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Thursday, 8 March 2012

What is HDR - High Dynamic Range?

Julie Ordon
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it is a technique to process photos. Most often 3-5 pictures (taken from the same subject) are processed to HDR and a result is a image with larger range between the lightest and darkest areas of the image. Too bad normal computer screens and monitors can't render the outcome right way because they are low dynamic range devices, and thus tonemapping is often applied to HDR images. With the aid of tonemapping the HDR photo can be rendered in an aesthetically pleasant way on screens and monitors.
Often HDR and tonemapping as terms are mixed and it is not clear which term should be used. Not every HDR photo is tonemapped nor every tonemapped photo is created from High Dynamic Range picture. Tonemapped picture can be made from one RAW (or even single JPEG) photo and it can look good but technically it shouldn't be called High Dynamic Range image. Summa summarum, when both techniques (HDR and tonemapping) are applied usually the best outcome is achieved.
Megan Fox
HDR is a good technique and can be used as often as you want - just bear in mind that it doesn't usually turn a bad photo into a good quality photo. Take a great quality picture with your camera and you are good to go to make it a High Dynamic Range masterpiece!
What you need to make a HDR photo?
  1. Camera (Preferred DSLR)
  2. Tripod
  3. Photomatix software
  4. (Optional) Photoshop for after processing
Bonus tip: Camera price doesn't matter as much as your skills to use the camera of any price tag. It is advisable to go for a somewhat inexpensive camera in the beginning, learn to use it and perhaps later buy more expensive one. Trust me, good images can be shot with cheap camera... it's really all about the person holding the camera
How do you make a HDR photo?
  1. Take 3 shots with different exposure levels (-2,0,2) from the same subject with tripod.
  2. Put the pictures to Photomatix.
  3. Play with the settings until you are satisfied. Save the picture as JPEG.
  4. Open the just saved JPEG picture in Photoshop and do some after processing (curves and levels, for example)
Author: Paavo Rautio

Do you want to create fantastic and spectacular photos? If yes, I recommend taking a look at Trick Photography and Special Effects by Evan Sharboneau in order to boost and enhance you photos with outstanding special effects!

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