What is HDR?

HDR.. High Dynamic Range photography is basically creating an image out of a “Stack” of images. You would have, for example, 3 exposures of a scene (-2, 0, +2 – or – dark, normal, and bright). Using a software package like Photomatix to combine the images.

All you really need to accomplish this is a camera that you can adjust the exposure settings on (The EV). To truly capture the best pictures, you would want the camera perfectly still for each image, -2, 0, and +2. To do this there are a few key points. First, a camera that has “auto bracketing”, or the ability to tell the camera that you want to take 3 or 5 shots at different exposures. When you set this function – each press of the shutter will be at a different exposure. There is also the burst mode. This way you press the shutter down, and the camera snaps 3 pics in succession- all at different exposures if you have the auto bracketing feature on. To further insure steadiness, a tripod is always a good idea.

Of course, at this point, you have spent a nice chunk of your hard earned cash. You dont necessarily need a camera that has auto bracketing or a tripod. You can use a point and shoot camera that you can adjust the exposure setting on – and make sure its nice and steady and doesn’t move when you do change the exposures.

Once the images are combined into the photomatix software (which has an unlimited free trial, but adds watermarks – like all my photos lol) you can tonemap the image with the many variants photomatix offers. There are plenty of great tutorials for doing this, like Captain Kimo’s – and there are several reviews of the product, but none i’ve found as deep as Trey Ratcliff’s @ www.stuckincustoms.com.

Once you get all your combining and tonemapping done – your next step is the post processing. For this you will need a photo editing software of some type. The most commonly used and the one with the most “add ons” to help HDR’ers is Adobe Photoshop. Using Photoshop you can use their plug ins like the bundles from Topaz Labs and Nik Software..

Thats a good starting point for you – I hope you are as intrigued as I am.

Ill add to this what is / tutorial on how to do HDR as I learn more and progress – but if you want to learn from the master – just go check out Trey’s tutorial at www.stuckincustoms.com

More AWESOME resources from Trey.. He has made some wonderful E-books.. 50-100 page synopsis deals on everything from how to get the most out of your camera, to how to shoot HDR, to what mistakes to avoid – and they all cost less than 10 bucks and are immediately downloadable! Check out Trey’s books now!

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