View Full Version : How to take HDR photos (looking for a Dummy's Guide)
Dec 29th, 2011, 09:06 PM
So I've been amazed at HDR photos for some time, and would love to try some on our upcoming trip to mexico (we are heading to Mayan at the end of Jan) I must admit I do have a nice camera but I've only used it as point and shoot :( I keep wanting to take a class, and hopfully soon I can.
Here is the set up I'll be taking to Mexico
Canon Rebel XSI
Tamron 28-75m F2.8 Lens
Canon 50mm 1.8 lens
Gorilliapad SLR Zoom (still looking to buy this, have a knock off and it collapses under the weight of lens and camera)
Panasonic TS3 (just ordered today, for snorkelling etc)
Canon SD 780IS
I've read some articles on it, but was looking for some tips and Ideas, and ot be honest step by step insturctions :)
Here is one of the articles I was reading.
Dec 29th, 2011, 11:02 PM
Take a look here:
The most important thing is to take at least 3 bracketed RAW shots (jpegs can work, but you lose a lot of light info, which is the essence of HDR). So set up the tripod and use the remote to fire off the shots. I'm not sure on the XSi setup, but on my old XTi, it was fairly easy to set up bracketed shots, and on remote it would fire off all 3 automatically.
From there, it's a matter of usng the right software. Photomatix is the big one, but even Photoshop has HDR importing capabilities now (although I'm not a fan of the PS tool). Every set is different, and you may want to achieve different things with each picture, so there are no "default" settings for a particular look.
In Photomatix, key sliders are Strength, Luminosity, and Microcontrast. Then Light smoothing. Everything else is pretty much fine tuning.
Dec 30th, 2011, 12:47 AM
If you have a DSLR, but you've only been using it as a Point 'n Shoot, you might consider learning the basics of shooting in Manual Mode before diving in to HDR.
Not that HDR is difficult, but if you are on a holiday, and wanting to capture some scenic memories, you'll have more success if you concern yourself taking 'normal' photos rather than throwing the added steps of HDR into the mix.
You'll learn a lot more by learning how to take amazing photos without the crutch of HDR. Ansel Adams didn't have HDR to create his images.
HDR has merit, in that the creator of the image is still creating the final result, so I'm certainly not bashing it outright.
I would also suggest a PROPER tripod. HDR requires 3-5 exposures. If you bracket, you can do it on a timer and tell it to take the required number of exposures so you don't have to touch it... but the action of the mirror could end up being enough to cause some vibration. If a proper tripod isn't in the budget, the Gorillapod Focus is beefier than the Gorillapod SLR. It comes with a nifty little ball head and you'd likely be happier with that until you can get something more substantial.
I've created this playlist on YouTube that focuses on the bare basics if you are starting out. I'd watch through these before your trip so you can get out of the habit of doing everything in Auto on your DSLR:
Once you have a grasp on what is taught in those, watch through these to get some ideas to expand on what you've learned:
imo, you don't need to pay for a course. There's a plethora of information on the internet/YouTube and in books. Beyond that, you'll learn the most by getting out and shooting with others who know more than you.
Dec 30th, 2011, 04:34 PM
One other thing - you want to shoot in either Manual or Aperture priority (Av) mode. Other modes might adjust the aperture, which can change the depth of field, and that can really mess with the final product.