Thursday, July 16, 2009
What to do when the light is too extreme for one shot
Most HDR programs will allow you to take a single image into that program and do some processing on it. This can create interesting results, especially by pulling more detail out of dark areas. You won’t match a true HDR effect because there isn’t the same amount of total information in the picture, but it can be helpful on certain types of photographs.
Another way of using many HDR programs is to double-process RAW files. Take a single RAW image and process it twice, first to optimize the highlights (while ignoring what happens to the shadows) and again to optimize the dark areas (while ignoring what happens to the highlights). You can even triple-process an image, creating a third version that optimizes midtones only. Sometimes you find that any single processing of a RAW file is a compromise; this technique allows you to favor specific tones and colors by processing the same file two or three times. (This double-processing technique is described in more detail on my website at www.robsheppardphoto.com.)
Then put those processed RAW files together into a single file by using one of the HDR programs. This works very well with Lightroom and LR/Enfuse—you can create virtual copies of your image in Lightroom and do individual processing on each for specific tones, then output through LR/Enfuse.
HDR is changing the way we photograph, giving us new opportunities for capturing the world. We now can create images that more closely render our world and more truthfully communicate what we see.
Rob Sheppard’s Basic Lightroom Workflow outline is now available on his website, www.robsheppardphoto.com.
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