Basics Of HDR Photography
Alrighty then, you must be new to HDR(High Dynamic Range) photography, since you are on our Beginners Basic HOW TO DO HDR Photography Starters page. You have come to the right place if you are interested in HDR photography. HDR photography opens up a whole new world of amazing photography, and if you read everything on our HDR Photography website and get involved with this website to help it grow, you will surely be able to capture and create awesome looking HDR images.
Basics Of HDR(High Dynamic Range) Photography!
HDR is short for High Dynamic Range, or sometimes you might see it as HDRI which is High Dynamic Range Images or Imaging. There is alot of technical and confusing jargon about what exactly High Dynamic Range means, but for this Beginners Basic How To Do HDR Photography Starters Guide, we will just say it means that you will get details and good exposure in all areas of a scene, the shadows, midtones, and highlights.
Digital cameras have a problem with high contrast scenes
HDR photography solves a big problem with digital cameras. Digital cameras can't accurately show all details in a high contrast scene like with the bright sun and dark shadows cast from the sun. With digital cameras and a high contrast scene, if you expose for the shadows then the sky will be blown out and overexposed, if you expose for the bright sky, then the shadows will be totally dark with no details. Some examples of a high contrast HDR scene are shown below.
Examples of a high contrast HDR scene
The photo above is an average exposure (+/-0) of the high contrast scene. Parts of the sky are too bright and washed out, and parts of the mid-tones and shadow areas are very black with no detail. That is the problem with taking just one photo of this high contrast scene, the image sensor just can't cover the whole dynamic range of this scene. For HDR photography this photo would work good for getting details in the mid-tones and maybe some shadows.
The photo above is an underexposed (-2) example of the high contrast scene. The sky is exposed well, with good cloud detail and colors, but the mid-tones and shadows are totally black with no detail. This photo by itself wouldn't work unless you were looking for a silhouette of the mountains, but in HDR photography, this photo is needed to get detail in the highlights, like the sky, when combined with the other exposures.
The photo above is an overexposed (+2) example of the high contrast scene. The sky is totally blown out and just white with no details, but the mid-tones and shadows have good detail. This photo by itself wouldn't really work, unless you like blown out sky areas, but again in HDR photography, this photo is needed to get detail in the mid-tones and shadow areas, like the trees, when combined with the other exposures.
The final image above is the HDR image created from the previous three bracketed images. About 95% of the scene has good detail, in the colorful sunset sky and in the tree shadows. The color saturation is usually increased also in HDR photography to make the HDR image more vibrant and alive.
Animated GIF Showing HDR Multiple Exposures Combined To Make One Awesome HDR Image
Here is an animated GIF which shows the exciting results of making a HDR image from 3 or more images with different exposure values. The first photo is the normal average +/-0 exposure of the scene to get detail in the mountain. The second photo is -2 Exposure Compensation to get detail in the bright sky. The third photo is +2 Exposure Compensation to get detail in the shadow areas on the bottom of the mountain. And the forth and final photo is the HDR photo of all three photos combined to get detail in all areas of the photo and to increase the color saturation. A more warm tone was also added to the final HDR image to give the photo a more pleasing sunset look.
HDR(High Dynamic Range) photos can make an ordinary scene look awesome, if you have the right conditions, equipment, and knowledge. Not every scene works good for HDR photos, so we will give you some tips on what scenes work good and not so good for HDR photos, and tips on how to take photos to use as HDR photos. Click Here For Awesome HDR Photography Tips!
HDR photos are great and can take your photography to the next level, and allow you to create amazing photos, and get you excited about photography again. Most of the time when you have a great photo opportunity, the scene has too high of contrast from the highlights to the shadows, so taking one photo isn't going to create a very good result. That's where HDR photos come in and turn that great photo opportunity into a great photo. Creating HDR photos can be a rewarding and exciting experience, so I hope you enjoy this HDR page and learn something new to help you create great HDR photos.
You will need to purchase HDR software to create HDR photos. There are also digital cameras now that have a built-in HDR feature, but most people will still get some HDR software to be able to make many, many adjustments to the HDR image. HDR images usually have more digital noise in them compared to normal photos, so most people will also buy some noise reducing software for their HDR images. Two of the top noise reducing software available are Topaz DeNoise and Macphun Noiseless. If you would like to buy some HDR software, please read our HDR photography tip #15 on our HDR Photography Tips page, which talks about some good HDR software and gives you links to their websites. If you have any questions or comments on HDR photos, please contact us below, or by clicking here Contact HDR1. Thank you!
Links To More Awesome HDR Photography/Photo Information!
Awesome HDR Photography Books, Guides, Handbooks With Great HDR Photo Tips From Amazon!
Checkout our HDR photography YouTube Videos page, showing cool helpful HDR videos like this one below on a Photoshop HDR Tutorial
This is a very cool YouTube video on making a HDR (high dynamic range) image with one photo using Photoshop. This video shows some good tips on bringing out all the details of an image.