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Getting Started with HDR Photography


Getting started with HDR. A presentation first delivered at Bar Camp Boston.

Getting started with HDR. A presentation first delivered at Bar Camp Boston.

Published in Art & Photos , Technology
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  • Use a tripod or hold carefully!


  • 1. Getting Started With HDRPhotographyStanton Champion@spchampionspchampion@gmail.comflickr.com/spchampion500px.com/spchampionstantonchampion.com
  • 2. HDR = High Dynamic Range
  • 3. Why High Dynamic Range Your camera captures a range of light for an exposure, but it has limits If your subject is outside this limited light range, your camera can’t capture it
  • 4. HDR Compresses the Dynamic RangeTake several photos and use software to compress the dynamic range so that it can be displayed or printed
  • 5. What Do You Need?You: Basic knowledge of photography  Controlling Exposure  Shutter  ISO  Aperture  Histogram An Imagination
  • 6. What Do You Need?Digital Camera: Anything with manual exposure control RAW support is preferable (but not required)  JPGs are not ideal for HDR, but usable in a pinch Exposure bracketing is nice to have
  • 7. What Do You Need?Software: HDR software  Photomatix (most popular)  HDR Efex Pro  Photoshop  Topaz Adjust A DAM like Lightroom, Aperture, or Capture One is very helpful Photoshop is very nice to have for post-editing
  • 8. Take 1* or more photos of a subject * - Yes, you can do HDR with just 1 photo. Topaz Adjust is a great tool for this. theo0023 on Flickr
  • 9. Typically, take 3 – 7 photos of the same scene Each photo has a different exposure Minimize camera movement between exposures
  • 10. Why take more exposures?HDR narrows the dynamic rangeHistograms get shifted & stretched, for better or for worseMore Data & More Range = Cleaner Results
  • 11. Avoid movement in the framebetween or during your exposuresMovement can create an effect called “ghosting” which is often unattractive Bandit Queen on Flickr
  • 12. EditingDownload the photos from your camera  Tagging  CategorizationDo not edit and crop yet
  • 13. Editing Apply Lens Correction and Noise Reduction to all photos Need the photos to be similar for HDR transformation Do not apply any other edits!  Cropping  Sharpening  Color tweaking  Cleanup  Etc.
  • 14. Export to HDR ApplicationConvert to TIFF and import all photos into your HDR app
  • 15. And Then… So Many Controls Photomatix can be a bit daunting… Trial & Error can yield compelling effects The right answer is the one that expresses your creative vision!
  • 16. Use Available Presets Try different presets to learn the controls Great way to artistically explore a photo
  • 17. More Help Getting StartedProcess controls the HDR develop mode  Tone Mapping can be more surreal  Exposure Fusion is a little tamer
  • 18. In Tonemap mode… More or Less HDR Effect Scene Contrast Makes the Lighting Surreal
  • 19. Cleanup AfterwardsUse Photoshop to Cleanup Remove ghosting Remove HDR artifactsNow You Can Edit: Cropping Color Tweaking Noise Reduction Sharpening
  • 20. Stuff to Avoid – NoiseHDR can take darker areas and brighten them, revealing a lot of noiseNoise is the devil  Get to know noise reduction software  Shoot at low ISO
  • 21. Stuff to Avoid – Halos Don’t push contrast so much that dark objects develop “halos” against bright backgrounds AdamSelwood on Flickr
  • 22. Stuff to Avoid – Contrast Inversion Bright stuff becomes dark & dark stuff becomes bright Sunlit clouds are darker than the stonesAlexandre Buisse & Luminous Landscape
  • 23. Resources – Stuck in CustomsTrey Ratcliff  Full time HDR photographer  Fantastic HDR tutorialshttp://www.stuckincustoms.com/
  • 24. Resources – Farbspiel’s HDR CookbookKlauss Herrmannhttp://farbspiel-photo.com/learn/hdr- cookbook
  • 25. Questions?