Sometimes you get scenes where the brightness range is so great you just can’t bring out all the different tones in the picture. This is lighting problem, not a dynamic range problem. Even if your camera has the dynamic range to capture all the tones in the scene, there’s no way of showing them all. […]
HDR and how it works
HDR stands for 'high dynamic range', a style of image processing that's become both popular and notorious. It's a technique that's used to capture scenes with a very high brightness range and employs various tools to bring the brightest and darkest parts close enough together that they can both be seen in a single viewable image.
There are two parts to this. The first is capturing a series of exposures (or even a single exposure, maybe with a RAW file) that captures the full range of tones on the scene.
The second part is using 'tonemapping' or HDR software to manipulate the very brightest and darkest areas so that the details in both become clearly visible. Some programs (Lightroom, Affinity Photo) offer HDR merge and tonemapping tools as part of their regular feature set while others (HDR Efex Pro, Aurora HDR) are designed specifically for high dynamic range imaging.
Some photographers try to make HDR images look as natural and 'unmanipulated' as possible. Others revel in the hyper-real colours, contrast and detail afforded by some of the more outlandish HDR tools out there.
HDR photography can produce spectacular images. It can also produce a supersaturated, overcooked look that we’ve probably all seen too much of. Getting that balance right is an art in itself. For now, though, here some HDR tips for shooting and then editing your images. 1. In-camera HDR In-camera HDR is becoming more common and it can work pretty […]
The Lightroom HDR tools built in are good in their way, but will only get you so far. Yes, you can boost the shadows, reduce the highlights, add some Clarity and Dehaze and maybe a graduated filter for the sky, but you can end up doing a lot of work only getting half way to the […]
HDR (high dynamic range techniques) are sometimes necessary to cope with scenes that have a higher dynamic range than the camera’s sensor can cope with. But that’s happening less and less as sensor technology improves. The latest D-SLR sensors don’t just have increased dynamic range, they’re able to capture shadow detail with less noise than […]
Viveza 2 is part of the DxO Nik Collection, and I think it’s in danger of being overlooked in favour of the newer, flashier or more versatile plug-ins in the collection. Viveza 2 is designed to offer localised adjustments for your digital image using the ‘control point’ technology now found throughout the Nik Collection. Viveza […]
HDR Efex Pro isn’t just for special effects. It can enhance your images in much more straightforward ways, improving the tonal balance, sky detail and colour saturation. I like to use it on landscapes, where professionals can wait for hours for the right lighting, but the rest of us have to grab shots when we […]
HDR techniques are usually associated with surreal landscapes and architectural photography, but you can create HDR Efex Pro portraits for some unique and powerful effects. This works best with male subjects because it creates a dark, brooding look where every pore and wrinkle is emphasised. I’m starting with this informal photograph taken in the family […]
Like other HDR tools, HDR Efex Pro 2 is designed to work with a sequence of bracketed exposures which cover a wider dynamic range than a single image could record. This means you need to pay special attention to the HDR Efex Pro merge tools. You’ll see these whenever you open a series of images, […]
Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2 is now part of the DxO Nik Collection, but the software itself is unchanged – it remains one of the most approachable and most effective HDR tools you can get. But while the bundled HDR Efex Pro 2 presets are many and varied, you can also create and save […]
There are so many filters in Color Efex Pro that it can take a long, long time to work out all the things that it can do. Some of the tools are obvious, like Levels and Curves or Graduated Filters, but some are less so, and the Detail Extractor is a prime example. It sounds […]