HDR Photography is all about capturing three different types of images and merging them together which brings out amazing contrasts in your photos. While shooting in HDR it’s best to use automatic capturing, else set your camera on a tripod and make sure it doesn’t move.
How do you create successful HDR photos? It’s a question that I’ve gotten from time to time, and before we get started with this post I do want to make clear that there’s no question that HDR photography is one of those never ending battle grounds in the photography world. Much like the Windows vs Apple battle of the PC world, HDR vs non-HDR is a battle that continues to stir the pot.
A tripod will not only allow you to stabilize each individual image (some of which may be fairly long shutter speeds), but in order to capture the full dynamic range of the scene you will need to take multiple exposures with your camera and it’s vital that these frames line up perfectly. A tripod will ensure that each frame you capture is identical to the previous one, with the only exception being the exposure times.
I see this all the time, and while I understand it’s a great way to get more out of a single exposure, it’s not really an HDR image. Yes you can create an underexposed, neutral, and over exposed image in Lightroom from the same RAW file, and then merge those three images into one HDR photo, but it’s really not the same as capturing individual images
Know when you need it and when you don’t
Some people use HDR for every photograph they take. You do not have to do this.HDR stands for ‘high dynamic range’ so if you’re photographing a scene where the lighting is fairly even from shadows to highlights (the scene fits nicely on the histogram, with nothing clipped at either end of the scale) you don’t need to do HDR. Your camera is capable of pulling out enough detail from the highlights and shadows to cover the scene in its entirety with one exposure. It’s also probably not worth it to try capturing moving objects or people in HDR as they typically don’t look right when they get tonemapped.
So when should you use HDR?
Use it during sunrise or sunset, especially when you are photographing into the sun. Use it to photograph during the middle of the day. Use it to photograph architecture or man-made objects, as HDR has a way of really bringing out the detail of craftsmanship.