Project | A Journey Into Unreal


Date: 07.09.2012 Friday

Place: Moda, Istanbul

Equipment: Canon 400D with 18-55mm  EF-S kit lens and Canon 5DM2 with 100mm EF lens.

Subject: High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging Technique


Since I am starting off with my first blog attempt, I thought it would be wise to try something “new” and share the output should it turn out to be successful. Today is the day I took HDR seriously. Let me try to explain shortly what HDR is, and what I did about it today.

What is HDR (High Dynamic Range Imaging)?

Shortly put, this is a post-processing photography technique, where you take – not 1 – but minimum 3 images and combine them into a single image by using various techniques in order to get an unreal-looking (but still handsome) output at the end. The reason of taking three images is to have one of them at -2 exposure, second one at 0 (zero) exposure, and third one at +2 exposure levels. When combining 3 (sometimes even more) images into a single image, the most critical adjustment is done on the contrast levels. This is virtually not possible to do using your camera alone; but it can be done through various programming efforts using different softwares (like, Photomatix Pro and/or Photoshop).

To me, when done properly, the output can turn out  to be a piece of art. Frankly, I did have several HDR attempts before (say 3-4 years ago)- but none turned out to be as powerfulas I expected at the end. Therefore, today I took this a little bit more seriously. You can observe my work from todays session below in this post, with necessary explanations.

What EQUIPMENT do you need? 

Let me cut this short (follow the bold written words below if you are short of time):

  1. You need a digital camera; any camera+lens combination should work well as long as you are not very much zoomed into the object by default (a std or wide-angle lens works better than zoom a lens).
  2. You will need steady hands. You would still be successful holding the camera in your hands; but an average Tripod at the least would hugely help.
  3. If you are using a tripod, I also suggest you use a remote control to trigger the camera, since you will have to shoot minimum three times in a row without moving at all.

Some HINTS I noted: 

  1. Wide angle shots work better in HDR since you have more patterns entering into the scene.
  2. Try to go out on a partially cloudy day. Clouds make nice objects for adding an HDR impact.
  3. You normally would not want any motion in your photo. Since you are taking min 3 shots in a row, motion would make photos harder to overlap with each other, bacause they are less identical. However, I would still try to  take some risk and include living objects in the scene (see in my examples below that there are ducks in one of the photos, and since they rarely moved, it did not hurt much).
  4. Try to choose colorful objects as well as natural tones (ie. natural tones from trees, sea, sky accompanied by objects with vivid colors, like old houses, deserted furniture, or living objects that stand still).

Today’s Work:

The images on the left hand side below are results that I obtained from the other 3 images beside it.


For expert tips on how best HDR can be performed I would suggest you read the link below:

So that’s about it from me on HDR … so far.


About the author

  • Galata in Color @ Istanbul, Turkey
    Galata in Color @ Istanbul, Turkey

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