The image above doesn’t really have that “HDR” look. But it does show a lot of detail. And that’s the secret use for HDR Photography. I call it detail HDR or mild HDR. The point of this is that you don’t need to use this technology to make the traditional HDR photo. You can modify its application and just use it on a portion of the image to bring out detail. Think of it as a new sharpening method.
In the photo used to illustrate this post, I applied HDR techniques to the car in order to bring out mild details. I did this on a layer in Photoshop and then masked out the car and erased everything else. The result is the background doesn’t get “sharpened” and the car pops out on the page – which is what I want since the photo is supposed to be about the car, not all the stuff behind it.
Give this a try. Shoot an HDR. Using your preferred post-processing tone-mapping software, apply a mild amount of correction. Drop this onto a layer. Mask out the areas where you don’t want the effect. Paint them out and you’re done.