Bracket your shots for HDR
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...”