HDR made simple

HDR in Photoshop CS5You may have heard about HDR, but do you really know what it is? Do you know how to use it?

These are some of the questions I’m going to answer here.

To start with, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it was created to help in dealing with the challenges of capturing the entire range in an image. Especially difficult if you have the light source in your image. What HDR tries to capture is the entire range of brightness, from the lightest to the brightest parts of the image you’re photographing.

In photography, the camera cannot capture the entire range in one shot. You will get either the highlights or the shadows clipped. What you can do though is to capture a number of shots of the same scene at different exposure settings, usually at one or two f-stops distance, i.e. one shot normal, one shot +1 f-stop, one shot -1 f-stop etc.

For best results, it is advisable to capture many shots, at least five. I would usually capture 7 or 9 frames, and I would shoot raw of course (for quality). Remember to capture the normal exposure and then overexpose 1 and 2 f-stops (more if you can), and then underexpose 1 and 2 f-stops. Remember to keep the same aperture and just change the shutter speed as changing the aperture would alter the depth of field.

On some digital SLR cameras, you can use exposure bracketing. Most cameras would only have 1 f-stop spacing, but then you can easily capture 7 or 9 shots.

Then, you import the images into Lightroom or Photoshop to create an HDR image.

But this will come in the next post, so stay tuned. 🙂

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