Monthly Archives: January 2013

5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 5

5 Quick Steps to Better HDRs – Step 5

  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

Sharpening your image

Making an HDR can bring out a lot of detail in an image, but that is “Tonal” detail. It doesn’t necessarily mean our image is Sharp. In fact the HDR process itself can soften an image. It may be from just the process, but we can also get softness from: the alignment of images, or the deghosting of images. We can even get some softness with any chromatic aberration fixes we do. And then there is the simple fact that straight out of the camera, raw images are not that sharp and require some post processing sharpening. I like to do it at the end of processing however instead of before I merge images. I also sharpen an image depending on the size of the image and how it will be used, Printed or web display as I talk about in this article devoted strictly to sharpening.

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5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 4

5 Quick Steps to Better HDRs – Step 4

 

  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

 Balance your Tone

Our HDR programs do a pretty good job in tone mapping our images and placing tone as we desire…or really as THEY desire. We can get a pretty good balance but quite honestly the program really doesn’t know everything that we want or it may not be able to accurately access the image for what tones should be where. We end up with images that look “dirty” with blackening or darker tones across something that is the same tone throughout.

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5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 3

5 Quick Steps to Better HDRs – Step 3

  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

 Setting a Black and White Point

Here is something I found in an overwhelming number of images. In a quick look at about 50 images posted over half of them could have benefited from this simple adjustment; Setting a Black and White Point.

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5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 2

5 Quick Steps to Better HDRs – Step 2

 

  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

Decrease Noise

As photographers we battle noise in our images on a regular basis. Whether that noise comes from under-exposure or from using a high ISO, we find noise in many of our images. HDR compounds that problem in a couple ways, one by multiplying the noise in each single image as it combines to one and also in the tone-mapping process. As we map tones to a different value we may bring up noise along with making something dark a lighter value.

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5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 1

  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

Over the next few days I’ll be posting 5 quick steps you can take for better HDRs. These are all simple finishing techniques that can take an image from ehh…to wow.

I was inspired to write this after perusing the Google+ HDR Processing Community and seeing so many images that were almost there but missing these small yet magical elements. None of these  posts are tell alls, but merely overviews, you can do more research either here at the site or by searching the internet if you want more specific information how to do a particular thing you saw in this lesson.

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HDR – How Many Exposures are Enough?

cHow many exposures are enough?

When it comes to shooting HDRs, one of the biggest questions asked is, how many exposures should I take and how far apart should they be spaced. Everyone has their opinions and I’ve seen people go everywhere from 19 exposures down to…well 1. With spacing all over the place from the uber-anal 1/3 stop to people just spacing them randomly.

I’ve explored this before in blog posts of the past but I thought I would take a look at it again in a slightly different way and I thought I would take some images from this past weekends shoot at the surreal Salton Sea and put them to  as scientific a test as I could.

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