High Dynamic Range Photography
What is high dynamic range photography or HDR imaging as it is often referred to?
How do I produce those amazing rich in colour HDR images I see posted on the internet by Pro Photographers?
If you are looking for high dynamic range photography software that will help you achieve those deeply saturated photographs you see on the likes of Flickr, look no further.
You’ll find no nonsense reviews on a small collection of products I use on a regular basis to get those gob smacking results.
Pro High Dynamic Range Photography
I have actually worked in the Professional Photography industry for a fair few years now and as a result, many high dynamic range photography products have crossed my path.
Now I’m not one of those Photographers who was born with a silverspoon in my mouth nor was I trained up by a fellow Photographer. All my imaging knowledge is as a result of moving my photo hobby onwards and upwards.
I’m a bit of a nut who likes using new or unusual techniques and stumbling across a number of high dynamic range photography images some years back, really blew my socks off. I fell in love with the medium immediately.
So how did the HDR Photographer achieve these mind blowing images?
How did he or she manage to capture all the detail in the shadows as well as keeping all the detail in an otherwise, blown out sky – the images I’d seen were high in colour, they’d retained the shadow detail and the highlights delivered perfect detail too.
Amazing HDR Images
I was totally AMAZED by these photographic images and soon learned the style had a name, high dynamic range photography which is also referred to HDR or HDRi for short – the letter ‘i’ being short for the word imaging or images that is.
I took to the internet to find out more about HDRi capture and I soon realised that I too could capture images in the high dynamic range.
Did I need any specialist camera gear for the purpose of HDR?
Not really special or specifically for HDR photography but a camera which would allow me to take 3 shots in succession with each image being exposed for a different length of time.
Putting that into plain English means, having a camera that will allow you to take 1 photograph at the suggested meter reading and then being able to both over-expose and under-expose on shots 2 and 3.
But what do you do with the 3 image captures I hear you ask?
Recommended HDR Software
Using a specialist piece of tone mapping and merging software which is specific to the high dynamic range photography process is then put into use – for this purpose, I purchased and still use to this day, Photomatix Pro.
It isn’t a cheap software product however, it was produced just for the purpose of putting together a series of photographs in order to output a HDR image and it won’t burn the kind of hole in your pocket that the likes of Adobe PhotoShop will.
In fact, I use Adobe PhotoShop which I must say is a brilliant piece of software for working on photographs but for all my high dynamic range photography, I actually prefer the results from my HDR software of choice, Photomatix Pro.
As I mentioned previously, I’m all self-taught in the main so I’m not a big fan of software which requires a degree just to open it up and this is where Photomatix Pro knocks spots off the competition as it is so EASY to use.
Easy HDR Photography
“High Dynamic Range Photography” is actually very simple once you know the process – capture a series of photographs with the same aperture setting but having the shutter speed set to under and over expose by up to 2 stops of that recommended by your camera … oh, don’t forget to shoot off a frame with the settings your gear recommends, you really need 3 shots to work with after all.
Download your photographs onto your computer and fire up Photomatix Pro for the purpose of producing an eye-popping, jaw dropping high dynamic range image.
You’ll be guided through the process of loading your images into the software, how to tone map your merged shots and how to output your HDR image – the software really is that SIMPLE TO USE and provides a walk through on how to produce a GREAT looking HDRi.
Getting Up-To-Date HDRi Info
This is just a taster of what high dynamic range photography is about and how to achieve those dramatic looking pictures without having to splash out loads of cash on camera equipment that isn’t necessarily required.
Watch out for a great little tutorial to get you up to speed with HDR on High Dynamic Range Photography.org plus a host of information on the minimum of photo gear required, suggested HDRi book which are both useful and highly interesting and last but not least, a high dynamic range photography gallery – well, we couldn’t have a blog on the subject and not display our HDR photographs for commenting on could we.
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