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Icrontic's intro to HDR photography

Icrontic's intro to HDR photography

High Dynamic Range Photography

You’ve likely seen them lately, if you visit photography sites of any kind – the so-called “HDR” photographs that have been making their way onto the net. Maybe you like them, maybe you think the effect is overused, or maybe you don’t know what HDR means. If you don’t like them, this article won’t be for you, but for the rest of us, I hope to explain a little more about these HDR shots and how to create them yourself.

First of all, let’s get the basics out of the way. What does HDR stand for? It means “high dynamic range,” the field’s way of defining imagery that more or less expresses how things are actually seen by the human eye. That means shots with very differently-lit areas, like a city and sky at night or a sunny day’s landscape, can be captured as they look to your eye, with the correct levels for both or all of these different regions and all highlights and shadows evenly matched for the highest-detail shot you can get.

That may all be well and good, but I know what you want to know – how can I make one? There are programs out there that we can use to help us in this endeavor, but before we ever get to a computer, the shots have to get taken!

Think back in your photography life. Have you ever taken a shot of a landscape and had the sky come out beautiful and bright… and then had the ground show up miserably underexposed? Of course, when you try and recalibrate to get the details you lost on the ground, the sky looks bland and completely uninteresting. This is a prime example of when to try your hand at an HDR shot.

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Comments

  1. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum I had no idea it was that easy to accomplish!
  2. Kwitko
    Kwitko I love and hate HDR. Sometimes it can be used to achieve great effect, but I've seen some seriously overdone HDR. It seems to work well with landscapes, especially pictures taken at dusk and dawn. Regardless, very nice guide!
  3. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx
    Kwitko wrote:
    I love and hate HDR. Sometimes it can be used to achieve great effect, but I've seen some seriously overdone HDR. It seems to work well with landscapes, especially pictures taken at dusk and dawn. Regardless, very nice guide!


    THIS. I'm the same way, but it's been so overdone as of late, I've just decided to kind of cross my arms and sneer at HDR for the moment.

    DIGG loves HDR, and I see so much over done sub par HDR on there, it kind of burned me out.

    But maybe I'll give it a shot myself. Great guide, very informative.
  4. primesuspect
    primesuspect I think HDR is one of those things you hate until you do one yourself, and then you're like "oh wow, I made that? Awesome!" and you become a fan :D
  5. LIN
    LIN Great tutorial, thanks!
  6. -tk
    -tk Excellent article! This technique is very similiar to doing a pre-exposure with film, and as a recent film to digital convert I've been looking for the digital equivalent. Cheers!

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