Our CoinaPhoto users love experimenting with their photographs and recently there has been a significant rise in HDR photography. HDR can be a tricky concept to understand, however it is just a post-processing task that aims to add a more ‘dynamic range’ to photographs. Instead of taking just one photo, HDR uses three photos, all taken at different exposures. You can then use software that enables you to edit the images, compiling them together and highlighting the best parts of each photo. HDR also helps you to do things that are almost impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.
Unfortunately, HDR photography often comes with a bad name in the world of photography, associated with fluorescent colours, softened pixels and blinding halo effects. What’s more, there is much debate about whether it is even real photography. However, with the right HDR techniques you can create stunning images.
If you need a helping hand getting started, here are few top tips that will make your life easier.
1. Know when to use HDR and when to avoid it
As with anything, there is a time and a place for HDR photography. If you are shooting a landscape where the light range of your scene it too large to capture in a single exposure, then using HDR is probably necessary. A great time to utilize HDR techniques is at sunrise or sunset, especially when you are photographing directly into the sun. Always try to keep an eye out for scenes and subjects that have a large and noticeable contrast between light and dark areas. Such shots will benefit the most from HDR post-processing techniques.
Agus Widayanto has made the most of HDR in this stunning photograph entitled ‘The Cave’, captured at the perfect time. The lighting effect adds an extra dimension, giving it an almost eerie effect.
2. Keep the ISO as low as possible
Noise can appear amplified during the HDR production. Not only will this kill any detail in your image, but photographs will appear grain with the noise showing itself in the shadows and highlights. It is therefore best to keep your ISO setting as low as possible, as detail, colour and overall dynamic range in your HDR image will be maximized. The detail in this gorgeous sunset photograph taken by Sien Muxin has been enhanced using HDR for an impressive finish.
3. Have the right equipment, use the best software
To capture the best HDR pictures, aim to use equipment that is slightly higher end than a simple point-and-shoot camera. You should also always use a tripod. Once you have taken your photo, think carefully about the software you want to use. Whilst there is a whole range out there to choose from, Photomatix Pro and Photoshop are great examples of programmes you have probably already heard of. Sean Pierce’s photography ‘Road to the Galaxy’ is another fantastic example of HDR photography something that we loved at CoinaPhoto.
You can also upload your photographs to CoinaPhoto, and who knows, you might even make our Photo of the Day.