I started on my quest for HDR portraits in 2007 and keep refining my process. I do them using the 3 image auto bracket method and usually render with Photomatix, then Photoshop for final tweaks and to add a few of my effects. For more in depth, see my HDR tips on Pro Photo Show. If you want total mastery of HDR, check out my Incredible HDR workshop.
Basics for non HDR buffs. A regular camera captures a far smaller range of light than our eyes. That amazing sunset, with a green tree in the foreground, may look great to your eye, but in the photo. that foreground might be nothing but a black hole.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a method of taking multiple images of the same scene at various exposure levels and combining them, bringing out the light and dark details from each and working them for the right look. For more HDR See my Fine art gallery.