Bracket your shots for HDR

Practical Photography (UK) - - Hidden Camera Features -

ON THE PRE­VI­OUS page, we looked at how scenes with a large dif­fer­ence in light in­ten­sity, which of­ten oc­cur around sun­rise and sun­set, can be an ex­po­sure night­mare for pho­tog­ra­phers. This is be­cause the cam­era is un­able to record de­tail in both the dark­est shad­ows and bright­est high­lights in a sin­gle shot, mean­ing one or more parts of the scene come out un­der- or over­ex­posed.

One way to deal with this is to use the HDR tech­nique, which in­volves tak­ing sev­eral shots (usu­ally 3-9) of the same scene at a range of ex­po­sures. In the dark­est shot you want the bright­est ar­eas to be ex­posed ac­cu­rately, and on the bright­est shot you want lots of de­tail in the shad­ows. You can then feed the im­ages into Pho­to­shop, which will choose the best-ex­posed parts of each frame and cre­ate a bal­anced HDR im­age.

For a faster work­flow, many ex­pe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers use a func­tion known as ex­po­sure bracketing, where the cam­era au­to­mat­i­cally shoots all of the im­ages at pre­de­ter­mined ex­po­sures with a sin­gle press of the shut­ter. This saves you hav­ing to take your shots in­di­vid­u­ally, and means you don’t risk knock­ing the cam­era by touch­ing it. The auto bracketing func­tion is found on al­most all DSLRs, and is set up via the menu. You’ll need to choose how many shots you want and how many stops be­tween each, which will de­pend on how much con­trast is in your scene. In most sit­u­a­tions, three shots taken 2 stops apart will suf­fice (see right). In the steps on the op­po­site page, we check out how to set up bracketing on your cam­era.

“BRACKETING IS THE IDEAL WAY TO SPEED UP YOUR HDR WORK­FLOW...”

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