High Dynamic Range

Hello Everyone! As the title suggests, today we’re going to be talking about High Dynamic Range or HDR for short. HDR is a photography technique that involves capturing multiple images of the same scene in different exposures by using a manual setting and a tripod. Starting high with your exposure, where your image is slightly too bright, and then going down low with your exposure where your photo is too dark. After the images are taken, you can take them into Lightroom or Photoshop to combine them to make one image with a full range of tonal values in the scene. It takes the best pieces of each image and combines them to make the final one more vibrant!

I’ve learned about this technique in my Alternative Digital Imaging class this past spring semester. We tried our best to do this technique with the dark days and snow on the ground, but I promised myself to achieve this technique during the summer where things are bright and the clouds are bigger, so I tried it out when I was down the Jersey Shore.

I may have cheated the system and duplicated the same image because it was difficult to capture the waves and the flag blowing. It was easy to bring the highlights down in one version and bring the highlights up in the other. To combine the two images in Lightroom, you can select the ones you want to combine, and “photo merge” them with the HDR Merge option and the Lightroom processor will do the hard work for you! And Ta-da! you have this perfect HDR Photograph!

I have seen a big dramatic change in my photos after doing this technique. In my American Flag picture, the clouds were dull and the sunset was not as dramatic but after doing it the clouds appear bigger and clearer than in the original image. Same with the waves; the color of the water was dull compared to the sunset, but after doing these effects there was a noticeable difference in the contrast and colors!

I hope this inspires you to try this technique the next time you are out Photographing!

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