Blog, HDR, Tips

Why HDR?

So I’m not the first to show the benefits of using HDR but I thought I’d do a short post on it anyway. 🙂

While going through some photos of our holiday to the south of France last summer, I stumbled upon a set of brackets that I hadn’t done anything with, that of an empty street in Provence (above). Now I’ll admit there’s nothing that special about the shot, but there was enough I liked for me to press the shutter. I think it was the beautiful weather and peacefulness that I found pleasing. Whatever my motivation, it shows the usefulness of bracketing your photographs to make an HDR image that  represents a scene more accurately than a single shot can.

These three shots show the different exposures needed to capture all of the elements within the scene. The one on the left is the cameras recommended exposure, the middle is -2EV and is needed to retain detail in the white door which had blown out in the left example, finally the right shot was +2EV and was needed to  capture the areas in shadow. Now to my eye, the areas in shadow on the overexposed image are pretty much as I saw them on the day, so as you can see, due to the huge contrast that my eye compensated for but the camera couldn’t, combining the three shots was the best way to achieve a photo with the tonal range more accurately reproduced.  (Whether you use an HDR program to combine your shots or merge them by hand in a program like Photoshop is up to you). Once I have the tonal range sorted I can then continue to work on an image, giving it the look and feel I have in mind, if I so wish.

The main image was produced using Photomatix Pro with final adjustments done in Lightroom. There are plenty of other HDR software programs out there but it’s up to you to give them a try to see which you prefer, I always seem to come back to Photomatix.

I hope this has been of some use. Like I said, it’s a post to show the benefits of HDR rather than being a tutorial.

Thanks for looking.

8 thoughts on “Why HDR?”

  1. I think that’s an excellent example as Jim says – not overdone with any processing and actually exposed as you saw it. The difficulty with the camera is the 18% grey that it averages to and of course the inability to expose different parts of the image for different light.
    And to top it of its a lovely shot.

  2. that’s a sensible use of hdr. (I also did some hdr, but i always regret the way i did afterwards) I think this one is really true to life. nice one!

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