Introduction to HDR Photography

by milajohnson

Photography is one of the most important parts of blogging. Beside a photo blog it’s really important for other blogs. An awesome photo can make an article interesting. A superb image is also important when you are going to share your post on social networking site, because it helps to attract to click on it. Now check out an interesting article about High Dynamic Range photography.

One of the hot buzz words in photography today is High Dynamic Range or HDR. This method involves taking multiple exposures and doing a lot of post processing to turn the multiple exposures into a single, well exposed image. But what is HDR and how does it affect your day to day photography? All we want to be able to do is use the available light and get a good exposure, without all that digital manipulation. So grab your camera and let’s get started. If you don’t yet have a HDR camera make sure to check for camera deals to get the best possible price.

High Dynamic Range photo

An example of HDR photo

To understand how to get a good picture in a digital camera in a location with a lot of contrast, it is first important to understand something about dynamic range. In the simplest terms, dynamic range is the difference in a scene between the lightest and darkest areas. What makes this a problem is the difference between what the eye can see and what the camera can see.

The human eye can see a much greater dynamic range than the camera can. This means that our eyes can see in the shadows and the highlights better than the camera so we don’t notice them as much. In truth, the eye can distinguish between 24 f-stops, and a camera can only see about 10 f-stops or less.

If you are shooting a scene with light that falls within 1 or 2 f-stops, the contrast between the two areas will be okay. You can take a light meter reading of any part of the scene and expect to get a good exposure. But if one part is very dark or another is very light, then you have more contrast than the camera will handle well.

If you take a picture with a correct meter reading of the dark area, it will look good, but the lighter areas will be over exposed. On the other hand, if you meter the light area, the dark areas will be too dark to see. The photographer needs to understand these variances in light and shadow and know how to balance the two.

To do this correctly, you need to take two meter readings.

1. Set the camera to aperture priority to a setting of about f8.
2. Meter the darker parts of the scene and check the recommended shutter speed.
3. Point to the lighter areas in the scene and check the shutter speed again.
4. Change the camera to manual mode and set the aperture to match what you just shot.
5. Change the shutter speed to something halfway between the two shutter speeds you noted before.
6. Take a picture using this setting and you will get an image with the best compromise between shadow and light.

To better help you make a more dynamic picture and incorporate tone mapping, look to software like Photomatix and Picturenaut. Another popular software is the Nik HDR Efex Pro which has multiple tone mapping algorithms to enhance your imagery.
What has come to be known as HDR is a complex and time consuming task, but if you take the time to understand dynamic range and what your camera is capable of, you can shoot wonderful images even with a high dynamic range.

Coming post on DHR photography is –

  • Best HDR Software
  • High dynamic range tutorial
  • 30 High dynamic range photos
1 Brady February 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

Thanks for another wonderful post. The place else could anyone get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such info.

2 Leah February 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Great roundup! Hey I am very grateful to you for sharing such information, actually i was unaware about the HDR Photography but now i got some ideas from your article. Thanks for the nice stuff.

3 selena March 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I don’t know how to shot this kind of picture using my dlsr as I am using the old way of editing this on photoshop. Thanks for sharing I gotta try this one.

4 portrait photographer vancouver April 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

Great work, I am new in photography, though i have some idea about it, but i am not aware of HDR. From this article i comes to know about HDR and get some tips on HDR. Please share some of your personal experience with us.

5 Veer @ Stock Shutter July 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hi Milajohnson sir,

I search for google the Introduction to HDR Photography and i see your site I like your post for HDR Photography.I am using the old way of editing this on photoshop, thanks for your suggestion pls sent me more information in my email


6 Andrew [email protected] Olympus PEN November 25, 2013 at 1:47 am

I am new in photography, though i have some idea about it, but i am not aware of HDR. Thanks for sharing I gotta try this one.

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