In a previous post I showed the practical benefits of using HDR to help achieve a better representation of a scene when contrast levels exceed that of the cameras capability. This time I’ve chosen to show how you can use HDR software to give your pictures a much more painterly look.
This area of photography has come under much criticism over recent years and I for one have become rather fed up with it as ultimately is all rather pointless, in fact the argument doesn’t differ too much from what the impressionist painters went though during the 19th century, or indeed the modern artists of today. It simply comes down to this: It’s your art, do it how you want to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. If it’s not your thing, fair enough, ignore it and move on.
Anyhow, let continue…
As explained previously, you will ideally still be bracketing your exposures when out shooting, but you can create this look by making a pseudo HDR image out of one shot if there is a good tonal range running throughout. The difference between making a picture look realistic or painterly has a lot to do with how you set the smoothness slider (assuming your using Photomatix), so in this instance you’ll be wanting to set it more to the left, if not all the way to to the left. There is no hard and fast rule as to how you set all of the other sliders so it’ll be just a case or trial and error as every picture will react in slightly different ways, so play around with all of them to see what happens. For this reason it is always best to have the software reset everything when starting a new project.
In my opinion it’s still desirable to avoid getting halos, but the main objective is to get the dark and light areas to a pretty even level. So that’s really all there is to it. What you’ll end up with is something that (to me at least) looks a lot more impressionistic. This is exactly what went through my mind when I was out on an urbex shoot last year and came across this chair, it immediately screamed of Vincent van Gogh’s Chair and I set about doing my own take with the vase of flowers.
So have fun with your photography and try something new.
Thanks for stopping by.