When I take pictures, I usually adjust them in Photoshop, giving colors some life, working in contrast, applying some color curves. Dave Hill is a great photographer who's developed a great effect for his pictures.

Take a look at this work and don't forget to visit his personal website.

After looking at these pictures, I started to wonder what I could do to achieve this effect. So I began to experiment a little bit, trying to find a similar result. This effect looks to me like a combination of an HDR picture + Unsharp mask. Again, this is how it looks to me. So I made a quick tutorial on how to achieve something close to an HDR + Unsharp Mask Picture.

STEP 1 - HDR it.

There are so many tutorials on how to create a nice HDR picture that I won't be talking about how to achieve it. For my examples, I've used Photomatix. You may visit our tutorial on it. If you don't have Photomatix, visit this Photoshop one.

I chose this original picture for this experiment.

Now it looks like this after making an HDR image from a single shot.

STEP 2 - Unsharp Mask.

The second step is just applying an Unsharp Mask to our new HDR picture. In Photoshop, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.

The amount must be 50%, but the Radius depends on the size of your picture. Since I was using a 600px picture for the example, I've used a Radius of 5. That did the trick just fine.


I think my final result is nice; not close to Dave Hill cool, but nice. I really wonder what Dave's workflow was like. I'll go a little further and ask you: What would you do to achieve that effect? Drop a comment telling us!! We'd would love to hear from you! And to finish, two more experiments on my technique. Cheers! ;)

Original picture.

HDR version.

HDR + Unsharp Mask.

Original picture.

HDR version.

HDR + Unsharp Mask.

Editor: David Parrott

About the author of this post

I'm Paulo Gabriel, a Publicist by degree and Designer by passion with a taste for the meaningful and emotional. Here at Abduzeedo, I always try to bring you only amazing content, things that mean something for me and for those around me.