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Welcome to Zoom-Foto

You've no doubt landed here as part of a journey. It starts with the quest for knowledge or inspiration and ends generally with a few choice words with our good friend Google. Words like "camera" and "lighting", combined with "how'd they do that ..." and "how can I do that ..." will land you here. Take heart my friends. I can show you "how'd they do that" - and how you can too.

And this is where our paths cross and we begin our journey together. I have trod the path of 'avid photographer' for years. I have searched for hours for 'how to photograph water drops' and marveled at the perfection of other people's beautifully poised single sparkling drop. I have stood for far too long in the cold to capture that one moment of swirling snow when the air appears to sparkle. And I confess with guilt that beautiful wild horses in the Icelandic hills just had to be photographed at the expense of my very patient traveling companions.


We have all been there - somewhere where the distractions of life are left behind and we exist in the moment. Camera in hand, subject just there. And nothing else. Call me obsessed, call me a little crazy, and you might have captured my dedication to documenting that moment.
If you get this - if you've been there - then join me as I follow the path of avid photographer. Let's learn a lot of photo tech, share our inspiration and produce fantastic shots!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography Technique



Here's a cool technique I've been meaning to blog about for ages, and one that's a great addition to any photographers toolbox.  High dynamic range (HDR) photography is a great way to turn a potentially blah shot into something much more dramatic.  And despite the hype and the possibility of producing some truly stunning results, mastering the basics is really quite simple.

Step number one, figure out what you want to photograph.  Have fun with this versatile technique and point your lens as whatever interests you.  The one factor for enjoying the most dramatic HDR results is all about the light - not the subject.  Choose a shot that shows a large range from lightness to darkness - look for brightly lit areas and shadowed areas.  If a single exposure would normally show both correctly exposed areas and either over or under exposed areas, then you've found a scene where HDR will shine.

Now let's get set up for HDR!

Equipment

Here's what I used for my shots:
  • Camera - Canon Rebel T1i
  •  Tripod
  •  Remote shutter release
  • Photoshop CS5

The only essential equipment for getting your shot is a camera that allows you to set different exposures.  So my guess is, if you've got a camera, you've got the necessary equipment.  If you can find a stable spot for your camera where it won`t be moved, jiggled, or vibrated during multiple exposures, and if you have a very steady hand when releasing the shutter, then you can get by without the tripod and RSR.

Multiple applications support HDR processing.  I use Photoshop CS5, but feel free to find what`s best for you.  Here`s a review that might be useful: Top Ten Best HDR Software Review 2012.

Shooting 

  1. Set your camera on a tripod or other steady surface.
  2. Configure your camera for bracketed exposure.  Most cameras can be configured to automatically shoot 3-5 bracketed exposures with one click.
  3. Use your remote shutter release to take the shots.  
  4. Configure additional exposures and repeat shots if your camera doesn't support bracketed exposures
Your shooting is done.  Now you should have 3 or more shots taken at a range of exposures from over to under exposed.

Processing

Now fire up your HDR processing software and merge those shots into one stunning image!  My experience is with Photoshop CS5 so these steps will describe Photoshop specific technique:
  1. Open bracketed shots in Photoshop
  2. File - Automate - Merge to HDR Pro - Add open Files
  3. Check 'Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images'  if there may have been some slight movement between shots
  4. Click 'OK' to complete image selection
  5. Configure merge parameters - presets are a great way to get started.  Check with the product manuals for detailed information about each parameter.
  6. Check 'Remove ghosts' if there was movement in some of your bracketed shots during exposure.  This is my favourite discovery - it works beautifully, and it saved quite a few shots from the delete button as I was shooting a scene of moving people.
  7. Click 'OK' to start merge
Processing is complete and you'll see a dramatic image that combines all of your images into one high contrast shot.

3 comments:

  1. Really great technique and very helpful for graphic designer and photographers.

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  2. Great photos, if you want to know more tips and tricks about creating quality HDR photos I can advise you to read this article http://softwarehdr.com/raw/ sure it will be useful for you. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete