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HDR photography.


16 Oct 2010 7:37AM
HDR (High Dynamic Range for anybody like myself who had never heard of it)

Anybody got experience with this aspect of taking/editing pictures. My son has just started doing this and suggested I had a go.

What is the best "bracket" to use for the three initial pictures? Is it a case of the larger the bracket, +/- 2 stops on my camera, the better the results you are likely to get?

He has been using the Photomatix Light 1.0 trial version to start with. Is this as good as it gets or do you use another software?

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Phil_Restan 9 280 9 Scotland
16 Oct 2010 8:57AM
This might help HDR Group
Cristian 10 950 1
16 Oct 2010 9:50AM
The specific HDR forums are the best place to search around.

I've noted that, like me, you are a Canon user. I tend to take one image in RAW and then in DPP use the EV compensation bar to save it down as 5 images (-2,-1,0,+1,+2). Convert to jpeg and then use Photomatix Pro 3.0 (which you can download as a trial) to combine the images. The best effects in DPP are using the tone conversions, but the trial version will put a watermark across your image. I then use PhotoShop to add any layers, dodge/burn etc

Getting the right image in HDR is a personal choice, I've recently got the photomatix settinmgs to where I want them to be, but this took a while of playing about and experimenting. I've also found that for landscape HDR, you need an interesting sky to make it really work. Non detailed clouds, just don't work for me and the image.

Hope this helps.

Cristian
User_Removed 7 485 13 England
16 Oct 2010 9:57AM
Photomatix is the one the majority of HDR users tend to go for, and certainly it does a fantastic job. That said don't discount the others such as Dynamic Photo and Oloneo. There is a technique section posted on here for Oleneo on here recently HERE . As for bracketing just remember to expose for the shadows so that you get a good detail.

Processing in Photomatix and the like all comes down to personal taste, and there are a lot of HDR haters out there who hate the over processed look, but equally, certainly on FLICKR there are many groups that embrace the over processed cartoon like shots. So just go with what you like and don't worry about what others like
Dave_Canon 8 940 United Kingdom
16 Oct 2010 10:28AM
The above advice suggests that HDR is based on a single exposure which is untrue. The very definition of HDR involves the combination of multiple exposures. If a scene has a dynamic range of around 9 stops you can capture with a single Raw file that that is only medium dynamic range. There is absoloutely no point in producing three or more "exposures" in the Raw processor because you add no more data than was originally in the single Raw file. What you can do is use Photomatix to directly tone map the single Raw file. For true HDR when the scene is greater than the dynamic range of a single Raw file you can take multiple exposures say 2 stops apart. For a scene of 12 to14 stops I find that 3 exposures is sufficient and for for 18 stops I need 5 exposures as a minimum. You can use JPEG files for HDR but you need to take more exposures and at 1 stop intervals.

Dave
MikeH 9 217 4 England
16 Oct 2010 12:28PM
Dave is correct in that the correct use of Hdr means that you have to take multiple exposures to capture the dynamic range .
You will be fooling yourself if you mess about with a single image and will not achieve anywhere near the end result that is possible with multiple images.
Sure, you may end up with an effect that is different to the norm but not what you set out to achieve and that usually is to maximise detail in extreme shadows and highlights.

Mike
Cristian 10 950 1
16 Oct 2010 1:13PM
Sorry guys, just expressing the method I use and quite like. As I said, "getting the right image in HDR is a personal choice".

Happy Snapping

Cristian
16 Oct 2010 7:55PM
Many thanks guys. Didn't realise it was so popular, never having heard of it until the other day!

Just been out and taken a whole series of multi exposure shots of the sunset and will be "playing" with them shortly in the demo version of Photomatix Light 1.0. If I likes what I sees I may well invest in the software. Usually shoot wildlife but not a lot about during the winter months so this could fill the gap. Mind you, I might just have to invest in a wider lens than my current old 24-105mm!
Dave_Canon 8 940 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2010 7:21PM
Your multi-exposure sunsets are a good subject for HDR. You should be able to show some detail in the "shadow" areas which would otherwise be silhouettes. I have the full version of Photomatix as the Light version is fairly recent but trying the demo version is ideal. You get all the features but Photomatix is written several times across the final image. This allows you to fully explore the software before deciding whether to buy. I played with PM for nearly 12 months before buying and I rather think that you will be tempted as well.

Dave
RogBrown 7 3.0k 10 England
18 Oct 2010 9:53PM
-2,0,+2 are usually sufficient to produce a good hdr, although it may be necessary to do a -4 if you've got a blown-out window say. The latest versions of Photomatix have Exposure Blending which I find produces better results than Tone Mapping.
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
18 Oct 2010 11:43PM
Some great advice there. Christien using one raw with different settings is not really HDR but tone mapping. Yes you can get great results, see Paul Stefans PF - even then if you use RAW you can fo it from one exposure without making 5 conversions. But true HDR is capturing all the dynamic range - I.e. No blown highlights and no black shadows. Tone mapping then gets the image back down to 8/16 bit. I would agree in the main fro Dave (Red Eyes) but ensure you get all the highlights. Black shadows are more acceptable than blown highlights.

That said hdr should be used with caution, try to get the image right and you don't need to revert to HDR.

I did my first hdr sequence tonight for the first time in 6 months! May have a hdr month soon.
RogBrown 7 3.0k 10 England
18 Oct 2010 11:46PM

Quote:That said hdr should be used with caution, try to get the image right and you don't need to revert to HDR

Fair comment, but there's no way you're going to get an interior shot in a cathedral etc right in one shot.
TrevW 5 117 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2010 8:43AM
Looking at your histogram should tell you if your camera hasn't managed to capture the full dynamic range. If it hasn't (clipped at either end) then a series of shots at different exposures would be needed to capture the full dynamic range and then blended together. And they can be done and processed to look like a normal picture and not cartoonie (like mine are cos I like it. So there! Wink ) How many shots you need to take will depend on each scene. Some you can get away with only three, others may need 5 or more. Again. Check your histograms. Use spot metering to measure the darkest and lightest parts of the scene and shoot between those ranges. Just remember to shoot in apeture priority mode, then to keep the apeture, iso and focal length the same. Only the shutter speed should be changed for each series of shots. It's advisable that the ev spacing be +\- 1 apart in order to reduce noise during the processing which can be a problem with dark areas in a scene.

Google hdr tutorials for more help. Absolutely loads of info out there with excellent examples.

Some of my pics in my pf (the most recent ones I've posted) are made from single shots. I use a raw editor to make 5 sperate images from a single shot +/- 1 ev spacing then blend them together in Photomatix then edit the result. Only images that have a full histogram with no clipping are suitable for this single shot process. But as others have said, this is not true hdr, but with this method I can create pictures without blowing out the sky or other parts during editing when pushing the limits of other parts of the scene.
Kris_Dutson 12 8.2k 1 England
19 Oct 2010 10:57AM
Bear in mind that the end result will give you detail in the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights, but is that what you really saw? Wink

Sometimes dark shadows with little if any detail or some lost highlights will enhance the atmosphere and look a little more like what your eyes really saw when taking in the overall scene. Smile
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
19 Oct 2010 11:27AM

Quote:but with this method I can create pictures without blowing out the sky or other parts during editing when pushing the limits of other parts of the scene.


but you can with conventional processing - use layer masks.

Roger sorry for the confusion I didn't mean to imply that you never need HDR interiors is one area where you often need it - same in urban environments. What I meant is it's often used when it's not needed. I stopped when the processed hdr came out almost identical to the central image.

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