I just came accross this article, or better said tutorial, which was twitted by Graphics_Info. This HDR tutorial is interesting for every beginner. It explains not only how to use Tone Mapping in Photoshop, it gives you instructions on how to take your own HDR photos. You will also find instructions on the post-processing not only in CS3+ but also CS2 and lower. If you don't have your own HDR photos to practice the Tone Mapping, you can use those enclosed by the tutorial writer.
Photomatix is also a good and easy to use post-processing software of HDR images. I would recommend Photomatix rather than comparable Photoshop plug-ins. It does a better job with midtones, shadows and saturation and produces images with a distinctive ethereal appearance.
Why is such a post-processing step necessary? If you have ever photographed a high contrast scene (for example panoramic scene), you know that even the best exposure will typically have blown out highlights and flat shadows. Photomatix offers two ways to solve this problem:
- HDR Tone Mapping: Reveal highlight and shadow details in an HDR image created from multiple exposures.
- Exposure Fusion: Merge differently exposed photographs into one image with increased dynamic range.
Here is a good Photomatix HDR tutorial written by Wayne Miller Photography. It explains exactly the same steps written in the above mentioned tutorial. Final results are done in Photomatix inspite in Photoshop.