Mobile photographer Dave Temple, @kewiki, creates dramatic portraits by combining images for an HDR look.

Dave Temple, @kewiki, achieves his own HDR-style portraits using two apps: Filterstorm and Pro HDR. But he first captures the image using the native camera app on his iPhone 4. 

"HDR photography, when done right, is one of my favorite forms of photography," Temple says. "The results you get can be amazing. The problem with HDR photography is that it requires you to take at least two shots at different exposures and then software will line the shots up and allow for further editing. This works great when your subject is an inanimate object with hard lines. People or moving objects are really hard to work with. But, with a few tricks, you can take pretty much any photo and turn it into an HDR shot."

Temple recently showed us how he takes a single portrait image and creates an HDR effect using the following steps: 

Step 1

Capture your portrait using the native camera app. Make sure any HDR settings are turned off. (Of course, another non-HDR app could be used when taking the image, and this tutorial can work for non-iOS platform users too, just use an app similar to Filterstorm and Pro HDR, which is also available as Pro HDR Camera for Android.)

Temple's original portrait photo, taken with his iPhone 4.

Step 2

Prepare two images with different exposures, one dark and one light, using Filterstorm, or a similar app.

Use curves to create a lightened version of the image ...
... as well as a darker version.

Open the image in Filterstorm and go to the curves setting. Adjust the curves up for the lighter shot. Hit “Apply” and save to your camera roll.

Now, undo the current settings and reopen the curves tool. This time, create the darker image by dragging the curves down. Tap “Apply” and save to your camera roll again.

Step 3 

Open the Pro HDR, or similar, app. 

The first screen gives you three options; select “Library HDR” and follow the onscreen instructions. You'll be prompted to select the darker image first and then the lighter image second. Once the two images have merged, you will be able to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and tint to achieve the look you want. Tap the Save button when you're done.

Temple used these adjustment settings on this image, but encourages experimenting to find the look you want.

Step 4

Open the saved image in Filterstorm. For the image in this tutorial, Temple made further adjustments to color and contrast and sharpened the image to highlight the wrinkles in his subject's face and the textures in the hat. 


Dave Temple is a member of Juxt. You can read more from him on the Juxt website.