HDR Photos – How To Take High Dynamic Range Images

Have you ever looked at one of your favourite photos only to notice the sky was burnt out (white with no detail) or there is no detail in the shadows (just solid black) There is a way to overcome this now, but it does mean that the correct steps are taken at the shooting stage.

The process is called HDR or High Dynamic Range which allows details in the highlights & the shadows. Because it opens up a greater tonal range, you could end up taking photos of subjects you may have previously avoided for just that reason.

One of the drawbacks with HDR, however, is that the subject is required to be fairly static. Before you start shooting HDR photos, you will require software to process the images as 3 or more photos need to be merged.

Depending on the subject & the amount of light, or your camera, it may be necessary to use a tripod when taking the photos Each photo exposure needs to be separated by 1 or 2 stops.

Put the camera in Aperture Priority Mode as the aperture needs to remain constant (not Auto Mode) and the shutter speed needs to be varied. If you have a camera that Brackets exposures then use that facility. My camera Brackets 3 images so I set it up for

and uses the multiple shot mode take all 3 shots together.

This can be done on a normal camera, but adjustments to shutter speed will need to be made between shots (hence the tripod). For cameras that have a Bracket Function of 5 shots then the photos need to be taken at Normal Exposure, -1 stop, -2 stops, +1 stop, +2 stops (the more photos the better)

Now you have your exposures, they will need to be processed. Open up your HDR Software. Load the 3 or 5 images & process as required.

Be careful when making adjustments as you may end up with a cartoon style photo (although you may like this effect, use it sparingly)

I usually find the processed photo sometimes requires tweaking in a normal photo editor, using Saturation, Levels & Curves. The only thing left to say is experiment & enjoy your photography!

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