Firstly, in case you’re unaware, HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. This is a common technique used by photographers to manipulate a scene to create proper exposure when otherwise impossible through post-processing.

A perfect example for this is capturing a landscape with a clear and bright sky. What will happen is the sky will be over-exposed, or the landscape will be under-exposed. This is where HDR comes in. The idea is simple, however the process can be quite time consuming. What has to happen is instead of taking one capture, you would need to ideally take at least 3. One for the highs, one for the lows, and one with proper exposure. The most common method is to simply set your camera to bracketing mode with a 2EV difference in exposures. In most scenarios this will enable you to capture all ranges of detail.

I’ll explain how this is done in Photoshop, since its the most commonly used application. Once you’ve got your captures:

  1. Open them with the RAW editor, SELECT ALL, and click OPEN IMAGE(S)
  2. Next, FILE > AUTOMATE > MERGE TO HDR
  3. Click on ADD OPEN FILES and hit OK
  4. Now you should see a preview of your HDR image.
  5. You will want to change the BIT DEPTH to 16-Bit, and also adjust your white point if you need to on the histogram
  6. Click OK to convert
  7. In the new window, if you want to adjust the TONING CURVE AND HISTOGRAM, change the method to LOCAL ADAPTATION
  8. Adjust the THRESHOLD to how you see fit and then hit OK
  9. You’ve now successfully created an HDR image! From here you can go ahead and do other modifications to the image if you feel the need.

This was the perfect situation for using HDR, since photographing a dark subject will normally cause everything else to become over-exposed.

I say non-proffessional because, well, I’m not. Tip number 1:

The most important idea personally, is to take many many, many, many, many pictures. Even if it is from the same spot, same angle, same subject, take multiple shots. Even today, when I sometimes take only one capture, from the same spot, angle, subject, etc, I find it’s not really what I was aiming to get out of it. With multiple captures you can be sure that you will have the one that looks just right (with the correct amount of post-processing of course!).

Here is a perfect example, it pains me everytime I look.. it could have been perfect !!!

This was my first time using my new manual lense, unfortunately the subject is far too out of focus.

This was my first time using my new manual lens, unfortunately the subjects is far too out of focus.