WHAT IS HDR ?
HDR stands for 'High Dynamic Range' it is basically the difference between the lightest light and darkest day you capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to
white, or the darks simply become big black blocks. It’s quite difficult to take a photo that captures both ends of this
spectrum, but with modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, photographers have developed
ways to make it possible. This is what actually HDR is: a certain style of photograph with an unusual high dynamic range
which cannot be achieved otherwise in a single photograph.
How HDR works:
At the most basic level HDR photography is just two or three photographs that are taken at different exposure level and
later on grouped together by an editing software to create a better picture. A photographer takes multiple pictures of the
same subject at a varying shutter speed/aperture combination in order to produce a set of images with varying depth of
field and luminosity. With the help of advanced editing software the photographers are able to blend together multiple
images to create a single photo comprised of well lit and colorful scene of the picture.
How to make a HDR image:
1. A camera, preferably with an Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function. AEB is not 100% necessary but without it you’ll have to adjust your camera settings manually between each shot, which a.) increases the chances you’ll move the camera, and b.) takes more time, thus increasing the likelihood that your subject will move or change positions.
2. A tripod or other type of stabilizer. You can shoot without a tripod but you’ll likely have trouble aligning your images later on, so a tripod is recommended for best results. Now a days certain HDR software programs are equipped with image alignment features, but they don’t always work well, so generally speaking the best is to take measures necessary to ensure a stable shot like using a tripod to get stability in your pictures.
WHEN TO USE USE HDR:
TIPS FOR TAKING A GOOD HDR IMAGE:
1.Due to the nature of HDR and exposure bracketing, you probably won’t be able to capture a moving subject very easily. HDR is not meant for things that move. Stillness is the name of the game here, so do your best to shoot a scene that isn’t going to change very instantly in a 5-10 second period.
2.Always keep the aperture the same between the shots, so I recommend shooting in Aperture Priority mode. You do not want to have images with different depths of field.
3. Use the bracketing function of your camera and shoot in 2 EV steps if you are doing three brackets or 1 EV step if you are doing five brackets. For example: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 works great for most situations.
4.Shoot frames quickly in bursts, especially if you have clouds in the frame so that clouds should not get away with wind and you get the same scene in all the shots.
Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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