HDR Photography? UPDATED: My First Attempts!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BurtonCCC, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. BurtonCCC macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    #1
    I'm looking getting into shooting these wonderful images, I just have a few questions...

    1. All I want to do when I'm shooting is shoot in RAW, as always, with a tripod and get 5-9 exposures by changing only the shutter speed?
    2. Is the HDR process in Photoshop the only processing I'll need to make some beginner HDR shots?
    3. When I've read about HDR from people explaining it, they make a big deal about the bits of the shot (8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, etc.). I have a 8.0MP Rebel XT. What is the bit value of my pictures? Is it correct for doing HDR shots?

    Daniel.
     
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #2
    Hey Daniel-
    Yes, HDR is not as complicated as everyone seems to make it out to be. The idea is to take at least 3 shots, which would comprise of a an underexposed, an overexposed, and a "right on" shots, and then combining the three (or 5) so that you get a picture where all of it is properly exposed. This technique is great for getting an image where there is a lot of constrast- ie landscape where you want the true appearance of the sky and the ground.
    You have the right idea- use a tripod, don't change your aperture, as that would change your depth of field, and Photoshop CS2 would be more than enough to process your images. I tend to use Photomatrix, but that's just a matter of prefference, and the fact that I have PS CS1, and was waiting until CS3 came out before you upgraded. Bit depth of the shots is really something you don't have to worry about. Most of the cameras today produce 12-bit images (save for some of the medium format cameras), but from an imaging perspective, you will not notice a difference. All those people that claim that you can see more detail in the shadows are really eating the funny brownies. If you shoot RAW you'll be fine. Check this out to learn a bit (no pun intended) about dynamic range and how to merge:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/hdr.shtml
     
  3. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    Aren't there programs that are free that just do HDR stuff?

    I may try a few, but don't feel like getting Photoshop involved...
     
  4. IscariotJ macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #4
    This is something that I'm looking at having a go with. Have a look around on hdrsoft's site, there's a free version, but I haven't given it a go as yet.
     
  5. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #5
  6. BurtonCCC thread starter macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

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    #6
    Thanks, Lovesong. I'll try this in CS2 and CS3. CS3 seems to process RAW so much better.

    Daniel.
     
  7. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #7
    ^
     
  8. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    Location:
    The Library.
    #8
    Hi Daniel.
    Photoshop is fine, but not great for HDR. The best program out there for HDR is actually free. Some friends of mine just finished porting it from linux. It has more tone mapping options than photomatix, can create an HDR from a single TIFF, and is also fairly light weight. It's called qtpfsgui (catchy name, eh?) and it needs the QT framework to run.

    Get QT here
    And the app here
     
  9. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    Jul 14, 2005
    #9
  10. freebooter macrumors 65816

    freebooter

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    Location:
    Daegu, South Korea
    #10
    Thanks. I'm going to compare this to Photomatix. (which I rather like)

    However, "qtpfsgui" is a terrible name. I'd suggest "HDRomatic" as an alternative. ;)
     
  11. BurtonCCC thread starter macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

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  12. BurtonCCC thread starter macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    #12
    So do I make the HDR and do the tone mapping in there? How should my workflow in Qtpfsgui generally go?

    Daniel.
     
  13. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #13
    You have overblown highlights in all of your examples and in the last two they are more prominent. How many exposures did you take and at what range?

    When there are bright lights in a scene, you have to under-expose a bit more to something like -4EV so info in the highlights is captured. The more 'contrasty' the original scene is, as in having dark shadows and bright highlights, the larger is the range of exposures you'll need to get a true HDR.

    From experience i've found that the easiest HDR's come from scenes with overcast skies, or more generally when there are less extremities in the tonal range of the environment. These kind of shots can give you stunning results even from a single RAW.

    That's a nice building though and the colors of the light are very nice.
     
  14. Zeke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2002
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    #14
    I played around with this and was kinda disappointed. True, there are more tone-mapping options, but it's limited in its outputs. If I want to manipulate something more in photoshop after tone-mapping (which I always do) I'm stuck because it'll only output in jpeg or 8 bit tiff (and a few others that are equally crappy). If this output in 16 bit tiff I'd be very happy.
     
  15. BurtonCCC thread starter macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    #15
    9 exposures of each, but I only ended up using 5.

    I didn't take a real professional route with it, just found the correct exposure, then went four clicks of the jog wheel to make the exposure darker, then just took an exposure at nine different clicks of the jog wheel. I ended up using every other click and deleted the rest of the RAW (D'OH!).

    Daniel.

    EDIT: The RAW was still on my camera, so I have each of the 9 original exposures from each picture.
     
  16. BurtonCCC thread starter macrumors 65816

    BurtonCCC

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    #16
    Got Photomatix. Much, much better than Photoshop. That Qt program suggested above has a lot of very frustrating bugs in it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Daniel.
     

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