DEEP DIVE INTO
HDR PHOTOGRAPHY,
VIDEO & STILL

Don McCullin once said “Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at,
then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

“HDR Landscape Portrait of Misty Mountain” – Image Courtesy: Bala Chandran (chiiz.com)

Heya! We hope you are having a good time. Photography has become an important part of our lives. We all love clicking pictures but do you wonder often why it’s so unclear? Or is the image not as per my expectations? Or do you shoot often in complex light places? Then you must read this blog. You will get to know about an artistic tool. HDR Photograpphy gives a surrealistic effect to your images. The more detailed your image is, the more impressive it looks. 

ALL ABOUT HDR PHOTOGRAPHY

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range photos. As the name describe photo with high dynamic range. Simply you can say giving your photos a great texture & better clarity. It is just capturing the difference between lightest light & darkest dark. When dark becomes a big black dot & light starts becoming a white sheet, it turns out to be difficult for your camera to shoot. This technique will help you to have a perfect snapshot. HDR clicks real images the way you see from your eyes. These are certain types of photographs with an exceptional quality that is not able to click through a single photograph. It provides unlimited opportunity to photographers & a chance to stand out of the crowd with jaw-dropping images. 

WAYS TO CLICK HDR PHOTOS

Firstly, to click HDR photograph you need to know how to set your camera. You shall check your all camera functions, it’s better you read the manual book. Ahaa! I know it is boring but you can understand your camera inside out. Check all the features, its ISO setting, white balance, does it support auto bracketing or not? You can also use a timer function for particular scenes. Yes, one more thing. Keep a tripod with you or your hands will start screaming out of pain. It’s better for still images you don’t need to move your camera again & again.

You are ready with your equipment, let’s shoot! You need to click a series of photos in a row for HDR Photography. It might be one or more than one image, it depends on your project. Then blend all the pictures together. Woah! It’s ready! Well, it’s not that easy also. Your photos should be taken from the same angle or else the end result could be totally messy. That’s why the tripod is suggested. If you want to expose to more functions & be flexible with your shooting try clicking RAW images rather than JPG. 

Even exposure to your camera matters a lot. For most types of scenarios recommend bracketing (BTK) is -2; 0; +2. But you can always experiment & play around. That’s key to success, you might explore new things. If you don’t want to go much deep use auto bracketing features, most of the cameras offer this function. To understand it better you must check your software beforehand.

“A scene from different exposure -2; 0; +2 & final output respectively” Image Courtesy – Wikipedia 

If you are too lazy to go through this process, don’t worry. Technology is upgrading constantly. We can get auto HDR  Photography functions easily in the camera. Just click & rest is automatically done. There are several post-processing tools through which you can edit your photo & give it a mind-blowing HDR effect. 

A SCENARIO WORTH CAPTURING FROM HDR MODE

It’s simple, don’t think much. Just look around. If there’s a stunning scenario around, you can click a landscape image. Even HDR Photography  goes best with a bright sunny morning or a scene with too much harsh light. Not just the object you can even click the human picture, it conveys a whole story. Observe the scenario properly through your lens. Bang on! You got your HDR scene. The pukka power of HDR Photography is mostly observed in these types of scenes.

SAY NO TO HDR PHOTOGRAPHY 

HDR Photography is good but not in every situation. While clicking a shadow photo or silhouette a normal shot looks the best. Don’t use HDR when your scenario has vivid colors or it’s low in contrast. It will just ruin things & it will look dramatic rather than realistic. Don’t click a photo when too much movement is there around you. People will just keep moving here & there, making it tough for you to take bracketed shots. This can affect your photo badly while processing. You need to decide before pressing the camera button whether to HDR or not. Else you will do nothing rather than wasting your time.

SMARTPHONES ARE BECOMING SMARTER

In the modern era, it’s possible even with the cheapest mobile to click an HDR photo, giving you an eye-catching image. Almost all the latest mobile have HDR function installed in their camera. Just go to setting & enable it. In case, you don’t have that function you can download it from the app market. The process is the same as taking a photo through a camera: clicking a bunch of photos and then combining it into one. The difference is it’s done automatically without any cost of extra tools like a tripod. It’s better for freshers who have just entered into this sophisticated world. Because it’s damn confusing for beginners. You can even click HDR selfies through your mobile, it works awesome in some mobile.

“HDR shot through the mobile camera” – Pinterest 

CHOOSING HDR OVER LDR PHOTOS 

If we talk about standard photos, they are clicked in diminishing quality. It’s because their dynamic range is too low. To have a perfect look at real scenarios one should prefer HDR photography. The clarity you can get from HDR photos is a bit impressive. It expresses the real scenario. It captures every small detail which we might not pay attention to while clicking.

HDR GURU’S

There are many people due to which HDR photos are a great success today. Like Trey Ratcliff, he has done a remarkable job in his field. He is the main reason due to which HDR is so popular today. He is also the developer of Aurora HDR. Ben Willmore, is one of the most familiar faces in the Photoshop world. Harold Davis, Tony Sweet, Greg Ward & many more. They all are contributing regularly to take HDR one step ahead & display it in a marvelous way.

HDR POST-PROCESSING SOFTWARES 

No matter how expensive your camera is, it can’t serve you what processing would do. Editing your image is like sprinkling salt to your food, neither less, nor much. It enhances the picture & makes it beguiling. It’s always up to you what kind of result you want through this software. There are ample of software which helps you to edit pictures. But we will tell you about some best & trending tools which you must try. 

Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR is the latest trend in the HDR world. This software is developed by Skylum. Whether you are a beginner level or advanced level photographer you can easily use it. But first, you need to purchase it. It can create single tone-mapped photos automatically. It works on your single as well as multiple exposure photos efficiently & gives you a different set of functions accordingly. Aurora can be operated on Windows as well as MAC.

Luminance HDR

Luminance HDR, it supports both HDR & LDR photos. If you are new to HDR & don’t wish to invest at an early stage. Try this, as it is free of cost and runs well on both Windows & MAC. You can get pretty good features in this software like auto aligning, drag & drop. It can also handle your RAW images. You must try it once for sure. 

Photomatix Pro

Photomatix is paid software but you can get a free trial with the condition. It does watermark to your images. To get rid of it you must buy its version. If you don’t have bracketed photos, don’t worry. Photomatix can create HDR photos through a single image also. It also allows us to paint on color effects. It works well on both MAC & Windows. 

EasyHDR

Easy HDR is just like its name. It’s very easy to use, there are no complicated features. You can get a free trial of this but with a watermark. You can also edit low definition pictures through this. It has a bunch of features & runs smoothly on your Windows or MAC software. 

Picturenaut 3

Picturenaut 3 is another free software by HDRLabs. It’s easy to use with a variety of features. Supporting your all types of file format. It’s for Windows & MAC users.

Oloneo HDR 

Oloneo HDR is another easy to use the software. It has plenty of features & settings. It produces HDR images, as well as tone, mapped images. This is paid software & works only in Windows. 

Editing your photo gives a more realistic effect if one knows how to do it. Don’t overcook your photo, it will look funny. Except for the above-mentioned software there many more which you might be using. Each software has its unique quality which attracts users. Once you start using this software you will get comfortable with it. Probably create your own unique style. Below is the example of editing photos on how it can enhance the view.

     

“HDR Photo After Editing” – Creative Market

HDR VIDEO

It is not restricted to photos only you can shoot video too. HDR Photos & HDR Video differs a lot. You can’t shoot the same video with different exposure, its possible in images only as it is not in motion. For shooting motion videos, you need to follow different ways.

HDR video is about dynamic range. It displays content with more luminance. Previously SDR videos were used but to opt more clarity in video HDR was introduced. Have you ever seen the 90’s movie? You can relate this well, to what quality means in the video. HDR gives better contrast & brightness to the video. It simply describes each & every minor detail. It shoots from the brightest light to the extreme dark. Viewers have sincerely accepted HD quality videos. Look at any recent movies, serials, or web shows.

How to shoot HDR video is a technical part & it needs a lot of expertise. Mostly it’s used for professional work or making films. Sadly, we don’t have this feature in our mobile yet. We need proper equipment & camera only to shoot such videos. There are also certain for post-processing of HDR video.

“Before HDR (A shot from 90’s movie)” – Image courtesy BookMyShow

“After HDR (Snapshot from War movie)” – Image courtesy: Pinterest

CONCLUSION

HDR is a great technique, click a picture with & without it you will know the difference. You have known a lot about HDR. Go & try it now, to have practical exposure. Remember to keep your hand steady or use a tripod. One shall always keep on trying & see what suits them best. Rome was not built in a day, so breathe & go step by step. You can’t become an HDR expert in the first attempt. 

Keep in mind that HDR is not about creating something it’s just purely about representing the scenario as it looks in the real world. You shall deal carefully while using post-processing tools. Too much editing in HDR pictures & videos can make it look fake or unrealistic. If your image can closely resemble the human eye, you are going right. Keep it up! Your pictures can express the emotions well. 

Do write in the comment box how did you like this article & your feedback about the blog. To know more about the photography world, step into Chiiz Magazine & blog site. Stay tuned with us through our Facebook & Instagram page.

Keep Clicking, Discovering, Reading! 

 

About the Author:

Anjali Jain loves to understand people and learn from them. She is a curious writer and experiences foodgasm constantly. She quoted, “My hobby keeps on changing with time. Still exploring myself!” 
Instagram writer @a.j_moyotales

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