HDRs the most interesting concept in Photography

Introduction to HDRs:

If I ask you what type of image do you like ? Then your straight away answer will be, “I like images which have perfect light and is properly exposed”. But let me tell what you actually want.This means HDRs.

You actually want those type of images which have both shadows and highlights. Now that’s confusing! It means you actually want those type of images which looks same as we look through our eyes. The image that you see through your eye has a proper balance between lights and darks.

Now how to bring images that looks similar as our eyes? Now images like eye is not possible.It is only possible with the help of HDRs or High Dynamic Range.

HDR in the field on India
This is the HDR captured by me in the field of Jute in West Bengal!

What are HDRs?

HDR or High Dynamic Range is a concept we use in photography for creating and improving the range of color and contrast in image.More easily that image will have shadows and highlights in equal proportion.

Now is it possible to produce that type of image with camera? In one word I will answer , “NO”! Because the camera is not capable of capturing both shadow and highlight like our eye at the same time!Then is it the end of expecting such photograph? Absolutely not!Rather you could easily do it with your lowest grade cameras and even with cell phones!

The process is very easy but needs hard work and creativity with practice.

Solution for capturing:

As I told capturing both highlights and shadows at the same time is not possible. Then what we can do? We can capture three different images with three different different exposure.1)One with shadows. 2) another with highlights .3)And the last one with perfect exposure. And we will later combine them to get the perfect image we need.

Step Map:

  1. Set your camera to three bracketing mode with exposure difference to 1.5 to 1.8
  2. Now most important mount the camera on tripod or hold it steadily.
  3. Now take the three consecutive image of the same subject
  4. Done! Take the images and open it up in any standard imaging software like lightroom, Photoshop. i prefer composing photos in light room and editing in Photoshop.

Step-1-:Camera Setup:

Now you need to enter in bracketing mode. For Nikon follow: CLICK HERE. For Cannon: CLICK HERE. I recommends you to keep bracketing limited to three images and exposure difference to 1.5 to 2 stacks. This is will give you good dynamic range and smooth exposure transition. I will suggest you to stay in manual mode. And choose wider focal length like 18mm, 24mm, 12mm, 11mm etc.Besides all this you can opine for raw option for getting better results.

18mm HDR
Observe the wideness of the imge! Captured by me!

Step-2:-Mounting on your tripod:

The most important thing! Your camera should be steady! There should be no change in subject while taking same three images of different exposure! This is may result in after iamge or ghosting during composing three images! Besides being steady there should not be any kind of change in internal settings.

Should be mounted lke this.

Step-3:-Taking images:

After you have completed step one and two you are all set.Just take three images of the same subject.Another important thing, there should be no shake in camera while pressing shutter button!

Step 4:- Composing images

  • Open Adobe Lightroom
  • Import images by using Ctrl/Cmd +I or by pressing import button.
  • Then select the images you want to merge by pressing CTRL/CMD and left clicking on the images.
  • Then right click on any of them (while holding CTRL/CMD) and then Photo>PhotoMerge>HDRs besides this you can use CTRL+H
  • In the HDR Merge Preview dialog, deselect the Auto Align and Auto Tone options, if necessary. 
    • Auto Tone: Provides a good starting point for an evenly-toned merged image
    • Auto Align: Useful if the images being merged have slight movement from shot to shot.
  • Click Merge to create the HDR image (.dng). Lightroom Classic creates the image and displays it in your catalog.
  • Then ultimately export it in .dng format by opening export dialog box (Ctrl+Shift+E) and edit it like a raw iamge in your favorite editing software.I prefer Adobe Photoshop.

Thus this is how we can create a beautiful functional HDR image . This requires practice but believe me you will get such result which will blow off your mind. By the way you can repeat the same method with your mobile too but remember to make the capturing device steady and firm.

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