High Dynamic Range Photography: How To Get Started

No matter what kind of photo you’re taking, whether it’s a self-shot, a landscape, a social event. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, what you would usually want is that your photos really pop. What you’d like to see is how the image comes to life. The most effective way to create a stunning photograph that really grabs everyone’s attention is by utilising High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. An HDR photo basically covers a large exposure range, which is to say, it essentially captures the most light where it should and lets the shadows stay as dark as they need to be.

While it is easy to create an ersatz HDR version of a single photo using shortcuts in photo editing software on the computer or apps for the task on one’s smartphone, the focus should be on using your camera more and the computer less to get the most out of your photos when you use this technique. The process basically involves taking photos of the same target object at different levels of exposure and then merging them to create an image, an HDR composite, where the necessary highlights for the different parts are achieved adequately.

Here’s what you will need to go about with this and why:

1. DSLR Camera –

If you’re a stickler for quality, this is essential. A DSLR camera will usually let you capture images in the RAW format, which can make a huge difference as far as your control over the end product goes. In any case, the lowliest DSLR will still have better firepower than pretty much all point and shoots that you can find for the same or a higher price. Since this is the source for the material that will eventually be your HDR masterpiece, you cannot think of skimping here. Investing in a good camera is essential because no matter how much you process it, the finished product is only going to be as the tool that was used to make it.

2. Tripod –

Once you’ve got your camera with you, here’s something you need to understand. Even the best cameras will not realize their full potential if you can’t ensure stability. (Think how often you have had opportunities for good photos spoilt by blurring, as usually seen on camera phones.) An often overlooked and highly effective method to get great shots is to use the humble tripod. Since creating an HDR image involves taking multiple shots of the same object with different settings, a tripod will ensure that the photos you take are stable and easy to overlap due to consistency in capturing their intended target accurately.

3. A sufficiently powerful computer with photo editing software –

Make sure you have decent computing power at hand because photo editing is a resource intensive process. There are both free and paid software options available to handle combining your photos for creating composites depending on your need, proficiency and purchasing power. You can either use simple built in processing software that creates HDR images without much user input or you can go for tools that allow you to tweak every aspect of the photograph so that it comes looking exactly how you want it to.

About the author:

Brian Anderson is a professional photographer and likes to provide basic tips on effectively using your digital cameras for some high quality and sharp photography.

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