I've been asked by a couple of people, how I processed my photo of the grapes I posted on flickr. So I will give a quick overview of what I did.
I started with 3 photos (as shown in the photo below). I shot the grapes as an HDR using 0, -2 and +2 Exposure values. I then tonemapped the 3 photos in Photomatix Pro and blended until I got the photo below marked 'Tonemapped Tif'.
After tonemapping the photo, I opened it in Lightroom 3. There I did a little tweaking in the 'Basic' section of the Develop module. I adjusted the photo with - fill light, highlight recovery, black clipping, contrast, temperature, tint, clarity and vibrance. I didn't adjust any of the above by very much. It was like making a stew... I adjusted to taste!
I then opened the lightroom-adjusted photo in Photoshop CS5. I don't like adjusting the sharpness of my photos in lightroom, so the first thing I did was to sharpen the photo on a new layer. (This photo did not have much noise, but if it had, I would have used Topaz DeNoise before I sharpened.)
After sharpening, I used a curves adjustment layer and grabbed the top point of the diagonal adjustment, (highlight side), then pulled it straight down to just below the middle of the scale. This will darken the whole photo without changing the color. Then making sure I was in the adjustment layer mask, I hit B(brush), then D (default colors),then X (switch foreground/backround color), choosing a large brush (1400 - 1600 dpi), with 0% hardness. I then clicked the areas I wanted to highlight with the brush. I have seen this technique used many times, and there are a number of ways to do it. Jim DiVitale shows another way in his Creative Lighting tutorial. (Click on the "Creative Lighting by Jim DiVitale" link.)
So after this, I saved the file and went back to Lightroom 3, and cropped and tilted the photo to my taste.
Simple Huh! Well it wasn't real difficult, but, as all my past photoshop instructors have said... Just play with it. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Thanks... Dan O.