HDR Photography

HDR Photography

Image by Spencer Martinez

HDR or High Dynamic Range photography is the ratio of light to dark in photography.
Why would it be necessary to use HDR? To create an image in which there is too much light or shadows in a scene. A camera lens does not have the dynamic range to view a scene like our eyes. A human eye has an extraordinary range and sees what is going on in the shadows.
HDR photography is done by capturing several different exposures, from extremely over-exposed to under-exposed and a few exposures in between. The images are then combined using image editing software. Equipment you will need for HDR photography, digital camera, tripod and image editing software.

HDR photography equipment

Your camera should have AEB Auto Exposure Bracketing but if you want total control over your camera shoot in manuel mode. Its more challenging but you will be able to adjust the exposure. Depending on the time of day use these settings as a starting point, Iso at 100, fstop at 11 or higher. Try shooting, if you are in manual mode, one stop increments up to two stops under-exposed. Repeat this process for over-exposure.

A tripod is essential for HDR photography. A tripod will give you stability and will keep the images aligned.

Image editing software will combine and process the images. Three HDR image editing software to consider are Photomatix, LuminanceHDR and Photoshop.

Creating an HDR image

HDR Photography

So now that you have all the necessary equipment its time to find a subject. A stationary subject like landscapes or abandoned stuctures are great to shoot. The idea of HDR photography is to create an image which makes adjustments for the range of hightlights and shadows. We are capturing the full range of the scenes contrast. Typically you will want at lease three differently exposed images. To get more dynamic range consider taking 5, 7 or 9 different exposures.

Check out these masters of HDR photography. Follow the links to their sites.
Trey Ratliff
Frank C Grace

Challenge yourself and attempt High Dynamic Range photography.

Grab your camera and have fun!