04 Tonality adjustments
This picture’s looking good, but it needs some tonal adjustments to make it stronger. These will obviously vary from one picture to another, but what’s worked well here is a combination of a slight Exposure increase and a boost to the Contrast, Blacks and Structure sliders.
05 Vignette effect
Now I think I need a vignette effect to concentrate attention on my subject’s face and to heighten the image contrast still further. You’ll find HDR Efex Pro 2’s vignette presets in the Finishing panel. I’ve chosen the strongest option from the drop-down menu – ‘Lens 4’ – but I think it’s going to need something stronger still.
06 Manual vignette settings
Once you’ve chosen a vignette preset, you can adjust its settings manually until you’ve got just the effect you want. Here, I’ve shifted the Shape slider to Rectangle, pushed the Size up to maximum and set the Amount (darkness) to -27%. And that’s it – I’m done!
07 The finished picture
You don’t normally associate HDR effects with portraiture, but it can work really well. There’s a fashion in male portraiture at the moment for super-heightened contrast and detail, and this is exactly what HDR tools are designed to achieve.