 unders and 4 overs on the right side. I actually tested this in my living room by moving some flowers around. It worked pretty well. So do the stack of the unders then the stack to the overs. Then do the HDR, then do the Pano stitch. I’ll have to try it with a more interesting subject next time.

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