Thursday, 31 March 2011

HDR Tutorial

Ok. I promised you I'd give you quick idea of how to produce an HDR photograph. In order to do this as best as possible, you're going to need a camera that is capable of being switched into manual mode or has an 'autobracket' function and a good quality tripod or failing that, arms like Arnie to hold the camera still.

Basically you need to set your camera up so that it will take three pictures of the same correctly exposed, one underexposed and one overexposed. I'm led to believe that it's best to shoot the under and overs by 2 stops each. Gottit? One correctly exposed. One 2 stops underexposed and one 2 stops Overexposed. This will allow you to capture the full dynamic range that your eye would normally see.

Have a looky here....


This isn't bad. The camera's done a reasonable job of 'averaging' out the exposure but as it's top heavy, the camera's exposed for the sky and the hedge and trees have dropped into a bit of shadow.


Same shot but 2 stop sunderexposed. Nice detail in the clouds but you can't see too much!

Fig. 3

Nice detail in the hedge, trees and building but oh Gawd! look at that sky! Same colour as my legs...

Looking at all three, I'd like to be able to use the sky from Fig 2 and the hedge and building from Fig 3. No problemo. I just load all three into software (everyone raves about photomatix but there is some good stuff knocking around cheaply- even free that will do a good job) and let it do it's stuff. After a short while, Voila! You'll have an image that is a combination of all three which may, or may not look a tad strange depending on how your software processes it and which 'sliders' you use and to what degree.

Save that new image and load it into your photo editing software and play around with it a bit more....contrast, saturation etc until you get the effect you're after.

In  my case I was happy with this.................

HDR has taken what is essentially a boring, 'record' shot and lifted it into something more interesting, something that makes you go 'hhmmmm' (hopefully)

Right. That was a quick look at 'How to do HDR' and is by no means meant to be intended as a definitive guide. Hell no! but it does show you how easy it is to get started and produce some nifty stuff.

Have a go. It's the only way you'll learn my friend.

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