Thursday, July 16, 2009
What to do when the light is too extreme for one shot
To get started with HDR, you’ll need several exposures of the same scene. Each of these exposures must be framed identically or you’ll have problems assembling the final image.
Here are some ideas that I find work well for HDR shoots:
1. Shoot at least three photos, each with a difference of one or more ƒ-stops in exposure.
|Merge multiple images into a perfect exposure.|
2. Use a sturdy tripod and lock down your camera on the scene.
3. Avoid shooting anything with movement, including wind blowing your subject around. (You can shoot moving water, such as a waterfall, although you can’t easily predict what the results will be.)
4. Try using the auto-exposure bracketing function (AEB) on your camera. AEB allows you to shoot at least three exposures in a row with a variation in exposure for each. If you use your continuous shooting mode, you can shoot three pictures (or more) very quickly and keep your camera locked in position.
How Many and How Much?
In general, I try for a minimum of a one-stop difference between exposures, then use three to five exposures for the scene. Sometimes, I find that the results are great using three frames with a 1.5- to two-stop difference in exposure; other scenes seem to work better using five frames with aone-stop difference in exposure.
Since I frequently use AEB, this can be limited by what’s available for a given camera. For example, on my Olympus E-3, I can shoot only a one-stop difference at a time, so if I need a big range of exposures, I’ll use a five-exposure bracket. Yet on my Canon EOS 40D, I can shoot with bigger change, so I can try three exposures at 1.5 stops apart.
I wish I could give you specific information on what exposures would work in every situation, but “every situation” is different and will require you to modify your approach. However, with experience, you’ll start to know what seems to work best for the specific subjects that you like to photograph. Photographers who are doing less realistic work can try almost anything in the range of exposures.
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