HDR otherwise known as “High Dynamic Range” has people shooting multiple images and combining them together. Most of the time people tend to fall in love with HDR and forget the some of the basic factors of photography such as lighting, color, and composition. Since the HDR effect already gives them this high saturation of color they have no need to find more colors that can aesthetically please them. Also a major missing point of HDR is that it comes out soft and often slightly blurry especially if you blow up the image. I’m no expert photographer or HDR artists, I’m just trying to be informative of what I see out there and what you can do to improve your HDR shots.
Here is a few tips about shooting HDR.
1. You don’t always need a tripod (even though one will get your better images). However I would suggest going to the 3 shot bracket on your camera
2. From the 1st tip you can tell you don’t need anything more than 3 images to HDR. Most of the time you are not bracketing far enough. Try to get the brightest of the bright, darkest of the dark, and the best exposed image. I would set it to the stop right before the image is completely blown out and a stop right before it’s too dark to make out anything.
3. Wait for the sun, the most dramatic lighting always involves the best light which is the sun. That is why most HDR shots that draw your attention are at sunrise and sunset.
4. Subject, subject, subject. Whether it is your backyard or your bone stock Toyota. It won’t be as interesting as skies over Griffith Park with Los Angeles in the background or a 1500hp Indy car. No matter what, it still comes down to an interesting subject that you are HDR’ing.
5. Get creative with your lighting. So the sun is gone, well you can HDR with your flashes or flash lights.
6. Update to the latest software such as HDRSoft’s Photomatix. Most of the time the software engine that manipulates the images will be upgraded and therefore allow for greater contrast, color, and sharpness to the images that you HDR. If you are working on the older software you are losing out quality for no good reason.
7. Don’t forget to edit the HDR picture afterwards. This is where most people forget that the HDR image is still just an image, it needs to be cleaned up and edited. Makes the difference from “oh cool” to “WHOA”
8. Finally go experiment and have fun as HDR is just another form of art, but remember the tips and you will have more interesting HDR images.
Here are some images I took of a BMW M3 after work on the roof top of the garage.
Here is also a link to 35 Fantastic HDR images for more examples.