Diner – Photomatix Pro HDR

Drag the slider below to see the raw, single exposure photo (left) and the HDR composite using Photomatix Pro HDR software (right).

Before Photomatix Pro HDR DIY PhotographyPhotomatix Pro HDR DIY Photography


The South Side Soda Shop is located at 1122 S Main St in Goshen, IN. It’s a favorite for locals and hungry eaters far beyond. The restaurant was even featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network Show, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I highly recommend the Philly Cheesesteak. And don’t forget dessert! The Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich is two warm, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream in-between. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.


This was shot early on a Saturday morning about 9AM facing Northeast. The upside, little or no traffic. The downside, heavy shadows on one side of the building. No problem. Here is how I did it…

  • Used a tripod. Camera shake is your enemy because you get ghosted images and misaligned exposures.
  • Put my camera in Aperture priority or “A “mode.
  • Used the auto exposure bracketing (AEB) feature in my camera. I set mine for 7 shots, 1 step apart. You can use a light meter or look at your histogram of a test shot to determine how many shots you will need at various exposures, but it’s just easier and faster to take more than what you need. The only exception might be on a paid job traveling where there is no possibility of a retake.
  • Focused.
  • Set the timer so I didn’t nudge the camera when shooting.
  • Waited for sun to stop going in and out of clouds, wind to die down so branches were fairly still and traffic to be clear.
  • Took the automatic AEB shots. If you don’t have AEB, you can take a series of shots with your exposure compensation dial like 0, -2, -1, +1, +2. You need to do this quickly without bumping the camera. If you do this manually you might want to cut off autofocus after your first shot so your 7 shots aren’t in different focus.
  • Then I easily combined the raw images in Photomatix Pro HDR software. You can combine the layers in Photoshop, but it’s a lot more work and takes a lot more time.

Photomatix magically compensates the shadow and highlight areas by merging the various exposures. The results are amazing, much better than fake HDR using Lightroom or Photoshop! I prefer more of a painterly, hyper realistic look, but you can adjust Photomatix Pro’s presets to make the lighting look more subdued and realistic.


If you want to start producing stunning HDR images, I highly recommend Photomatix Pro. I’ve tried the other HDRsoftware and apps out there and none offer me the same control and quality as Photomatix Pro.

Purchase Photomatix Pro

Visit the South Side Soda Shop


Share This