Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learn HDR Photography | Phase Two

In Phase One of Learn HDR Photography we learned that HDR is basically the culmination of three exposures taken in succession...a standard exposure,  an overexposed one and an underexposed one. 

If done properly, taking the photo at three exposures will add greater tonal detail that will not be found in any one single shot. Try it!  Three things you are going to need:

One: Essential to HDR Photography is exposure compensation. Your camera must have the capability of letting you change the exposure setting (Exposure Value (EV)) within your camera with relative ease. And, whether it be a digital DSLR or a Point and Shoot a total range value of 4 EV is a must.

New term:  The process of taking several or more shots of the same thing using different camera settings is called Bracketing. Here's an example:

    3 exposure settings
      EV 0 for the first shot
      EV -2 for the second shot
      EV +2 for the third shot
As shown the best order of bracketing is Meter/Under/Over.

Two: Remember you are shooting the same scene three times in a row and you want the shot to line up properly without blurring it. So the use of a tripod or prop is a must. There being an exception, and that is if your camera has Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) built in.

Three: Some type of post production HDR software. The latest additions of Photoshop have it. And, one dedicated HDR software is Photomatix which is what I have...combined with an older version of Elements for cropping and organizing I do just fine.
I have a bottom-of-of the-food-chain Nikon L22 point and shoot that has EV. It is fairly easy to change the EV. However, I have to do so manually, making the use of a tripod mandatory. Any movement of the camera while changing the EV without a tripod would result in tons of distortion.

Here is an example of the photos taken with the Nikon P&S:

EV 0 For The First Shot

EV -2 For The Second Shot

EV +2 For The Third Shot

Final Photo Processed Thru Photomatix

In Phase Three I will explain more about HDR Software. So get with it! Go out and practice...take some shots at different exposures. The processing can come later.  

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