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What is Hdr Photography?

10th of June 2013. HDR photography has been extremely popular for quite a while. From extreme effects (that still exists) to natural looking HDR, there are every reason to believe that HDR in one form or another is bound to stay in Photography.

If you were to know HDR from a few years back, HDR was synonymous with extreme artificial effects. Many people hate Hdr due to this fact (and many hate HDR of other reasons). For many years the front figure for Hdr has been Trey Ratcliff at Stuck In Customs. If you visit the mentioned site you will find many HDR pictures at different levels of development. You will also see whether this style is to your general appeal. This is among the better examples of High dynamic range pictures. Even so, if you will look closely you will see a rather crunchy look in the images. This is one of the problems with Hdr in general and Photomatix in particular. This used to be an epidemic in early HDR.

Today, however, there has been a development. Partly due to increased quality in DSLR camera quality, software quality, and partly due to changes in taste. For example Serge Remelli that previously used Hdr software (like Photomatix) now only uses software like Photoshop and Lightroom. His results at Photo Serge are very clear and don't have the crunchy look one gets from Photomatix.

The creation of HDR is quite straightforward. You take three exposures (which usually is enough).
One picture is underexposed to capture the brighter elements - For example the sky in the picture of Times Square was completely blow out in the normal exposure.
One picture is normal exposure to capture majority of the picture.
One picture is overexposed to capture the darker areas. For example the area by McDonalds was completely black.

Picture below is from a single picture with on underexposed by -2, one normal exposed and one was overexposed by +2.
These three pictures were added to Photomatix and there it was used the "normal" preset.
Coming out of Photomatix it was extremely crunchy. The crunchiness you see below is after blending the picture with the original pictures.
All of the commercial plates are blended in from some of the original pictures. Same applies to the bus and cars on the left side.

Some blendings are 100% from the original picture (e.g. the Merill Lynch commercial) whereas most is a soft blending.

The image below is a typical result - you manage to extract details,
but unless you have good original pictures the end result doesn't become usable.

From Kelby Training (the best Photoshop training group) RC Conception is famous for more realistic form of HDR.
Here he leads a Google hangout about High Dynamic Range Photography. This is also one of the authors famous for HDR books if you wish to learn more about the technique.

If you wish to look the more artistic looking HDR photos, you should just Google Hdr photos.
The more effectfull photos are usually taken of inate objects like cars and trucks.

People never look realistic when using Hdr. The best effect is when taking pictures facing the sun. Pictures that are impossible to take without some form of blending.

Keywords: hdr photography, high dynamic range, photomatix, lightroom, new york picture, hdr