Handheld HDR Tutorial

Handheld HDR Tutorial

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Giuseppe Sapori - Sea Step

Usually, I use a tripod to make my HDR photos. The use of a tripod for this kind of photography is important for the clarity of the images, to align themselves and to avoid blur. The main reason people recommend a tripod with HDR works, is the difficulty getting the 3 images to align properly. However should be considered that is not always possible to carry on a tripod, in all these cases you can still make a HDR shooting the exposures series holding the camera in your hand.

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3) Photomatix tutorial

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In the previous tutorials we learned how to take and prepare images to process a HDR. In this tutorial we will see how to generate a HDR using Photomatix. There are many HDR software that allow you to merge to images to HDR and process them with the tone mapping. Nevertheless  I think Photomatix is better and the more intuitive.

So let’s see  how to process a HDR with Photomatix step by step:

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Single shot HDR

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It is not always possible performing 3 or more shots to make a HDR. When we take photos of people or objects in motion, the fusion of images obtained in the HDR would be blurred and not detailed. In these cases, if we want to process this picture like an HDR, we have to take our shot in RAW mode. So open your RAW file in Photoshop with Camera Raw.

To do a single shot HDR, we need to create 3 separate images that you can merge adjusting the exposures and saving the three photos with different names:

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2) Shooting HDR

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Rather than what one might expect, the most important thing to make a HDR is doing a good shoot, the distinctiveness of an image created with this technique is not only achieved with a good post-processing but with photography itself.

So, in order to capture an image that would be a good HDR photo, we have to imagine it at the end of the editing process. For this reason surreal or melancholy shots are preferred. I highly recommend not to take photographs in the hours when the sun is high, rather prefer the early hours of the day or the sunset, when the light is constantly changing and when you can take the full details of the clouds in the sky.

To shooting HDR try to be as accurate as possible, the more clean you are, the few will be the differences between images and the more your HDR will have the desired effect.

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1) 5 steps before shooting HDR

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When it comes to HDR photography, a photographer has to consider different  steps before shooting. However, we still need to see the various aspects of light and the image composition. Before taking a photo is very important to think about these elements, the background, the capture of detail and the light avaiable. As mentioned we will see the 5 steps before shooting HDR.

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Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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