HDR Photography

Originally posted on my Portfolio on 9/23/2011
HDR means “High Dynamic Range” and it is a method of giving one’s photographs higher tonal ranges in shadows, highlights, and details. Using the tutorial from VanillaDays I have determined that there are basically two different ways of accomplishing this method; on the field and on the computer.
The first way would bring out the clearest photograph and that is by using your camera’s Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode. On your camera go to the menu and set the AEB mode to -2/ +2 stops. While you are photographing the subject of your HDR photo (make sure to use a tripod) you take three photos of it; one at normal exposure (0), one with less exposure (-2) and another that is more exposed (+2). Be sure that these files are being saved in RAW format for best results. After you’ve photographed your subject, turning it into a HDR image using photoshop is pretty easy. In photoshop, go to File –> Automate –> Merge to HDR, pick the three photos you took and click ok. When the window finally comes up you may edit it to your pleasing, save and you’re done!
The other way of doing HDR is on a single image, that maybe you already shot. Under a photo editing program, such as photoshop, open the file you wish to change. Save that image as a RAW or TIFF file. Then change the exposure settings (Image —> Adjust –> exposure on photoshop) to -2, save that file under a different name, and then with the original folder (or do STEP BACKWARD)  adjust the photo to +2, and save that with a different name. Using the aforementioned editing method, in Adobe Photoshop, go to File –> Automate –> Merge to HDR, pick the three photos you just saved, click OK and edit further to your pleasing.
Personally, I have yet to take my three photos on the field and try the first method, but I have tried the second method, and below are a few that came out sort of Okay. Practice makes perfect!
If you need any other help or further instructions you can go to VanillaDays tutorial for help. There are also a lot of books on HDR on amazon.com or your local bookstore.

 Before & After HDR photoshopping (All photos in this post are photographed by me and are my property)
There are also a lot of amazing HDR photos on Flickr. Just type HDR in the search box.
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