HDR – Tools and Technique

So HDR is all about making pleasant pictures, if handled appropriately. Let us delve into more detail as to how we could get the best out of HDR.

A quick searchfor HDR give a whole lot of material available online. I am not going to write one more tutorial, but thought it would be good to give the links to the stuff I found helpful.

Before jumping on the tutorials, some key points

  • No special camera feature if required for this. If you have a Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) Mode, it would be really helpful.
  • If you do not have a AEB Mode , look out for the Manual Mode. In manual mode you should be able to control the Exposure setting. If you neither have AEB nor manual mode, sorry u might be out of luck.
  • When using the manual mode (with AEB too), a tripod might be handy, depending on the length of exposure.

HDR (at least based on today’s digital cameras) involves two major steps

  • Use the Digital Camera to shoot the same scene with different exposure (minimum of 2 shots, better 3 – Exposure value of -2,0 & 2)
  • Use an appropriate software to post process these shots into a single HDR image and apply Tone Mapping.

IMG 6158 resize + IMG 6159 resize + IMG 6160 resize = IMG 6158 HDR Photomatix resize
Shots from Digital camera with different Exposure                       S/W Processing

The First Steps
To see how to take the multiple shots with different exposure, refer to How do I shoot an HDR image? in this FAQ from HDRSoft (quiet informative)

The Post Processing
A wide Varity of tools are available in the market for converting the multiple LDR (Low Dynamic range) Images to a HDR like Adobe Photo shop CS2, Photomatix from Hartford, Artizen HDR and I think even GIMPhas an option for processing HDR.

Out of all the once that I had tried, my favorites are Photomatix and Adobe Photo shop CS. Both of them have the ‘Align LDR Images before generating HDR’. It is really a amazing feature that could suffice for the absence of a tripod.

Here a detailed tutorialon how to use Photomatix for HDR processing and if ur interested in the the Photo shop stuff here it is.

Here is a exhaustive write up on HDR with both Photomatix and Photoshop.


8 Responses to “HDR – Tools and Technique”

  1. HDR is a technique I am really fascinated with — for my own photography. Thanks for this article and showing the difference between multiple exposure conversions and single conversions.

    I’ve used Photomatix (plugin for Photoshop) myself and found the changes when compared to the original to be spectacular, but as a standalone image (with no comparison) it just doesn’t seem to quite measure up to my expectations.
    I’ve also found that when I use some of the editing features for Photoshop like Shadow/Highlight adjust and Doding and Burning Masks, I achieve the same — if not better result than the Photomatix Software (so long as shadow and highlight details aren’t clipped in the histogram of the image I am working on…).
    I’ve yet to use the “Merge to HDR” command that is a part of CS 2, because I haven’t updated yet, but I look forward to giving it a shot.


  2. Solaria,
    I do accept with u on the single exposure, if there is not sufficient range , u do not get a significant effect.

    And as for the HDR effect itself, I would say it still depends VERY much on the shot one is composing, rather than the tools and techniques one uses. For an eg. u can look at ‘The Model Apt’ or this post, I would never have been able to get this lighting effect without HDR.


  3. I couldn’t disagree more about the auto alignment. I have used CS2/CS3 and Photomatix and none of them have better alignment than Artizen. This has been tested by so many ppl on forums like Flickr and all showed that Artizen is much superior to both. In the latest version of Artizen you can also export the aligned/cropped images if you want to merge them in another app.


  4. I have was just search the web for HDR tutorials and i noticed this discussion. I couldn’t agree more with some of the other postings. I can’t make a comment about older versions but i just have used Artizen 2.7 and it’s absolutely amazing in every possible way.


  5. Carlos Says:

    October 31, 2007 at 10:30 AM

    Thank you man, you have saved me tons of hours searching for an automated aligning software!



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