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11-13-2008, 09:39 PM   #1
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How to HDR

I tried to post this earlier, but it didnt work, so Im sorry if it is a double post.

I dont really get this HDR thing. Is it a program I have to buy? Is it in photoshop? Do you shoot in HDR or manipulate afterward? I want to play with it, but I just dont know where to start. Any info will be helpful. Thank you.

excuse me if this is a stupid question.

11-17-2008, 06:43 PM   #2
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I'm no expert but I will tell you what I know. HDR is high Dynamic Range. The image has detail in the dark areas and the light areas as well. Usually in high contrast scenes the photographer has to expose for one or the other, or some happy medium--but the sacrafice is deatail on the light or dark end.
HDR is usually done by shooting the very same photo (on a tripod) in 3 or more various exposures-- from over to under exposed so all the information is gathered. Then software is used to combine the best of all the images--resulting in detailed shadow areas and highlight areas. I use photoshop CS3 and within the program there is a way to have the computer combine the images for you and create the image. I have also seen some tutorials online where people create their own HDR -- basically using alot of layers each exposed differently, then using blend modes and alot of sharpening until they get the desired effect. Check around the internet --there are lots of tutorials available.
11-17-2008, 09:52 PM   #3
Damn Brit

Step away from HDR. It's not clever, it's not funny and it definitely can't make coffee.
11-17-2008, 10:05 PM   #4
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It is a multiple exposure thing. It looks rather unique when complete. If you want to do it right then google it. You will find that it requires you to take 3 images then layer them.

I just do a simply "fake" HDR when I want something to pop using a photoshop plugin called Topaz Adjust.

With it you can take an image from this:

To This:

Not all images look so dramatic. Typically a nice mixture of clouds and blue sky help. As well as a bright, shiny, or contrasting subject. Skin doesn't do so well. Mostly cars, skylines, etc. look the best.

Last edited by mwcfire; 11-17-2008 at 10:11 PM.
11-18-2008, 12:22 AM   #5
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Hdr Tutorials
HDR Tutorial: How to create ‘High Dynamic Range’ images using Photomatix

Last edited by RollsUp; 11-18-2008 at 04:30 AM.
11-18-2008, 04:15 AM   #6
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Personally, I don't like the look of hdr. I prefer photographs that look like, well, photographs. But there are times where shooting conditions prevent you from capturing the dynamic range you want. When that happens, I use this technique:

Digital Blending
11-18-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
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I think a problem with HDR is that they often don't look natural, but there is something that appeal to people about them. That is where something like mcwire posted can work well.

In my opinion, the best HDR would be an image that didn't look like HDR. For me, the goal is to create an image that covers a high dynamic range with the detail necessary, but have it so no one else would know it if I didn't tell them.

In that regard, on the rare occasions where I think I could use HDR, I've used a program called Enfuse, which does not work in typical HDR fashion but rather blends images for the correct exposure (i.e. does not use the tone mapping functions HDR software will use). The program is much simpler, free, and more in line with what the Digital Blending item previously linked to does.
11-18-2008, 10:34 AM   #8
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Many people go overboard with HDR. That's what makes them look like fakes. Good HDR images are subtle...just enough to get the shadow details but not so much as to make the shadows as bright as the sunny areas. The trick is to eliminate the limitations of a camera's exposure range and make it look more like what you actually see with the human more.

And they should be used when they are needed, just like using a filter. You don't need an ND filter for every photograph. Likewise, you don't need to use HDR techniques for every photograph either.

But it is alot of fun and can get some pretty cool effects.

11-18-2008, 03:53 PM   #9
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Theoretically, using HDR techniques to recover the dynamic range of your eyes (but not beyond) should yield the most realistic looking photographs. In actuality, it is very hard not to go beyond the eyes' capabilities. Resist the temptation!
11-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mithrandir Quote
Theoretically, using HDR techniques to recover the dynamic range of your eyes (but not beyond) should yield the most realistic looking photographs. In actuality, it is very hard not to go beyond the eyes' capabilities. Resist the temptation!
that's going to be impossible because your eyes can only see 6.5 stops at any given time. there's a much larger dynamic range that takes up to 4 hours of the eye adjusting to cover. a consumer dslr sensor will do 7.5 stops. some, do up to 9 stops (fuji).

an hdr image should cover 9-13 stops atleast. the surreal look happens when the image is tone mapped and the different variables are set to unrealistic levels; it's a style for some and annoyance for others

i prefer realistic hdr.

faux hdr is created by tone mapping a single exposure. some people trick themselves into thinking saving a raw at different stops will do something... but in the end they still have the dynamic range of 1 exposure, generally 7.5 stops. regardless of tone mapping... it's still faux hdr.

the easiest way to make an hdr is set your body into auto bracket with 2 stops between exposures and fire away in aperture priority with the iso locked. combine images, tone map and profit.

Last edited by attack11; 11-18-2008 at 05:05 PM.

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